Whenever you come across a persistent moistness of pooling of water on your floor, dampness on the walls, or even the discoloration and scaling of drywall, you are most probably witnessing the symptoms of an inside wall water leak. Over time, such leaks weaken the strength of the wall as well as the structural integrity of your foundation- in case it is a floor leak. The solution is to systematically locate the leak, open up the walls and fix the issue. Based on the type of leak, you might have to cut off and restore a section of a pipe. Even if you hire a plumber to fix the leak, you will have saved some cash by first locating the leak on his behalf. As such, the following is a step-by-step guide on how to go about leaking walls:
Spot the leak
Within the wall plumbing, you will typically search for the leaking section just above the area you have spotted the moistness. Nevertheless, this water might have traveled a distance from the leak. Determine the walls that contain pipes by observing where the pipes rise up from the basement. You can also check where the pipes go into the walls in the kitchen and the bathrooms. Carefully listen for hissing or dripping sounds in walls that might probably be having water pipes. Upon zeroing in on the leaking walls, you can begin opening them up to inspect for wet pipes.
Opening of the walls
Upon locating the leaking region, cut out a strip of the drywall using a drywall saw. The area to be cut needs to be at a height of about 6 inches in-between two studs. Take a look at the pipe through the hole. To make your visual inspection easier, you can use a flashlight. A paper towel will also assist you in detecting any moisture on the pipe. It might be necessary to cut a number of inspection holes on separate walls to locate the leak. Upon finding the leak, either cut a new hole or widen the corresponding inspection hole so as to repair the pipe.
Fix the leak
Prior to repairing the inside wall water leak, turn off the water. The leak could potentially be in the copper supply pipes, plastic drain pipes or even the galvanized iron pipes. For the plastic drainpipes, ensure that the pipe that passes through both sides of the leak is sufficiently supported through clamps and braces. Cut out the leaking piece of the pipe then fix a new piece that has flanges at both ends to fit over the existing pipes. Use pipe glue to hold it in place.
In case you are dealing with copper pipes, cut out the leaking section and fix in a new pipe. Insert pressure fittings on each end. Ensure that you cut a length similar to the replacement pipe. Sand down any rugged bits on the pipe that has been cut. Slide in the compression rings and nuts from the pressure fittings on the two ends of the cut pipes. Put the new pipes into position and fasten the nuts.
For the galvanized iron pipes, find a clump made of stainless steel and has a rubber liner. Put this clamp around the leaking pipe and fasten its bolts.
Restoration of the walls
For every hole you had cut, find a drywall knife and clean out the sides of the hole and leave about half the width of the two studs exposed. Cut out a drywall piece to fit into the hole and tighten it using drywall screws. These screws must go through each side and into the studs.
Using a drywall taping knife, smoothly apply a pre-constituted joint adhesive over the screw holes and joints. Place a drywall tape within the compound on top of the joints and feather it out smoothly. Finally, sand smooth and repaint the fixed area.