Adding mud to drywall

How to Repair a Ceiling with Water Damage – Easiest Way!

How to Repair Drywall Ceiling Water Damage

Repairing a water damaged ceiling can be expensive if you need to hire a contractor to fix this for you. That’s why we’ve provided you with a simple step-by-step walk through of how to repair drywall ceiling water damage on your own. If you follow all of the steps correctly, no one will know you had an issue with water damage in the first place!

Step 1 – Identifying the ceiling with water damage

Identifying water damage on your ceiling

There are several ways to identify a water damaged ceiling, including staining, warping, or sagging. When you’ve found the ceiling where the water damage is coming from, you should be able to see the water stains.

Picking away at ceiling

Use a six inch taping knife and mud pan to catch any debris, and scrape off the loose layer and see how stout the drywall is underneath. It’s likely there will be little soft spots that you’re going to have to cut out and replace.

Pulling off ceiling

Bang around on the ceiling near the visually damaged area to find out how much of your ceiling you’ll need to fix, so you know how much drywall you’ll need to cut out. You’ll be able to easily pull out the sections on your ceiling with water damage.

Step 2 – Cut drywall

Cut drywall

Use a pen to mark exactly where the new piece of drywall is going to be placed. Make sure there’s truss to attach your drywall to. Measure out exactly how much drywall you’ll need, so you know the size of drywall you need to cut.

When cutting the drywall, make sure to cut off the factory edges, and these are tapered edges, and cutting them will save you a lot of work later down the line. Cut around 4 inches from the top.

Cutting new drywall

Once you’ve cut your drywall into the correct size, a good tip is to make a mark on one end of the drywall, and then make a mark connecting this to the ceiling. By doing this you’ll know which way the board goes.

Step 3 – Trace Drywall

Tracing around drywall cutout

Place the drywall exactly where you’re going to attach it, and use a pen to trace around the new piece of drywall. Remember to mark your ceiling on the same side you marked your drywall!

Step 4 – Cut out damaged drywall

Cutting out damage drywall

Cut out the damaged drywall using a Keyhole saw and a razor knife Next, you want to remove any of the drywall screws that are leftover in the framing members. Then, you always want to reattach the existing drywall around the perimeter whenever possible.

Step 5 – Cut furring strip

When cutting a furring strip, make sure you cut these four inches longer than the new drywall, so you overlap the furring strip on both sides of the existing drywall. This is 2 inches for each side. A good tip is to cut the furring strip outside to keep dust out of your house.

Placing furring strip into ceiling

Step 6 – Attach Drywall

Drilling into drywall

Insert the furring strip in your ceiling, ensuring it overlaps on both sides. Use screw gun, and an inch and a quarter course thread drywall screws that are made to attach drywall to work. Once you have the drywall in place, you can tell where the wood is where you need to attach the drywall just by the screws on the existing drywall.

Step 7 – Apply Drywall Tape

First you need to mix up some 20 minute mud and get some drywall tape.

Applying drywall tape

Use the 20 minute mud to fill in the gaps around the drywall. Mix the 20 minute mud a little thick just so you can fill the gaps and it mixture won’t be too soupy. Flatten the mud out with your six inch. This doesn’t need to look pretty, and you need a little bit of a bed to lay the fiber fuse drywall tape in.

Your drywall and mud mixture should look similar to the image below.

Drywall with mud mixture

To apply the fiber tape, put the tape in place and then cut it with my knife once it’s in position. Run your 6-inch knife along the tape from the middle and out then tear the tape at the end using your knife. Do this for each side of the drywall.

This tape fuses as one with the joint compound, and is super strong.

Applying fiber tape to drywall

Then take your 12-inch knife, and flatten out the mud, ensure it’s as flat as possible.

Step 8 – Dry mud using heat gun

Use a heat gun to speed up the drying process. Do not hold the heat gun it in one spot for very long, give each section some heat to set the compound off a little quicker. This will allow you to complete the whole fix in a day.

Step 9 – Drywall finish repair

Adding mud to drywall

Mix up some more 20-minute mud and add an additional layer over your drywall. Then while you’re waiting for it to dry, use a wet cloth to blend around the edges of the drywall. You want to do this before the drywall is completely set.

Once you think the drywall is set, use your 6-inch knife and go over the top of the mud and get rid of any ridges. This will ensure your drywall is completely smooth.

Step 10 – Skim Coat Ceiling Repair

Skim coat ceiling repair

To do this, use a 12 inch knife and all-purpose joint compound. Add a little bit of water to get rid of the air pockets. Spread the mud all over the drywall section, and then go over again with your 12 inch knife to ensure your mud is smooth and without any ridges. It is recommended to then let this dry overnight.

In the morning, go around the edges of the joint compound with a wet rag and knock down any little edges along the perimeter. By doing this you’ll have a nice blend to the original texture.

Step 11 – Match Skip Trowel Texture

The ceiling in this example has a skip trowel texture, so if your ceiling also has this, make sure to read on to find out how to match the skip trowel texture on your ceiling.

Use a 14-inch taping knife and add 1 inch of the mud along the edge of the knife. You want this layer to be thin, and then drag the knife along your ceiling a few times to spread the mud.

Adding skip trowel texture to ceiling

Blend the mud into the existing ceiling so it doesn’t look out of place. Make sure to put barely any pressure on your knife. Let the joint compound and the sand do the work. Look out for spaces the ceiling isn’t grabbing so you can add some dabs and blend it in.

Finalizing skip trowel texture

Then drag your knife in the opposite direction with light pressure, to add the texture effect. Once you think it looks good, stand on the ground and look directly up at the ceiling to see if there’s any parts you’ve missed. If so, dab these areas again and blend in the mixture in the same direction you dragged the knife initially.

Step 12 – Finishing Touches

We recommend spot priming the ceiling repair and new texture and then repainting the entire ceiling to make it all nice and consistent. Hopefully this has helped you repair a ceiling with water damage.

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