The contractors have departed, the walls have been painted, the cushy couch has been moved back in, the ping pong table is newly poised for fierce competition. It’s wonderful to relax in the finished basement, pristine once again after the flood recovery. Just one question: were those studs completely dry before the new drywall went up?
It’s a question every flood victim should ask. After soaked walls and drenched insulation go into the dumpster, the exposed and wet wood studs can take weeks to dry even if your restoration expert properly controls humidity, airflow and temperature. Having a trained Paul Davis professional wielding a properly calibrated moisture meter is the only way to know the wood is dry enough to be enclosed with new wallboard. Planning on gauging moisture by feel or time? That’s a chancy plan. Guessing wrong could trigger a cascade of quiet degradation behind your beautifully finished walls.
Mould is often the first party crasher. Growing on the surface of the wood and sometimes staining the drywall atop the stud, mould can be a health hazard to sensitive individuals all by itself, causing nasal congestion, coughing, wheezing, throat irritation and other unpleasant symptoms. Because these fungi need just four conditions to flourish – wood, warmth, oxygen and moisture – the incomplete structural drying has just delivered the only thing the hungry organisms were missing. Unchecked fungus growth rots the wood, bleeding away its strength and integrity. Under the right conditions, decay can spread very quickly.
Termites are the most destructive guests eyeing your still damp basement as their cozy hideaway. Wood is rich in cellulose, termites’ preferred food, and moisture makes it even easier to eat. Just one pair of these pale, ¼-inch to ½-inch soft-bodied insects can launch a colony of millions.
Mold, rot and termites do their dirty work very quietly to destroy structural strength, hiding behind new walls. Your best defence? The reassuring remarks your Paul Davis restoration expert utters after he uses special equipment to unequivocally certify complete structural dryness: “The measurements show your studs are now dry enough for wallboard.”