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How to Repair a Water-Damaged Wall

Complete instructions for replacing a badly rotted window, including repairing cracks, replacing drywall and sealing the window.

More in Windows Walls and Doors

Step 1: Shut off Power

Make sure the power to the electrical outlet has been shut off at the circuit breaker. Once you've ensured that the power is off, remove the outlet.

Step 2: Expose the Wall

With the outlet removed, begin exposing the wall. Use a utility knife to cut off the molding. Use a hammer and chisel to remove the baseboard.

Step 3: Remove Rot

Remove the existing rotted drywall and moldy insulation and determine the location of the gap.

Step 4: Cut and Seal the Plywood

Prepare a plywood board replacement. Measure and cut it to size. Paint the board with Hydro-stop waterproofing sealant and cover with a layer of cheesecloth. Cut the cheesecloth at 45-degree angles at the corners to allow overlap. Allow the board to dry completely.

Step 5: Seal Underneath the Window

In the meantime, use the same sealant to paint the troublesome area underneath the window. Apply liberally to ensure a waterproof seal.

Step 6: Prep the Area Outside the Window

To begin the repair on the outside of the window, first prep the area by cleaning the window sill and ensuring that the weep holes are free of debris.

On the outside of the window, apply a bead of caulk to the crack in the wall. Use your finger to run along the seam to ensure proper cohesion.

Step 7: Put Up Plywood

Once the plywood board has completely dried, put it in place to close up the gap. Place two smaller blocks behind the board to act as a support. The board can then be anchored to the existing studs in the window frame as shown in the image.

Step 8: Replace the Outlets and Insulation

Before replacing the drywall, replace any damaged outlets. Put the new insulation in place. Remember to put the paper side facing the living area.

Step 9: Replace the Drywall

Mark off the studs in the window frame with tape. This will help with locating them later when putting the drywall in place. Nail the drywall in place and then apply the drywall mud to the seams. Apply a strip of drywall tape to the seam and cover with more mud. Allow to dry, sand down and repeat if necessary.

Step 10: Replace the Baseboard, Then Paint

Replace the baseboard and nail in place; prime and paint.

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