A. Paul Fisette, director of Building Materials and Wood Technology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a JLC contributing editor, responds: Framing lumber that has stood in water for 10 days will be structurally sound once it is dried out — if it was originally sound. However, swelling and shrinkage associated with wetting and drying can compromise the integrity of connections, delaminate plywood, and cause irreversible swelling of composites like particleboard and OSB. But as far as the lumber itself goes, the simple answer is yes: After drying, wood that was exposed to a relatively short but extremely wet period should not lose structural strength. It's important to reduce the wood moisture content to 15 percent or lower and keep the wood dry in service to ensure good performance.
Naturally, there is also a concern about mold. Affected finishes like drywall should be stripped, insulation should be removed from the framing cavities, and all structural lumber should be exposed. The surfaces of the framing should be cleaned with bleach and detergent. Bringing the moisture content down below 15 percent will prevent new fungal...
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