How To Repair Ceiling Water Damage Water Damage Mold Clean Up

How To Repair Ceiling Water Damage Water Damage Mold Clean Up

How To Repair Ceiling Water Damage

April 2, 2011

Whether it’s rain coming through a leaky roof or a leaking pipe, ceiling water damage can be ugly and cost time and money to repair. However, ceiling water damage repair is not a difficult job, though it may mean replacing damaged drywall in the ceiling. The drywall is damaged and will need to be replaced when there is obvious bowing or sagging in the discolored area or a drywall screw can be easily inserted into the damaged area.

Step-By-Step Instructions

  • - Safety Glasses
  • - Dust Mask
  • - Ladder
  • - Tape Measurer
  • - Pencil
  • - Straight Edge
  • - Drywall Knife
  • - Scrap Piece Of Wood (1 X 2 recommended)
  • - Handsaw
  • - Drywall Screws (1,5 recommended)
  • - Variable Speed Drill
  • - Philips Head Drill Bit
  • - Drywall
  • - Box Knife
  • - Drywall Tape
  • - Drywall Compound and Tray
  • - Putty Knife
  • - Drywall Sandpaper
  • - Paint

Step 1: Determine the Cause

Replacing the damaged drywall is useless if the source of the water is not stopped. Remember that water runs down with gravity. So, trace the water to its source. If the source is a leaking roof, then the roof will need to be repaired first. Likewise, if the source is a leaking pipe, the pipe will need to be repaired. If the leak is not stopped, there will eventually be more ceiling water damage.

Step 2: Clean Up

Once the source is plugged, it is essential to remove the standing water. Use old towels or a ShopVac to remove the water. If the ceiling is sagging, there may be a pool of water sitting in the sag. If this is the case, put on the safety glasses and mask, hold a bucket under the bulge, and pierce the bulge with a screwdriver or other sharp instrument. WARNING: Do not use the drill to pierce the bulge. Remember, there is likely water in the drywall that will come out when the hole is created.

Once the standing water is removed, it is essential to dry the area. If practical, don’t let it dry on its own. Mold grows in dark, damp places, and drywall left to dry on its own is a perfect place for mold. Once mold begins growing within the structure of the house, it is much more difficult to remove. So, either set up a fan or use a hairdryer to dry the rest of the wet area quickly. If mold is already growing in the area, that will need to be cleared before continuing the project. It is ideal to wear the safety glasses and face mask while cleaning any mold from the area to prevent breathing in the mold.

Step 3: Measuring the Area

Use the measuring tape to determine the length and width of the damaged area. Using the straight edge, draw a square with the pencil around the damaged drywall. Having all the sides equal will create an easier fit for the new piece of drywall.

Step 4: Cutting the Damaged Drywall

Before cutting into that section of drywall, remember to put on the dust mask and safety glasses. Cutting old drywall creates a great deal of dust and debris. With the drywall knife, cut into the drywall along the lines of the square. To remove the square once it is cut, push the drywall knife into the square and push the cut piece through the hole.

Step 5: Inserting the New Drywall

Because ceiling water damage typically happens at the weakest part of the ceiling, it is likely that the damaged area is not near a ceiling stud. So, with the handsaw, cut four 4” sections from the 1” x 2” board. Lay the blocks flat in each of the four corners of the hole, leaving 2” overlapping the opening. Secure the blocks by drilling drywall screws through the existing ceiling into the blocks.

Mark a square on the new drywall the same size as the drywall removed from the ceiling. With the help of the straight edge, score the drywall with the box knife on the front side of the drywall. To break the drywall where it was scored, lift the sheet and hit the area near where the cut was made. The drywall should bend at the cut, and the box knife can be used to cut the paper. Insert the new piece into the hole and secure the drywall to the blocks with drywall screws.

Step 6: Drywall Compound

Using the drywall tape, cover the entire seam between the two sections of drywall. With the drywall knife, spread the drywall compound thinly over the tape. Make sure to cover all edges. Leave the compound to dry completely. Once dry, apply more compound over the area, taking care to spread it evenly and smoothly. Let the second layer of compound dry. Once both layers have been applied and allowed to dry, sand the area with drywall sandpaper until it is smooth and flush with the rest of the ceiling.

Step 7: Finishing

The last step to finish the ceiling water damage repair project is painting. Make sure to lay plastic over anything in the room to protect it from dripping paint. Use a primer to seal the work done before painting the ceiling.

Alternative Ceiling Designs

If the original ceiling had texture before the ceiling water damage, spray canned texture on the newly repaired area. It may take two coats of canned texture to help it blend with the rest of the ceiling.

Ceiling water damage can be a great way to redesign your ceiling. Ceiling tiles can be easily installed and is an alternative to painting or canned texture.

Tips & Warnings

• It’s a good idea to have another person help with this ceiling water damage repair, especially if the amount of drywall that needs replaced is more than can feasibly be held up while the drywall is being screwed into place.

• If the area where ceiling water damage repair was needed is minimal, a paint sample could be matched at a paint store, instead of repainting the entire ceiling.


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