GBA Logo horizontal Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Picture icon Hamburger Icon Close Icon Sorted

Community and Q&A

Water damage from pipe burst

Marc Kleinmann | Posted in General Questions on

One of my clients just had severe water damage from a burst pipe in the attic in a two story house. After a first visual inspection, it appears that the water spread pretty evenly throughout the 2nd floor ceiling and then made it’s way down to the first floor through the interior/exterior walls. There’s visible damage in crown moulding, ceilings, some walls and some of the wood flooring has already started to buckle.
I have dealt with one similar case before where all the drywall had to be removed because it was mainly in exterior walls and all the insulation was soaking wet. So here is my question: The insurance company tells my client that they can dry all the drywall by removing all baseboards and setting up blowers and de-humidifiers. But I don’t see how interior wall cavities and ceiling cavities can dry out by simply removing baseboards. The least that would have to be done imo is to punch holes in each stud space to allow for proper circulation and even then fire blocking will prevent good circulation the the stud space and I don’t think massive water damage like this can be dried like that. Looking for opinions from people that had to deal with issues like this before. Any input is appreciated.

Marc Kleinmann

GBA Prime

Join the leading community of building science experts

Become a GBA Prime member and get instant access to the latest developments in green building, research, and reports from the field.


  1. Douglas Horgan | | #1

    1. Hire a good restoration contractor; they will have the IICR ( ) book which explains what is considered economical in a given situation, and your insurance company will likely go along--the idea is if you don't demo X, you will cause damage to both X and Y, so it's cheaper to demo...
    2. A moisture meter can be used to double-check diagnoses and cures. I like a pinless one that has lights and sounds, makes scanning large areas easy. A thermal camera and experienced operator can sometimes substitute and provide photographic evidence later about what was actually wet.
    3. Many times, drywall and insulation that aren't that wet do survive and dry out without much help. I have seen plenty of leaks that were never worked on and dried out on their own. Not always but many times.
    4. 48 to 72 hours to dry will make mold growth very unlikely. If you need to motivate an insurance adjuster, that's what they should be worried about.
    5. Do you have fireblocking? Hasn't been code for 8' walls for a long time. I have seen walls dried by removing baseboard...and have also caught mistakes by checking with moisture meter after the walls were supposed to be done.
    Good luck

Log in or create an account to post an answer.


Recent Questions and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |