Walls must be dry from the inside out before restoration, repainting or recovering can begin. Even when walls feel dry to the touch, the material inside the wall may be wet. Drying the inside of the walls may take weeks or even months. The total drying time will depend partially on the amount of dry air that can circulate through the studding and different wall materials.
Plaster and paneling can often be saved, but you still need to get air circulating in the wall cavities to dry the studs and sills. Wallboard soaked by dirty floodwater will need to be replaced. If the wallboard was damaged by clean rainwater, consider cutting a 4- to 12-inch-high section from the bottom and top of walls. This will create a "chimney effect" to speed up drying time. A reciprocating saw with a metal cutting blade works well for this task, but use only the tip of the blade and watch out for pipes, ductwork and wiring.GUIDELINES FOR WALL COVERINGS AND INSULATION
Do not attempt to repair plaster until walls and inner walls (studding and insulation) are completely dry. If walls were flooded extensively, you may need to wait four to six weeks, or even several months, before attempting repairs.
Drywall compound is the preferred method for patching plaster. It comes in a variety of types with different drying times, shrinkage characteristics and consistencies. Read labels to select the type you need.REPAIRING EXTERIOR SIDING
Sheathing is the material between studding and finish siding. Depending upon the type of sheathing, replacement may or may not be necessary.
Your county family living agent, your local emergency government office, the American Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency
"Removing Water From the Building Materials of a Water-Damaged Home," University of Wisconsin-Extension, Madison, 1994.
"Repairing Your Flooded Home," American Red Cross/Federal Emergency Management Agency, 1992.
TIPS on Repairing or Rebuilding Your Disaster-Damaged Home, FEMA, 1981.
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