How do you repair water damage to a bathroom wall?

Answered by Brett Kulina ~ April 19, 2013 ~ No Comments

We have an old style claw foot tub that has a shower attachment and a curtain that goes all the way around it. Over the years water has sprayed outside of the curtain and damaged the adjacent wall (mold, peeling paint). I would like to redo the wall, what should I do? thank you.

Bob C.

Brett Kulina

Bob, yours is a common problem in older bathrooms that have a claw foot tub with a shower head, because a shower curtain is the only way to contain the water spray within the tub(and often the curtain does a less than perfect job). If it appears that the water damage to the wall is wide spread, then you might need to remove some of the damaged wall covering so that you can visually inspect for mold within the wall cavity. Although this can be a pretty simple project when repairing a wall covered in sheetrock, keep in mind that removing a section of a plaster wall can be quite a bit trickier.

If peeling paint appears to be the extent of the water damage, then you can probably repair the surface of the wall without actually tearing out any sheetrock or plaster. Simply sand the surface of the wall, then prime and paint. The amount of water damage in your bathroom usually determines how far you have to dive into a project like this, but keep in mind that a "patch job" can typically get you only so far.

A better option would be to remove the entire wall covering, exposing the wall studs, and start from scratch. Once any necessary mold mitigation is complete, you can cover the wall framing with a plastic vapor barrier, a resilient cement backer-board, and some wall tile. This way your new bathroom wall can be more resilient to any moisture that may come into contact with it.

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