How to Repair a Drywall Ceiling

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Ceiling repairs due to cracks, water stain, holes and exposed nails are common problems for most homeowners. It may seem daunting to repair a drywall ceiling. However, it is a relatively easy task if you have some basic skills, the necessary tools and right materials.

Things You'll Need

  • Utility knife
  • Putty knife
  • Drywall saw
  • Hand sander
  • Drywall
  • Drywall compound
  • Drywall tape
  • Drywall screws
  • Spray texture-repair kit
  • Paint brushes
  • Paint
  • Textured roller
  • Get a drywall repair tool kit and the right materials before starting to repair a drywall ceiling. The kit should contain many of the tools listed above as well as other optional tools. It is best to be well prepared for any problems you can encounter while doing the repair.

  • Learn to use a hand sander to correctly repair ceilings. Most repairs require that you do some sanding of the damaged area to ensure a smooth finish for priming and painting.

  • Apply the drywall compound thinly, one coat at a time, until you have the desired coverage. Let each coat dry completely and use the sander after each coat to smooth out the repair area. By using this technique, you can avoid lumpy patched area.

  • Repair a small hole in a ceiling by using a drywall saw to cut out the damaged area; then, with a utility knife, cut out a piece of drywall that will fit the hole dimension. Use drywall screws to secure the drywall to the joist. Apply a thin coat of compound over the joints and screws and cut a piece of drywall tape to place on the wet compound around the joint. Add one more coat of compound over the tape, let dry and sand.

  • Scrape off any damaged paint area with a putty knife when repairing a textured ceiling. Use the hand sander to smooth the edges of the area then apply a thin coat of compound to fill in the area, let dry and sand again. Continue to Step 6 (for textured ceilings) or Step 7 (for ceilings without texture).

  • Blend a repair with the surrounding ceiling texture by using one of various types of spray texture-repair kits. Repair kits are good for textured ceiling styles such as popcorn, splatter and knock-down. You can use compound with texture brushes or textured rollers on the repaired area to achieve the look of the surrounding ceiling.

  • Prime and paint the repaired area to match the ceiling. It may be necessary to repaint the entire ceiling to get the desired match.

Tips & Warnings

  • Note that in Step 4, it is important for the replacement piece to be adequately supported for a proper repair.

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