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What Will I Need to Know to Repair My Ceiling Drywall?


Make ceiling drywall repairs promptly.
While your drywall ceiling appears smooth, it’s composed of large pressed gypsum panels, attached to the ceiling joists. Gypsum is relatively lightweight, making installation simple, but it is prone to cracking under pressure and crumbling upon impact. Water, from a roof leak may also damage the drywall panel. You’ll use the same tools to repair the damage that the drywall contractor used to initially install the ceiling.

 
Tools and Supplies
 
Drywall repair tools fall into two categories: mud application tools and supplemental tools.
To apply wet joint compound, you’ll use a small drywall-taping knife, or a putty knife, for restricted spaces. Mud shaping tools include wide drywall taping knives and trowels, used to feather out the wet mud along the ceiling. Inside corner-taping tools form a crisp corner between the ceiling and the wall.
Drywall sanding pads smooth away rough bits of dried joint compound and a utility knife is recommended for cutting drywall panels and drywall tape. If you’re making large repairs, a stud finder, a measuring tape and drywall screw gun are essential.

 
Materials

Most drywall repairs require only premixed joint compound, or “mud,” and drywall tape. If you’re replacing a damaged section of ceiling drywall, you’ll also need a new drywall panel.
Drywall tape comes in a thin paper roll or in fiberglass mesh. Pros use paper tape, but fiberglass mesh is more user-friendly.

 
Small Repairs
 
Hairline cracks require the application of wet joint compound, smoothed into the crack with a 6-inch taping knife, before sanding and painting the ceiling. Larger cracks require the application of drywall tape to help secure the joint compound in the crack.

 
Large Repairs

Broken out sections of drywall or large water stains may require replacing a section of drywall with a new panel. This is a major repair, and you’ll need to locate the ceiling joists, cut out the damaged section with a utility knife and then cut a corresponding replacement panel from new drywall.

You’ll need a drywall screwgun to attach the new section to the ceiling joists and then you’ll apply wet joint compound with a 6-inch drywall taping knife, seal the seams with drywall tape, and use a wider, 10-inch taping knife to feather out the wet compound.

 
Additional Supplies

When repairing ceiling drywall, wear splatter-proof eye protection and climb only on a sturdy ladder or scaffolding. Cover the floor with a non-slip drop cloth before you begin.

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