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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I started repairing a stairway in a 10 story building. A pipe on the roof froze and bursted causing a flood. The sheetrock on the upper floors feels solid. My question is at what point do I replace the sheetrock? Should I replace some of the ceilings and not worry so much about the walls? I scraped away damaged areas, primed everything with binz shellac based primer and then plastered. Any comments or suggestions would be helpful.
 

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Use a non contact moisture meter. Any where there is water, the sheetrock probably needs to be pulled off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
A non contact moisture meter? Is there any reason for that vs a "regular" moisture meter? certain price range that I should look to spend? Or is there one that you could recommend?
Thanks
 

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A non contact moisture meter? Is there any reason for that vs a "regular" moisture meter? certain price range that I should look to spend? Or is there one that you could recommend?
Thanks
Non contact ones are faster to use and don't leave holes like the pin testers do. I can't recommend a specific one - I use a thermal imager for finding moisture, but the companies like Servpro use the non-contact meters to find out what drywall needs tearing out. I haven't checked prices in a few years, but I'd look to pay $100-400. Well worth the money.

If it's caught in time. a lot of times you can just take the bottom 18"" of drywall off the interior walls and get the walls to dry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thankyou for all your time and information you and everyone else have been a lot of help.
I had some holes for ventilation for about a month so I feel pretty confident that its dry. Its a stairwell that doesn't get used often only if the elevator is out so its not directly in a residence. I just want to be sure to do the right thing by the client but also dont want to waste time. If it was a residence and not a ten flight walk uo to replace the rock I would have opted for that fix but I think its quicker to scrape prime and plaster. I just want to be as efficient as I can and at the same time do a job that I feel good about.
I know the only way to be sure of no mold is to remove the sheetrock that has been exposed but I'm willing to take the risk as long as I follow a few steps.
I do think I will replace the top floors walls and ceilings now.
Thanks again guys anymore info please share.
 

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This may sound silly, but i use the "broom handle test"

Get a wooden broom handle and poke it. Remove all soft drywall & replace.

However, if you see mold remove until you dont. Binz the cavity, then re/sheet.

Walls breathe. Think about what a wall is: a dark, empty, void prime for mold to grow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Okay so I went out this morning and bought a non contact moisture meter. I had readings of about 50% on average throughout. Looks good I did poke areas and it all feels sound. I am going to replace about 3 sheets at the very top in the main area. I really dont think replacing any other areas are necessary. I am going to cut out a few 1x1 areas and check the rock for mold jyst for peace of mind. I'll keep you guys updated.
Thanks
 

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Not to burst your bubble here! But readings of 50% are real bad!!
The readings should be in the 12-15% area, under normal conditions!

Did you have the meter on the correct setting, drywall/plaster/wood/etc.?

Did you get a reading to start with in a dry area, this will be the reference to start with, they should be in the 12-15% area, 20%?? but can dry out. Drywall is easy to dry out, with the proper method. I would be MORE concerned with the treat of MOLD in this issue. Being a stair-well, with I assume very little ventilation. Is there insulation behind the board? Insulation does not dry out, and will need to be removed! This does sound like a good mold farm in the makings!

The meter we use at work in the Tramex Encounter Plus, approx. $400 bucks, but we use them daily.

Hope this helps out?? Sure didn't mean to scare you, just a thought!

Dave
 

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Not to burst your bubble here! But readings of 50% are real bad!!
The readings should be in the 12-15% area, under normal conditions!

Did you have the meter on the correct setting, drywall/plaster/wood/etc.?

Did you get a reading to start with in a dry area, this will be the reference to start with, they should be in the 12-15% area, 20%?? but can dry out. Drywall is easy to dry out, with the proper method. I would be MORE concerned with the treat of MOLD in this issue. Being a stair-well, with I assume very little ventilation. Is there insulation behind the board? Insulation does not dry out, and will need to be removed! This does sound like a good mold farm in the makings!

The meter we use at work in the Tramex Encounter Plus, approx. $400 bucks, but we use them daily.

Hope this helps out?? Sure didn't mean to scare you, just a thought!

Dave
Agreed, 50% pull the drywall and make sure that the insulation is not wet and if so, replace.
 

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Agreed, 50% pull the drywall and make sure that the insulation is not wet and if so, replace.
I'm thinking a calibration or scale issue, or user issue or something like that. If there is water in the wall, the lower foot or so should read much higher than the center of the wall. Hopefully the 50% on average isn't 10% mid wall and 90% bottom of the wall.
 

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I'm thinking a calibration or scale issue, or user issue or something like that. If there is water in the wall, the lower foot or so should read much higher than the center of the wall. Hopefully the 50% on average isn't 10% mid wall and 90% bottom of the wall.
Problem with being this inexperienced with something like this you are better off pulling out and replacing to cover your arse.
 

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Thanks, TNT for the same thought!

And a reminder, water is, and will travel VERY quickly, to places that are not even thought about! BE care-full, and look at all angles here!
Mold mitigation/clean-up is not cheap, for anyone!

Just like chit, water does run down hill! LOL

I would be looking at the lower levels very carefully as well!

dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
BOOM!!! Thats the sound of my bubbles bursting. :) I am praying there is no insulation in these walls. I am so torn about this job I feel like I bit off more than I can chew, but life lessons are sometimes the best. The client is reasonable so if I have to upcharge I feel good about not having problems. I just feel horrible about not looking before bidding.
I bought a ryobi moisture meter this morning there weren't any other options. I took readings on pieces of brand new sheetrock and they were at 50% so I assumed that was the norm for this particular meter. I'm going crazy cause I wanna do the right thing.
Thankyou guys this input in invaluable
 

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Check and see what it reads on wet wallboard so you know what the top is. Usually the first places to check are the upper corners of the room at the ceiling - wall angle, and the same along the floor edge. Then check the rest of the areas.
 

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Something just does not sound correct here! I looked up the Ryobi moisture meter that HD sells for approx. 45-50 bucks, the specs. on it say the range is from 5%-30%, how the hell did ya get 50% then??? Might not be the same one, but I did look today at ours at the shop, and they go from 0 to 30% if I read it correct! LOL It was early in the am, after just 1 coffee.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Okay a quick update, the a staircase wasn't that bad. I cut the wall open in 6 different places and it all looked good. So we scraped and primed with kill shellac based primer. Taped and plastered sanded and primed again.
The B side a bit different this staircase took most off the water. We cut open areas scrapped and still felt moisture. So we ended up ripping out about 6 sheets worth of damaged areas plus insulation (thanks for the tip). so we left the walls open until Tuesday. I put some moisture absorption pellets from HD out in about 7 areas.

Thanks for all the input again I feel confident now in how things are going.
EXCEPT I should have prepped the stairs the killz primer is like water :). Prepping stairs suck any tips on a quick prep method for a lot! Of stairs?
 
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