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Repair tips for flood damaged walls

One of the worst remnants of a flood is the damaged walls it leaves behind. Sometimes fixing water damaged walls isn’t an option. You’ll need to do more. Once you’ve disconnected all the utilities and made your home or office safe, removing plaster walls will be one of the major jobs to do.

Removing plaster from walls isn’t an easy task. It takes time, technique and effort. Follow these steps if you have plaster walls to remove after a flood. It’s the first major step in emergency restoration.

Think safety first

Wear protective clothes, goggles and gloves. Use a dust mask and ear plugs. Plaster fragments can fly anywhere when you are removing plaster from walls, even if the wall still seems sodden.

Clear the room

Remove furniture and other items from the room in which you’re working. Remove any outlet covers. Keep garbage bags ready for plaster and other debris. 

Locate buried utility lines

Check the walls for wiring, gas pipes and water pipes before you start removing the plaster. It’s easy to be heavy-handed and damage these as you take the plaster from the walls. Make sure that electric, gas and water are all disconnected.

Support the wall

Use 2” x 1” boards around the wall’s perimeter to support it as you work.

Start to remove the plaster

Using a hammer, carefully tap at the plaster. It should loosen, and fall away from the wall. Some pieces will fall away easily. Others will need more rigorous tapping, before using a scraper to lever away from the wall.

Take care not to damage the walls behind the plaster.

Remove the lath

Plaster is installed either on a metal mesh or wooden strips (a lath). This will also need to be removed. Wooden strips can be pried away from the walls, while the metal mesh will need to be removed using metal cutters.

The wall is now ready to be dried out and re-plastered. I hope you put all the debris in the garbage bags, because all the plaster, lath, metal mesh and other debris needs to be removed and disposed of safely.

Use fans and ventilate

You might also use fans to keep the room well ventilated throughout, and after the plaster has been removed and wall exposed. This will help the drying process, and allow you to re-plaster the wall quicker.

Cleaning up and preparing for renovation after a small flood (for example, in the bathroom) can usually be done by DIY enthusiasts. More comprehensive flooding is a different ball game. You should call the professionals: contact Porter's Cleaning – cleaning and emergency restoration is our specialty.

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