Repairing Water Damage

Insulating, sheetrocking, taping, skimming, sanding, priming and painting a water-damaged wall in a NE Minneapolis home.

Recently, TigerOx finished repairing water damage from an ice dam that affected six separate areas of a house in Minneapolis. At some point in, Anders referred to this project as a Greatest Hits project; we used a wide variety of our skills, from wood refinishing to sheetrocking, plasterwork, matching textures, painting, etc. This post outlines one piece of the larger project: repairing a patch of wall that had been taken down to the studs.


This is what the wall looked like when we were asked to estimate this project by the homeowner and their insurance company:



Water Damaged Wall


The wall originally had blown-in cellulose insulation that we replaced with fiberglass batts with a kraft-faced vapor barrier.


Putting up insulation



All of the insulation in place


After the insulation is place, the wall needed to be shimmed so that the sheetrock would lay on the same plane as the existing lathe and plaster wall. There is half inch sheetrock on the wall, and 5/8 inch sheetrock on the ceiling, which is code.

sheetrock screwed in place to the lathe and shims

We use catalytic plaster for everything but the topping coat. Catalytic plaster comes in a powder which we mix with water. It sets quickly, which allows us to do multiple coats in one day, and is harder than the topping. The plasterwork, in stages:


First, we back-fill the seams with plaster, and then run plaster tape over those seems. The tape ensures that the seems will not be visible, or reemerge as cracks.


Back-fill and tape


Second coat:


second coat of plaster

Jeremy putting up finish plaster:


Jeremy putting up finish plaster

The plaster work is finished, and the wall is ready for sanding. (The ceiling hasn't been finished yet in this picture. That is a story for another day.)


plaster work finished

We minimize the amount of dust generated by sanding by keeping the room sealed, use of a window fan, and a vacuum attachment on our primary sander.


Jeremy with vacuum

We primed the sanded wall with a tinted primer. For this job, we were able to use up primers left over from other projects. The number one way to dispose of leftover paints is to use them up.


Primer can




Primed wall

Just a quick note on this picture: we also caulked the seam between the ceiling and wall, just to make that junction smoother, which is what the white line is. (And a little bit of funny painter's terminology: you see that paint can lid sitting on the radiator? If you set lids wet-paint-up on the floor, we call this a "painter's trap".)

The wall and ceiling were then painted the original colors. Jeremy is painting the wall with an 18” roller, which we love. More balanced than a 9” roller, it provides better coverage faster.


Jeremy putting up the finish coat of paint

Room cleaned, furniture moved back in:


Room all finished, cleaned, and the furniture back in place

Before & After:


before and after photo


This is why we do what we do.