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