Drywall repair: Water damaged ceiling


If you have a drywall ceiling that has been water damaged and your wife already started to complain about it then read this article and start being a man. Although if you don't know how to repair drywall, read this article so you don't have to pay a lot of money for repairing that.

Here we show you repair options with step by step instructions so you can replace the damaged section and finishing the drywall. Leaky shower drain for example, can be the cause of water damage. Water drips onto the ceiling causes a fair amount of damage. This damage appear to be a simple stain on the finished ceiling, but it actually is a hole on the unfinished side of the drywall.

Call to the contractors of bestdrywall.contractors.com for free consultation or contracting on any drywall installing or repairing projects.

Water damage caused by plumbing leak

Usually plumbing leak can be the cause of this type if situation. Yo may encounter to a U-bend PVC pipe that drips onto the basement ceiling. This leak can cause the drywall paper backing to laminate and erode the gypsum drywall material leaving a crater.


This basement ceiling we're talking about is 15 feet high because the house sits on a hillside and has high basement walls. The water stain may not look that bad from this viewpoint, however upon closer inspection the drywall paper is laminated with a sagging bubble in the center. We used a ladder with a ladder stabilizer to hold it off the wall for better reach to the water damaged drywall ceiling.


Repair methods

For this type of damage there are several repairing methods. Therefore before choosing one, you should know that that depends on size of the damage and location of it. How large is it? Is it on the wall or ceiling?
You can choose one of 3 methods below:

Method 1: Use self-Adhesive Mesh Drywall Patch

If your damaged area is on the wall (and not ceiling!), you can choose this method. The reason we say that it can't be effective is because self-adhesive metal patches work best on walls and small holes, but often sag when used on ceilings.
Drywall patches consist of a thin metal mesh with a sticky backing. The metal mesh provides support for the drywall spackle. The patch is stuck over the hole, spackle, sand and paint.You can buy them in any home improvement store.

Method 2: Cut Out damaged area and Replace it with New Drywall

This method can save you not only in repairing big sized damaged areas, but any other damaged types with any sizes. Just cut a square shape around the damaged area, insert a wooden frame into the back for base reinforcement (so you can screw the new piece of drywall to it), cover joints with tape, apply joint compound, sand and paint. The only difficult part is when damaged area is on heights so you have to go up to rich it.

Method 3: Install a Drywall Access Panel

This method has a benefit in compare to the other tow. What if you repair your drywall and the leak continues? Obviously it's a bad situation. In this method and depending on nature of the leak, you should cut an opening in the ceiling to fix the plumbing. Search for drywall access panels you should find it.


Repairing water damaged drywall ceiling

There are some tools materials you should provide before starting the repair process:

  1. Drywall Screw Setter
  2. Course Thread 1-1/4″ Drywall Screws
  3. Combination Square
  4. D. Pencil
  5. Utility Knife
  6. Cordless Drill/Driver
  7. Tape measure
  8. 12″ Drywall Taping Blade
  9. 6″ Drywall Taping Blade
  10. Drywall Jab Saw
  11. Drywall Sanding Sponge
  12. Roll of Self-Stick Fiberglass Drywall Tape.
  13. Drywall Joint Compound.
  14. 2ft x 2ft x 1/2in Drywall Repair Panel.

A large piece of cloth is also needed to keep debris and dust off the floor.

Removing damaged section of drywall

First you need to know whats in the other side of the drywall. If you don't, you have to cut a small hole to find out what's on the other side. use a utility knife and a flashlight and a small mirror. After that you can tap the knife to damaged drywall area and start cutting.

Don't worry about cutting straight, first cut the damaged area then make it square.

In our case the damaged area was just in corner of the tow separated drywall. So knowing that, we made the second cut.

Cut the damaged part out. You can actually see the damaged part now in hand. Water drip causes the hole. Water from the leaky shower drain dripped and splashed creating the hole. The problem with slow plumbing leaks is it takes time before the damage become apparent.

Drywall Ceiling Repair Steps

After removing damaged area, use your pencil to draw a square and true up the repair hole. We marked the pencil lines to partly overlap the suspended drywall ceiling metal runners to provide a flange to mount the repair panel with drywall screws.We used a utility knife to cut along the squared pencil lines. After that the edge of the runners should be exposed.

Now you can see that the water damaged area has been cut out and the hole is squared. Although in our special situation you can see tow metal support runners.

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See the U-bend pipe that leaked on the drywall ceiling.

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Bracing panel

In this step we need to install a board to provide a supporting level so that we can screw the new drywall piece to it.

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Attach the supporting panel using screws and make sure to overlap at least 2 inches so that you don't have problem screwing it to the ceiling.

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It is better if you have a screw setter so you can set screws in proper depth. It's a driver set inside a collar and can set the screws in depth without tearing through the paper face of the drywall.

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Sheetrock drywall repair clips

Sheetrock drywall repair clips is a metal clip that become fit over the edges of the hole to fasten a repair panel with screws. You can buy them in home improvement stores or hardware stores. For avoiding the sagging problem of the self-adhesive metal mesh patches in wooden brace places, these sheetrock clips can be useful.

Cutting the new drywall panel

In this step you need to cut a new piece of drywall in size of that square that you've been making. Just a little bit smaller than the square so the panel doesn’t bind. You can use old drywall pieces of what's left from previous repairs.

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Installing the new drywall panel

In the picture below you can see the old and the new piece of drywall compared to each other.

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Install the new piece of drywall. Use four screws in four corners and screw the panel to the previously installed backer board and the metal runners.
drywall repair

Tape and mud the joints

Use tape to cover the joints and apply a thin coat of joint compound with 6" blade.

drywall repair

Applying finish coats

Use the 12 inch blade to spread a thin coat of compound on the area. Try to do it immediately after the tape joints are mudded don't delay. This is just because that the first thin layer will start to dry and gum up the blade and leaving gouges in finish.

tip: Try to put as little as compound on the area. Because the less you use compound the less you have to sand it.

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Let the final compound dry over night. This is necessary before you start to sand the area.

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wet sanding and finishing repair

Next morning and after the panel dried you can sand the area. Use a sanding sponge and put it in water. Then squeeze it so that additional water comes out. It should not drip. Then sand the area smoothly and remove the joint compound that clog up the sponge.

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After sponging the area it is better to apply another very thin coat with 12 inch blade and dry and sponge it again very smoothly. Now the surface is ready to paint.
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Finally you can paint the area and make it as good as new. Take a sample of the color of your drywall ceiling to a local paint store to match the color and your work become perfect.

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Now your ceiling is as good as new. Hope this was helpful to you.

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