How to Repair Drywall Ceiling Water Damage – Part 2

How to Repair Drywall Ceiling Water Damage – square up the ceiling hole and mount a wood brace for the repair panel. This repair is continued from How to Repair Drywall Ceiling Water Damage – Part 1.

Drywall Ceiling Repair Steps

I’ve made the rough cut to remove the water damaged part of the drywall ceiling. Pencil lines are marked with a square to true up the repair hole. The pencil lines are marked to partly overlap the suspended drywall ceiling metal runners to provide a flange to mount the repair panel with drywall screws:

Damaged Ceiling Drywall Repair: Repair Panel Hole Rough Cut

Damaged Ceiling Drywall Repair: Repair Panel Hole Rough Cut

The drywall repair panel will be screwed into the bottom of the metal support runners. A utility knife is used to cut the drywall along the squared pencil lines to expose the edge of the runners. Score the drywall paper face then plunge in the blade making a seesaw motion with successive passes. Then make a long deep pass with the blade to complete the cut:

Drywall Ceiling Repair: Cut along the Metal Support Runner

Drywall Ceiling Repair: Cut along the Metal Support Runner

Cut along the other metal support runner:

Drywall Ceiling Repair: Square up the Hole with a Utility Knife

Drywall Ceiling Repair: Square up the Hole with a Utility Knife

The water damaged drywall ceiling is cut away and the hole is squared exposing the two metal support runners:

Water Damaged Drywall Ceiling Repair: Hole for the Repair Panel

Water Damaged Drywall Ceiling Repair: Hole for the Repair Panel

Good view ceiling repair hole with the metal support runners, shower drain that leaked on the drywall ceiling and drain pipe U-bend:

Drywall Ceiling Repair: Water Damaged Area Cut Out

Drywall Ceiling Repair: Water Damaged Area Cut Out

Drywall Ceiling Repair Panel Bracing

A 9in x 4in x 1/2in plywood brace board is installed on the right side of the hole to provide a hard point to fasten the drywall repair panel with screws:

Drywall Ceiling Repair: 1/2 inch Plywood Brace Board

Drywall Ceiling Repair: 1/2 inch Plywood Brace Board

The plywood brace is attached to the ceiling using 1-1/4″ drywall screws and the drywall screw setter bit. I allowed for a generous ~2 inch overlap into the hole to attach the ceiling repair panel.

Drywall Ceiling Repair: Fasten the Support Block with Drywall Screws

Drywall Ceiling Repair: Fasten the Support Block with Drywall Screws

The drywall screw setter is a Philips driver set inside a collar. This automatically sets the drywall screw at the proper depth without tearing through the paper face of the drywall. The countersunk screw can then be covered with joint compound for a perfectly smooth finish.

Drywall Screw Setter Drill Bit

Drywall Screw Setter Drill Bit

Plywood backer brace fastened with two screws. I started to set a 3rd screw in the metal runner and realized the screw head would protrude and prevent the repair panel to not sit flush with the ceiling. The two screws were plenty for the task:

Drywall Ceiling Repair: Plywood Brace and Metal Runners

Drywall Ceiling Repair: Plywood Brace and Metal Runners

SHEETROCK Brand Drywall Repair Clips

Home improvement and hardware stores sell SHEETROCK Brand Repair Clips – these are metal clips that are fit over the edges of the drywall hole to fasten a repair panel with screws. The SHEETROCK clips could be used in place of a wood brace and appear to be structurally sound, avoiding the sagging problem of the self-adhesive metal mesh patches.

This repair is continued in How to Repair Drywall Ceiling Water Damage – Part 3.

Take care,

Bob Jackson

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4 Responses to How to Repair Drywall Ceiling Water Damage – Part 2

  1. Sandra Williams October 28, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

    I am repairing a water leak ceiling in my bedroom. House built 1953, 5/8″ drywall that’s been repaired before. Old loose insulation plus new blow-in insulation above. Wood joists. Popcorn ceiling.

    I cut a small 5″x3.5″ hole – so much fine dust and prickly, coarse dust! — it is not vermiculite insulation, but an old fibrous insulation, maybe 1/4″ layer. The new is more treated, cotton-like material. Outer edge of a hip roof.

    How do I handle the insulation mess to find and toe-in cross pieces between joists to screw the dry wall to? Just plastic sheeting, masks, goggles, gloves, etc? Then how to replace insulation? Buy the rolled stuff and fill in before I screw in the new drywall? I’m 67 yrs old, and daughter of a carpenter, but haven’t tried this before. Thanks.

    • Bob Jackson October 28, 2011 at 6:53 pm #

      > it is not vermiculite insulation, but an old fibrous insulation
      It’s probably “rock wool” insulation.

      > How do I handle the insulation mess to find and toe-in cross pieces between joists to screw the dry wall to?
      Do it the same way as building the 2×4 box for an air vent boot as shown in this project. Yes – a face mask, goggles and gloves are recommended.

      I would replace the insulation with pink fiberglass – you can but it in rolls, batts or loose-fill bags as best suits your needs.

      The home improvement stores sell spray cans of ceiling popcorn texture to help blend in the ceiling drywall repair.

  2. HOMENEWBIE July 27, 2016 at 12:10 pm #

    You did not include steps to follow to replace insulation, how to attach the new poly moisture barrier. Do you just staple it? What do you do where the new poly meets the old poly…do you tape or caulk it with something to preserve the continuous plastic? I have workmen who were just going to replace the drywall until I noticed the insulation was also ruined, and I want to be sure they do it properly.

    • Bob Jackson July 27, 2016 at 6:44 pm #

      You must’ve had a leak in the attic where my project was about repairing a uninsulated ceiling in the finished basement.

      Use construction seaming tape to repair the polyethylene sheet vapor barrier. Cut a new section of poly sheet if needed, then seal the seams with tape. Replace the water damaged fiberglass insulation with unfaced batts of the same R-value (thickness).

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