How to Use a Wood Moisture Meter on Drywall

Drywall is a widely-used construction material essential to our homes and offices. Ensuring your drywall is moisture-free is critical to its longevity, appearance, and structural integrity.

In this article, we explore the benefits of using wood moisture meters for drywall, such as:

Do Pinless Moisture Meters Work on Drywall?

Yes, the Orion series of pinless moisture meters’ Relative Measurement mode makes it easy to test moisture in drywall. It’s the perfect choice for anyone — building inspector, homeowner, or otherwise — who wants to measure the relative moisture content of drywall.

How to Use a Moisture Meter on Drywall

Detecting moisture within your walls is crucial to maintaining the integrity and appearance of your drywall. Look for visible signs of moisture, such as discolored areas, musty odors, or crumbling drywall, which may indicate significant water damage.

Follow these simple steps to assess the moisture levels in drywall using an Orion® moisture meter accurately:

1. Activate the Relative Measurement Mode on your Orion® Moisture Meter

To do this, press and release the SPECIES/MATERIAL button until you see “REL” displayed on the main LCD screen and in the lower-left corner. Next, press the ON/HOLD button to activate the mode. Your moisture meter will now operate on a relative measurement scale (0-100), suitable for measuring non-solid wood or non-wood-based materials, including drywall. To return to Standard Measurement mode, press the SPECIES/MATERIAL button again.

how to use a wood moisture meter on drywall

2. Locate a Dry Spot and Record a Baseline Reading

Identify a known dry area on the wall and take a moisture reading. This baseline measurement will serve as a reference point for comparing other readings.

3. Scan the Wall for High-Moisture Areas

Examine the wall to identify spots with higher moisture content than the baseline reading. These areas indicate moisture issues within the drywall that may require further investigation or remediation.

What Percentage of Moisture Should Drywall Be?

Drywall with a moisture reading of 15 or below is acceptable while using your Orion® moisture meter in Relative Measurement mode. Any reading above 15 could be a concern.

Free Download – 5 Ways Pinless Moisture Meters Save You Time and Money

Why It’s Important to Know If There’s Moisture in Your Drywall

Drywall and moisture don’t get along. This is because drywall is very porous and easily absorbs and holds moisture. Even a small amount of excess moisture is too much for drywall. If you have excess moisture, you must either dry it or remove and replace it.

If you splash some water on drywall and then wipe it off right away, you should be OK. If it’s a larger amount of water, you can dry it off with a towel and then turn a fan on it until it dries. However, if drywall comes into contact with moisture over a longer period, it can be damaged beyond repair.

Even if you could dry it out, it wouldn’t look the same because it would have lost its shape, and if pressure is applied, it will crumble. The drywall is not load-bearing, so it won’t affect the building’s structural integrity, but it must be replaced.

Moisture Meter for Drywall

Mold is also a problem because it doesn’t take much to get it growing in drywall. If you smell mold in your drywall, you should replace the affected panels immediately.

Not All Moisture Meters Have a Relative Mode

While it’s important to use a moisture meter on drywall, not all moisture meters have a relative mode. Using a relative scale may be the easiest way to test. Having a meter read something that is not the correct moisture content for the drywall may be confusing.

However, a relative mode may help the user remember the goal is to find the wettest areas. You must focus on ensuring that the drywall is dried out or replaced in these wetter areas. Also, a digital moisture meter can help a person trace down areas where water may enter the structure.

Can a Moisture Meter Be Accurate on Drywall?

Yes, a moisture meter can accurately detect moisture in drywall. Depending on the type of moisture meter used, it can be accurate down to 0.1% of moisture content in the drywall.

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How often should I check the moisture in my drywall?

It is recommended to check the moisture content in your drywall at least once a year or more frequently if you live in an area with high humidity or have experienced water damage.

Can I use a pin-type moisture meter on drywall?

While pin-type moisture meters can be used on drywall, pinless meters are generally recommended for non-invasive and less damaging moisture detection in drywall materials.

What are the signs that my drywall needs to be replaced due to moisture damage?

Some common signs of moisture damage in drywall include discoloration, musty odors, crumbling or warped panels, and visible mold growth. If you notice any of these signs, it is essential to address the issue promptly to prevent further damage.

How can I prevent moisture problems in my drywall?

Regularly check for leaks, proper ventilation, maintaining humidity levels, and using moisture-resistant materials like greenboard in moisture-prone areas can help prevent moisture problems in your drywall.

Consider reading Wood Moisture Meters Buying Guide: Pinless vs Pin-type next.

Last updated on June 10th, 2024


  1. drywall expert says:

    A moisture meter is real handy to have in my tool box at work. There’s been a site or two here lately that when had arrived we had found the contractors left the lifts of drywall outside with a tarp over them! Because of this I make all of my drywall employees carry a moisture meter with them. It’s really no fun doing the job twice!

  2. Kentwood says:

    Great post! You have well explained about how to test drywall moisture. Thanks for this informative article!

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