Drying Out Walls: What to Do & How to Do It


Water trapped inside walls can cause many issues down the line, such as mold growth or rot. If you find yourself with wet walls, you should first locate the source.

It could be a leaking pipe or an appliance like an A/C unit. Regardless, the first step is ensuring the water source is fixed as soon as possible. The water main should be shut off if it’s not something that can be immediately resolved. Now what?

How to Dry Out Walls After Water Damage

Are my walls wet?

Dark spots or a musty odor can be telltale signs of water damage. Walls may appear darker or lighter depending on the paint color. Paint and wallpaper may bubble or begin to peel off, and heavy amounts of water can even cause sagging drywall.

They’re definitely wet.

You’ll want to accomplish a few things quickly after shutting off the water. Depending on the severity, it may be best to contact a professional mitigation company. They will quickly dry out and prevent secondary damage, such as mold growth or structural damage. Mold can spread through framing and ductwork, far beyond the initial location of the damage. There are, however,  a few things you can do yourself.

What can YOU do?

  • Remove Wall Hangings – remove paintings and decor, including wallpaper, if it’s affected.
  • Insulation – consider wall or ceiling insulation. If it is soaked, it most likely needs to be removed, disposed of, and replaced.
  • Baseboards & Molding – you may need to remove baseboards and molding to allow airflow behind walls for faster drying.
  • Open windows and doors to allow more air to circulate in the space – make sure humidity isn’t too high when choosing to take this route.
  • Dehumidifiers and high-volume fans – remove water from building materials by increasing heat – you probably don’t own these, so they can typically be rented locally or provided by a professional water removal company.
  • Have patience – drywall can take multiple days to dry out completely. If it has a high-gloss finish, then it can take even longer.

When Should I Call In the Pros? 

Sometimes, home disasters are simply – disastrous, and you may be unable to handle them on your own. Oftentimes walls may need to be removed; the longer they are wet, the more integrity it loses. Wet material can provide a perfect breeding ground for mold. Growth can begin in as little as 24 to 48 hours. A mitigation company will handle both drying and also removal of building materials if it’s warranted. If water damage to your home or business is extreme, you should call your insurance company, file a claim, and start the drying process as soon as possible. Octagon Cleaning is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for emergency water damages in commercial and residential spaces.