Getting to the Basics: Remodeling Projects

How To Repair Water Damaged Drywall Yourself

by Jill Jenkins

Water can be very damaging to your home, especially if not taken care of quickly and properly. Your home could end up being inundated with mold and mildew, which can result in health issues like respiratory problems for you and your family if it goes undetected. Water damage can be caused from a leaky roof, broken or leaky pipes, or from a basement flood that was not cleaned up properly. Cleaning up water from this type of damage must be done quickly and properly. For larger scale problems, it's best to leave it to the professionals, but for smaller water damage issues, you can handle it yourself with just a few tools and a little bit of knowhow. See below on how to repair water damaged drywall.

Here's What You'll Need:

  • Utility knife or drywall saw
  • Fans
  • Dehumidifier
  • Water pump
  • Wet-dry vacuum
  • Drywall (amount depends on your need)
  • Odor and stain sealant primer paint
  • Rollers and paint brushes
  • Screw gun
  • Drywall screws


  1. You'll need to get the water out of your home first and foremost. Use your water pump to pump the water out and away from your home. When your pump can't get any more water out, use your wet-dry vacuum to get the rest.
  2. Begin using your fans to help dry out your home and a dehumidifier. If you don't have a dehumidifier, you can use your central air conditioner to help dehumidify your home as well.
  3. Remove all wet items from your home. Some items are salvageable, while others are not. This is dependent on how long the items have been submerged in the water and what type of flooding occurred. Sewage water contains mold spores, and it can be difficult to find anything salvageable. Things that can be washed or dry-cleaned are salvageable. Other items like carpet and carpet padding, or upholstered furniture should be removed and thrown out immediately. Be sure to wear gloves,a  respirator and protective eye-wear when cleaning up after a flood.
  4. Cut out the wet drywall from your walls and remove the baseboards. Point your fans towards your studs in your walls to dry them out. You don't want to have to replace your studs if you don't have to. You'll also need to remove the sub-floor below your carpet and padding if there was substantial water damage. Be sure to dry the studs in your floors as well.
  5. Once they are completely dry, you can paint your wall studs and floor studs using the stain and odor sealant. This will help keep mold and mildew from growing and protect your wood. It will also help get odors out of your home.
  6. Allow the paint to dry and add a second coat if necessary.
  7. Replace the pieces of drywall that you removed using the new drywall sheets cut to size. Screw them into place using your drywall screws and screw gun. 

Repairing water damaged drywall is time consuming and a pretty dirty job, but it can be done by yourself. Be sure to take your time and be thorough.