Continuing our interior surfaces blog series, we take a detailed look at drywall, its characteristics, and the many functions it performs. Before reading further, if you missed our first blog about interior surfaces, you can read more about what your options are as well as learn more about what is the best fit for your next home interior project.
Drywall is the base of most, if not all, of interior surfaces. It is one of the most common materials used for walls and ceilings in homes today. Because it exists below your finish, it is referred to as your substrate and serves many purposes. Also known as gypsum, drywall is the modern alternative to plaster. The material is laid between two sheets of thick paper and comes in panels that are easy to work with and install relatively quickly and inexpensively.
This effective and easy-to-install material comes with many built-in benefits such as durability, ease of repair, and fire resistance. It is installed on framed-out walls that have wood 2×4 studs beneath and can cover plumbing and electrical components seamlessly. Drywall is also used to create design features such as arches and eaves. Its versatility continues as far as finishes in that it can be painted, trimmed out, wallpapered, or finished with other surface decor options.
The two main ways drywall is damaged are physical damage and water damage. Both are easy to repair or replace if detected early, but if left without care, can cause serious damage to your home and pose a health concern for you and your family. Look for these signs that your drywall has been damaged and is in need of attention.
Scuffs, dents, and nail holes you purposely drill in your home’s drywall are part of the wear and tear your home endures. The force of any of these intrusions can cause the paper facing on your drywall’s exterior to tear or be pushed off completely. Leaving the physically damaged substrate exposed can jeopardize the structural integrity of your drywall which can lead to water damage.
Signs that your drywall substrate has been physically damaged are easy to spot since there will be clear signs of damage to the surface. Repairs of this nature include replastering or cutting out the damaged area to be replaced with a partial sheet of drywall. You can also use spackle to fill nails or other holes. The biggest concern with drywall damage is that if a small amount is left untreated it will likely continue to grow. This may result in needing an entirely new sheet of drywall as well as repairs to the framing below.
Drywall that is exposed to water can cause major problems if left untreated. Water damage to your walls happens when water leaks through a damaged drywall panel and infiltrates the plaster dissolving it and the paper facing. From damaged walls or a water leak, water intrusion can result in mold growth, which can cause health problems for people who are exposed to it. Mold can also cause structural damage to your home by weakening the framing of your walls which could cause them to collapse.
If you notice any spongy walls or dark spots from water damage on your surfaces, it is important to call your professional immediately to resolve the issue. Mold will show as discoloration on your surfaces and is most commonly found in corners near roofs or near baseboards, especially in basements. Mold remediation can be lengthy, especially if extensive damage below the surface has occurred. Steps to prevent further damage, as well as necessary repairs, should be scheduled with a professional contractor.
If you want to make updates to your home by adding or taking out drywall, you can start by assessing the condition of the existing drywall. If it is in good condition, you can add more, make repairs, or remove drywall to open a space to create a new look. If your home’s drywall is damaged with dents, holes, or worse, mold or mildew, it should be removed and replaced. If you want to make additions to your home, like finish a basement or add a sunroom, your contractor will use drywall to create your spaces.
The best way to care for your drywall is to make sure that the substrate is protected from unwelcome elements with paint or other coverings like wallpaper. Our team at Flying Colors Painting is especially good at fixing holes in walls, in addition to giving your walls, trim, ceilings, and cabinets and professional paint finish. Contact us today and let our team of professionals make any updates on your Tacoma or Olympia home!