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Wall Cavity Drying: When & Why

By Jocelyn Hare McLaughlin

Drying water-damaged walls is a crucial step in the restoration process. However, it can be a complicated process that involves several stages. Fortunately, there are different ways to dry walls, depending on the severity of the damage.

Firstly, let’s discuss the importance of wall cavity drying. Wall cavity drying is a process that allows airflow to access the affected wall cavities by creating holes in the drywall. This process is especially useful for the second and third stages of drying, drying through capillary action and vapor diffusion. By removing the baseboard and creating one 5/8″ hole every 14-16 inches, moisture trapped inside the materials can turn into vapor and evaporate into the drying chamber. Wall cavity drying can help reduce the overall dry time of affected materials.

When should you use wall cavity drying methods? There are several general guidelines to follow. Wall cavity drying is useful to achieve the standard drying time of 3-5 days, to decrease demolition such as “flood-cutting,” to dry rooms without direct air circulation, to dry hard-to-reach spaces, and in conjunction with specialty cavity drying systems and equipment. However, it is important to assess each situation and choose the best tool for the job.

Four pro tips for wall cavity drying.

  1. Firstly, removing the baseboard allows capillary action to occur, and bound moisture in the walls may wick out through the bottom of the walls. To reduce secondary damage to affected walls, carefully score the top of the baseboard to disconnect it from the wall or wall covering.
  2. Secondly, an aerator can be used to create the necessary holes in the drywall. Restoration Tools has developed an innovative tool called the Aerator that speeds up this process by 15 times.
  3. Thirdly, it is important to consider potential contaminants during inspection for the proper safety and health of customers and technicians. (Cat 1, 2, or 3)
  4. Lastly, be sure to follow the EPA’s Lead RRP procedures when doing demolition in a building built before 1978. Older buildings may have lead paint or asbestos, and it is imperative that safe abatement procedures are followed.

In conclusion, drying water-damaged walls is a complicated process that involves different stages. Wall cavity drying is an effective method to achieve the standard drying time of 3-5 days, decrease demolition, and dry hard-to-reach spaces. It is essential to assess each situation and choose the best tool for the job. Remember to consider potential contaminants and follow proper safety procedures during the restoration process. Restoration Tools’ Aerator is an innovative tool that can speed up the process of creating necessary holes in the drywall by 15 times.

Watch the video below to see the process of Wall Cavity Drying.