How to Repair a Water Damaged Wall

Water is notorious for causing lots of damage to properties! Given enough time, one small leak in a water pipe can wreak havoc on your home as well as your wallet!

When you spot water damage, your best tool is time! The faster you act, the less damage your water leak can do.

If a water leak has left your walls damaged, you may be looking into how to fix it yourself. Here’s a helpful guide on how to repair a water damaged drywall or plaster wall.

How to Repair a Water Damaged Wall

Repairing Water Damaged Drywall

How to Repair a Water Damaged Wall - Tidal Wave ResponseFixing water damaged drywall is a project for an intermediate skill level. This project should take most of a day to finish, but that will vary depending on the extent of the water damage.

The first thing you’ll need to do is make sure the source of the leak has been repaired. Otherwise, you’ll have to remove and replace your drywall again!

It’s important that everything is clean and dry before you start working, since mold and mildew can grow and spread if not removed properly. A fan or dehumidifier – or both – will do the trick!


Safety Goggles and Eyewear
Box cutter
Drywall Saw
Drywall Tape
Drywall Mud

*These materials are required only if your insulation and backboard are damaged.


  1. First, remove any outlets in the affected wall. Make sure to shut off the circuit breaker to the area first!
  2. Use a box cutter to ease the wall away from any crown molding or baseboards. If your wall’s damage extends to the crown molding or baseboards, or the boards for either of these will obstruct your work, you’ll need to remove these too.
  3. Remove the affected area. This may include the drywall, insulation, and backboard.
  4. If your backboard is damaged, you’ll need to prep a replacement. (If not, skip to step 7.) Cut a plywood board to the size needed. If the affected wall is near a window or outside wall, you may consider waterproofing the new backboard at this time.
  5. Replace the backboard and screw it into place.
  6. Replace the insulation and any outlets you removed.
  7. Cut your new drywall to the appropriate size and replace it. Apply drywall tape and cover the seams with drywall mud. Once dry, sand down the area so that it’s smooth.
  8. If you removed any baseboards or crown molding, replace them once the new drywall is installed.

Congratulations! You’ve replaced your water damaged drywall, and you are now ready to paint!

How to Repair Water Damaged Plaster

As with fixing damaged drywall, you first need repair the leak which caused the water damage. You’ll then want to make sure the area around (and if applicable, behind) your damaged plaster is completely dry before starting repairs.

Plaster damage can result in bubbles in any paint, brown stains in the walls, and even warping surfaces!


Safety Mask and Goggles
Putty Knife
Stiff-Bristled Brush
Joint Compound (for shallow damage) or Plaster (for deeper or larger damage)
Joint Knife or Taping Knife


  1. Remove the water-damaged plaster using a putty knife. It’s better to remove too much than too little plaster!
  2. Clean off the surface with your stiff-bristled brush and vacuum the area, and then wash the area with a wet sponge to remove any remaining dust.
  3. Prime the affected area. Using a primer-sealer will help keep out further moisture and prevent any stains from the original damage.
  4. Begin repairing your plaster! Use joint compound for shallow damage and plaster for larger or deep damage. First, fill in the affected area using either horizontal or vertical strokes. Scrape extra plaster around the area so that you can blend in the damaged area with the rest of the wall.
  5. Let the mud set and dry.
  6. Once the mud is dry, you can sand the area and apply a second coat if desired. If you used horizontal strokes the first time, use vertical strokes for the second coat, and vice versa.
  7. Let the mud set and dry again.
  8. Sand down the repair area.

Great job! You are now ready to paint your newly repaired plaster wall!

The Best Way to Repair A Water Damaged Wall

The best way to repair a water damaged wall is to call Tidal Wave Response! Leave the guesswork out of a weekend project and let us take care of everything from drying, removal, restoration, and repairs.

Even if your water damage happens in the middle of the night, our emergency service is on call 24 hours a day and guarantees to be at your Atlanta-area property in 30 minutes or less!

Leave a comment