How To Replace A Water-Damaged Section Of Drywall Ceiling With A Drywall Patch

23 December 2015
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If you have a water-damaged drywall ceiling, then repair will require you to remove the damaged section and replace it with a new piece. Below is how you and an assistant can perform this repair and restore your ceiling to its original condition:

What you will need

  • Drywall panel
  • Self-adhesive mesh joint tape
  • Joint compound
  • 6-inch flat trowel
  • 1-½ inch long drywall screws
  • Electric drill with screwdriver bits
  • Utility knife
  • Drywall saw
  • Metal straight edge
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil or marker
  • 120-grit sandpaper sheet
  • Thin chisel
  • Hammer
  • Step ladder
  • Assistant

Step-by-step procedure

1. Prepare the patch first - Begin by measuring the area of the ceiling that needs to be removed; find the widest and longest dimension of the damaged portion of drywall, then add 6 inches to each measurement. This will provide you with dimensions for a rectangular-shaped patch. For example, if the water-damaged spot on your ceiling is 14 inches at its widest spot and 17 inches at its longest, then adding 6 inches to each measurement will require cutting a patch 20 by 23 inches in size.

Once you have arrived at the proper size for your patch, lay out the rectangle on a new drywall panel with a straight edge and pencil or marker. Next, score the outer paper layer on the drywall with a utility knife, then push the drywall inward to "snap" the inner gypsum core along the scored line. Finish cutting the opposite paper layer with the knife. If you have difficulty gaining leverage on the drywall panel, use a drywall saw to cut away surrounding pieces of drywall to enable you to snap along the line.

2. Remove the damaged section of drywall ceiling - After cutting out the patch, have an assistant hold the patch over the damaged section of ceiling while you trace along the outer edge of the patch with a pencil or marker. Remove the patch and set it aside in a safe location.

Next, use the drywall saw to cut along the line you just traced to remove the damaged piece of drywall. If you encounter a ceiling joist while cutting the drywall, use your utility knife to score the surface of the paper, then use a thin chisel and hammer to carefully chip into the drywall where it is obstructed by the joist. As you get close to completing the removal of the damaged section, be sure your assistant is close at hand to help you lower the piece to the ground without it falling on you or causing damage to the home or furnishings.

3. Attach the drywall patch to the ceiling joists - Once the damaged piece has been removed, mark the adjacent undamaged areas of drywall to indicate where the ceiling joists are located. This will be helpful to you when driving screws into the patch.

Ask your helper to position the drywall patch so it fits into the opening you cut in step 2, then be sure they maintain a tight hold on it as you prepare to attach the patch with drywall screws. Using the joist marks you made as a guide, drive several drywall screws through the piece of drywall and into the joists. Be careful not to drive the screws too deeply to avoid stripping or cracking. Once the drywall patch is firmly attached to the joists, your assistant can release the panel and move out of the way.

4. Finish the drywall patch joints - The last step before painting is to finish the drywall joints so the repair is seamless with the surrounding ceiling. Use strips of self-adhesive mesh joint tape to seal the gaps between the drywall patch and outer edges of the repair site.

Next, apply a thin layer of joint compound to the top of the joint tape so it is completely covered, but be careful not to make the layer too thick. Blend the joint compound into the surrounding area to make a seamless transition from patch to undamaged ceiling. Allow the joint compound to dry for 24 hours, then carefully sand away any rough spots with 120-grit sandpaper. Once this is finished, you are ready to apply an appropriate paint to cover and blend the panel into the rest of the ceiling.

If you have lots of water damage throughout your home, you might want to consider contacting a company like Flagship Restoration for help.