How To Patch Ceiling Drywall_a

How To Patch Ceiling Drywall

If you’ve got a saggy, wet, or stained ceiling, replacing the damaged section is probably not on your list of fun things to do. 

But when you’re dealing with significant damage, especially from water or mold, time is of the essence.

While fixing a ceiling is more complicated than repairing a wall, it’s something you can DIY. Here’s how to patch ceiling drywall.

Supplies to Patch Ceiling Drywall

You’re also going to need a ladder to access the ceiling. 

And in the event your ceiling damage is on your top floor, you’ll need protection from insulation. Make sure to wear a long-sleeved shirt, eye protection, a face mask, and gloves.

If possible, get at least one other person to assist you with this job.

How to Patch Ceiling Drywall

How To Patch Ceiling Drywall_b

Step 1: Move Attic Insulation Out of the Way

If the ceiling you’re patching is right below your attic, you’ll be dealing with insulation. Put on your protective gear, and move the insulation strips to the side.

If you’re patching a ceiling on a lower floor, you’re in luck. You can skip this step.

Step 2: Mark the Area You Need to Cut

While you’re in the attic, note all the pipes and wiring you need to avoid.

From below the ceiling, use your stud finder to find the joists. Then, use your painter’s tape to outline where you plan to cut.

Step 3: Remove the Damaged Drywall

To remove the damaged drywall, use your drywall saw or reciprocating saw to puncture the middle of the section you want to remove.

 Then, cut the drywall into strips until you get to a joist. Once near a joist, start pulling the strips down with your hand.

(If you are trying to remove a piece of damaged drywall that hits a joist, pull it to separate it from the ceiling and then use a utility knife to cut through the drywall tape.)

Step 4: Add a Nailing/Furring Strip (If Necessary)

When installing drywall, all edges have to be attached to something. In ceilings, it’s the joist.

But when you’re making repairs, sometimes there won’t be a joist for you to attach the edges of your drywall.

If this is the case for you, you need to add nailing strips. (Also known as furring strips.)

Nailing strips can be 1 x 3, 2 x 2, or 2 x 4 pieces of lumber. 

Place the nailing strip against the joists but completely flush. If you don’t get them completely flush, your drywall will not install correctly.

Run a screw through the nailing strip and into the joist to secure it.

Step 5: Install Your New Piece of Drywall

Use your drywall knife to cut your new panel to the appropriate size. Make sure your drywall is the same thickness as what’s already on your ceiling. 

Now have an assistant or two hold the drywall in place while you screw it in.

Screw the drywall panel about every 8 inches along the edges and every 12 inches in the middle. Your drywall screws should be slightly below the top surface but not so far that they break the drywall’s paper face.

Step 6: Tape and Mud

Once the new drywall is in place comes the finishing work.

Fill in any gaps using drywall compound and a putty knife. Then, smooth a thin layer of drywall compound around the edges of your repair and firmly press your tape into the mud, centering it over the joints.

Next, add a little bit of compound to your putty knife and smooth it over the tape. Then use your putty knife and compound to fill in the screw holes.

Use your knife to smooth everything out, so no humps and bumps are left behind.

Allow this to dry overnight.

The next day, add a second thin coat of compound to the drywall joints and screws. Allow to dry thoroughly.

Add a third, thin coat of drywall mud and allow it to dry.

Step 7: Lightly Sand

After your third coat of drywall mud is dry, use a pole sander or fine-grit sanding sponge to smooth out the drywall mud.

Once you’ve achieved a smooth, seamless repair, you can prime and add ceiling paint or add texture to your ceiling.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I patch a small hole in my ceiling?

If you have a small hole in your ceiling that’s a few inches in diameter or less, you can use a patch kit to fix it. These kits usually come with a drywall patch, compound, and a sanding sponge.

They’re easy to use and an excellent option for a homeowner or  DIYer.

How do I paint a patched ceiling?

If you’ve patched an area of your ceiling, you’ll need to add a primer and then paint. If you have a popcorn ceiling or other texture, you’ll likely need to call a contractor to make that repair for you.

How do I fix a water-damaged ceiling?

If your ceiling has a lot of water damage, the first thing to do is address the water source. Once that’s dealt with, you can patch the damaged area of your ceiling yourself as long as the water damage is minimal.

To do this, you’ll need to cut away the old damaged drywall and replace it with new sheetrock.

If you’re dealing with a lot of damage and black mold, call in the professionals.

Final Thoughts

Ceiling repair is more complicated than standard drywall repair simply because of gravity. As a result, you’ll need at least an assistant or two to help you with this home improvement project, especially when installing the new drywall panel.

You also need to ensure that there’s something for your drywall edges to attach to. So, if you don’t have a joist available, you will need to attach a furring strip.