If you have a leak or your basement floods, chances are that most of the drywall that gets wet will need to be replaced as part of your water damage restoration efforts. But there may be a few pieces that do not swell and are only left with minor water spots and stains. Camouflaging these stains, rather than replacing the entire piece of drywall, will save you some cash on the cleanup efforts. Follow these steps to mask those minor water stains.
Step 1: Bleach the stain.
There are two reasons to bleach the stain. First, it will help whiten the stain a little so it's less likely to show through your primer. Second, it will kill any bacteria and mold in the wet spot so you don't end up with moldy drywall down the road. Just mix about a tablespoon of bleach into a cup of water, dip your sponge into this mixture, and dab the stained area gently.
Step 2: Dry the spot.
It's important that the water stained area is entirely dry before you apply any paint. So, leave it to dry for at least three days. Make sure there's plenty of air flow in the room. Open the windows and turn on a fan if you can. Also run a dehumidifier, especially if the rest of the room still feels damp. If it's a humid summer day, you may need to leave the drywall to dry for as long as a week, but your patience will pay off with good results.
Step 3: Apply primer.
Select a good-quality sealing primer. This will help mask the stain better than a conventional acrylic primer. Apply a layer with a brush, making sure the patch you cover extends over the area that has been stained. Let the primer dry for a few hours, and then apply a second coat. You don't want any other chemicals or contaminants that were in the water to seep through the primer.
Step 4: Apply paint.
Once the primer is fully dry, which typically takes about 6 to 8 hours, you can apply paint in the color that matches the rest of the wall. Many people just choose to paint over the entire wall to ensure good blending. Let the paint dry, and if you can still see a hint of primer through it, apply a second coat.
Once your paint is dry, you should not be able to tell there was ever a water spot on your drywall.