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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Best Practices For Using A Moisture Meter

9/14/2020 (Permalink)

Moisture to Atlanta Home drywall ceiling Don't try to handle water damages on your own! SERVPRO is here to help!

In this post, you are going to learn how the professionals test the moisture in materials after water damage occurs. There are two different types of moisture meters that SERVPRO professionals use, penetrating and non-penetrating. 

Drywall’s Fight Against Water And Fire Damages 

The main compound in drywall is called gypsum. The reason that this is the main compound in drywall is due to the fact that it has strong fire-resistant qualities. Depending on the temperature of the fire, the drywall will help contain the fire from spreading to further rooms of your home or business.  

Although drywall is known to keep fires contained, it is not the best material when water damage strikes. 

Drywall is extremely porous and readily absorbing. When water gets in contact with drywall, it will act as a dry sponge. Water damage professionals measure the water content in drywall with the metric, moisture content (%MC)

Wet Drywall 

Whenever drywall exceeds even 1%, then the drywall can be considered “moisture-compromised” and in need of either drying or removal depending on the category of water present. 

The SERVPRO professionals know that if there are clear signs of mold, the water restoration company will automatically notify the property owner to remove all damaged drywall.

Water Resistant Drywall 

There is a type of water-resistant drywall called GreenBoard drywall. Greenboard is a water-resistant paper covering that goes on top of the drywall. In severe water damage cases, the water can get behind the paper covering and still damage the drywall forcing a water restoration company to remove all the wet materials. 

During any water damage, it is necessary to act fast and mitigate the affected drywall. Using a moisture meter is the best way to test if moisture is present in your home or business's drywall.

Water Damage Moisture Meters 

To find out the MC% in drywall, the SERVPRO professionals will use a specific moisture meter to test moisture in drywall. In every SERVPRO hero's tool bag, they have moisture meters ready to get accurate results. The moisture meters that the professionals use have a specialized gypsum/drywall scale mode.

How To Use A Moisture Meter

There are specialized moisture detecting devices for drywall. Penetrating moisture meters with a drywall scale setting designed to get accurate moisture readings in the drywall as low as 0.1% MC.

Looking for a moisture meter to use for testing wet drywall? 

Consider the following: 

  • Whether or not the pin moisture meter has a gypsum scale.
  • The accuracy of moisture detection.
  • The length of the penetrating pins; longer pins will test the insulation behind the drywall. 
  • Dual capability of penetrating and non-penetrating meters. 

Penetrating Meters Vs. Non-Penetrating Meters

When it comes to testing the moisture in drywall, the best type of meters to use are penetrating meters. Penetrating meters have pins at the end of them, making testing easy and avoid false positives from moisture in the air. 

Pinless moisture meters can only measure to a fixed depth. In some cases, the SERVPRO Atlanta team has found that thin drywall will throw off the drywalls' accuracy because it reads the space behind the drywall. Water damage professionals will typically use a pinless meter to test the MC% of concrete and other hard materials. 

In the past, we have gotten requests where customers would not like us to use a penetrating meter to avoid damaging wallpaper. Penetrating meters do cause damage to wallpaper because of the small holes. Depending on the amount of damage to the drywall, there might not be a sensible reason not to use a penetrating meter to get an accurate reading. 

If your home or business has recently suffered from water damage, it is best to call a reputable company like SERVPRO of Downtown Atlanta. All of our professionals have been certified by the IICRC to ensure that restoration best practices occur throughout a project. 

Call us at (404) 835-0200.

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