How to Repair Ceilings

Most residential ceilings are either drywall or plaster. Many of the same things that happen to walls also befall ceilings. The same general idea applies to ceiling repairs. However, dealing with the ceiling must often be done while you’re on a ladder and in an awkward position. Also, there is the additional problem of fighting gravity. The patches must be well secured or they are liable to come tumbling down. Often this requires more drywall screws than for wall patches.

Plus, ceilings have some other problems, and there are many types of ceilings.

ceiling repair How to Repair Ceilings

A sagging ceiling

This can be a minor thing or can be very serious. With either type, you’ll do well to make a T-brace or maybe even a couple of them. To work, the T-brace must be about an inch longer than the ceiling height so it can be wedged in place to lift up and hold the ceiling at the sag.

With drywall, nails have probably come loose, and you may spot the areas where this has happened from the nail holes. The nail holes also help you see where the joists are. If so, install drywall screws into the joists. Use plenty of screws but remember that you’ll have to patch over each screw head.

The sagging plaster ceiling can be more dangerous because of the weight involved. But with plaster, there are more places in which to fasten the ceiling back in place. In addition to joists, there are also lath boards. Use screws plus washers under the heads. All of these fasteners must be covered when the ceiling is secure.

Texturing

Even though the sheets of gypsum board are very smooth, when installed there are uneven areas because of taping and bedding, nails, and uneven studs. Under certain lighting conditions, imperfections show up. Texturing tends to make these bad spots get lost. A good texturing tool is a paint roller. The length of the nap on a roller gives different textures. We prefer a short napped roller but that’s a judgment call. It’s a good idea to practice on a scrap of gypsum board. You can roll and then scrape it all off, trying different things until you get the right texture. Apply a thin smooth layer of mud with a wide drywall knife and then roll the surface.

Ceilings have a wider variety of popular texture patterns. Crow’s foot is done with a special brush that you jab against the ceiling to make the pattern. Swirls can be made with a stiff broom.

There are no rules when it comes to texture patterns, so if you want to try something weird, use that scrap and practice. A notched trowel made for spreading floor adhesive can make an interesting pattern on walls or ceilings.

Popcorn ceilings

This is a very popular acoustical ceiling treatment that is sprayed on. There is also a roll-on version that is easier for the do-it-yourselfer to apply. From the name, you know exactly how it looks. It is generally not painted. In fact, efforts to paint this type of ceiling usually result in a lot of the aggregate being dislodged. This is a common problem with a popcorn ceiling. Fortunately, there is a patching compound made to replace the stuff that has fallen off. This compound comes in a small plastic tub and is applied with a putty knife. It comes in two types-”New” and “Old.” New is very white and Old is off-white.


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