How do I Repair a Drywall Ceiling?

Susan Grindstaff
Susan Grindstaff
Trowels are often used to plaster ceilings.
Trowels are often used to plaster ceilings.

Cracked drywall, whether it is on a ceiling or a wall, is usually easy to repair. The method for repairing a drywall ceiling usually depends on the size of the area that needs work. If the area is small, you might want to purchase a drywall repair kit, which should have everything you need included. For larger areas, it may be necessary to repair a drywall ceiling by tearing out old drywall and replacing an entire section.

Before you repair a drywall ceiling, it is a good idea to determine what may have caused the damage. If the damage is from water leakage, you will need to first determine where the water is coming from. If the ceiling is directly under a roof, the damage may be caused by loose or missing roofing materials. If the ceiling is under an upper story, water damage could be caused by leaking pipes. In either case, the problem must be found and corrected or all of your work repairing the ceiling will be for nothing, as it will just have to be redone.

Preparation is essential before you repair a drywall ceiling. First, you will need to pull free any loose or hanging pieces of drywall or drywall tape. You can do this by hand, but it is usually easier to use sandpaper, because it will also take care of any particles that are loose but not hanging. Once this is done, you should take a damp cloth and clean the area to be sure there is no residual grit or powder.

If you decide to use a kit to repair a drywall ceiling, you can purchase one at most any hardware store. Before you begin, read the directions carefully to make sure you understand what needs to be done. There are various types of kits on the market, and each may have slightly different directions.

Simpler kits use perforated aluminum sheets backed with adhesive. You should cover the damaged area with the aluminum, making sure it extends a bit beyond the damaged drywall on every side. Then, using a trowel, you heavily coat the aluminum with drywall spackle. Allow it to completely dry, then sand the rough edges and paint.

If you do not want to use a kit, you will need to buy a piece of drywall, along with spackle and drywall tape. Remove the damaged area, and then cut a piece of drywall the same size as the piece you cut out. The job will go faster if you square off the edges of the piece you remove, even if it means cutting into an undamaged area. Insert the new drywall and tape it around the edges. Cover the area with spackle and allow it to dry, then paint and sand.

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Discussion Comments


Thanks for the article. Do you have to scrape the ceiling texture off of the edge that was originally on there so that you can place tape on it? If not, then how do you tape the new edge?

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    • Trowels are often used to plaster ceilings.
      Trowels are often used to plaster ceilings.