If you find yourself in the position of having to deal with a hole in your ceiling’s plaster, whether due to age or accident, there’s no need to panic. With just a little knowledge and the correct repair tools, anyone can plaster a hole in their ceiling and achieve professional-looking results.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Dust sheets
- Safety goggles
- Measuring Tape
- Utility knife
- Drywall saw
- Ladder with a tool ledge
- Framing square
- Portable drill
- Piece of drywall
- Drywall screws and tape
- Hammer and masonry chisel
- Joint compound
- Finishing plaster
- Small paintbrush
- Spray-on texture
Place dust sheets on the floor and any furniture that is not being removed from the room. Draw a square or rectangle, using the framing square, around the edges of the damaged area. Score your marked lines with the utility knife. You may need to go over them a few times to get a good score. Place several strips of tape outside your scored lines to prevent the surrounding plaster from crumbling when you cut it. Overlap the strips until you have 2 to 3 inches of tape around the square. Use a hammer and chisel to tap along your scored lines and remove the damaged section.
Anchor the patch directly to the underlying wood. If your ceiling has a wire backing, extend the area that you’re removing so that two ceiling joists, the studs in the ceiling framing, are exposed. Connect the patch to these joists. Cut a patch of drywall that measures ¼-inch shorter and narrower than the hole. Example: if the hole is 16 by 4 inches, the patch should be 15 ¾ by x 3 ¾. Place the patch over the aperture (opening) and make sure it sits level with the rest of the ceiling. Sand or cut away splinters, burrs or rough areas around the patch and wall opening.
Secure the patch with drywall screws, each about 4 inches apart. If installing over mesh, insert the screws directly into the joists. Brush away any dust or debris. Cover the joints with tape. If the tape buckles, remove it and cover the area with a fresh piece so that it will lay flat. Use a putty knife to smooth on a layer of plaster and allow this area to dry. Use sandpaper to smooth any ridges.
Apply another thin layer of plaster and blend into the surrounding area. The small paintbrush will help you do this well. Sand again. Repeat as needed until the patch is unnoticeable. Once you are pleased with the result, prime and paint. If you have a textured ceiling, finish by applying the spray-on compound.
Vacuum your work area.
Tips and warnings
- If the drywall patch is thinner than the surrounding ceiling, shim the area behind the patch with wood or asphalt shingles until it is level. Attach the shims to the studs and mount the patch over them. If it’s easier, you can opt instead to attach the shim to the backside of the patch.
- Before using the spray-on compound for a textured ceiling, practice by trying it on a down-facing board or large piece of cardboard. You can even attach it to the ceiling for the most accurate practice model.
- Due to the nature of this type of repair, anyone having current or previous problems with their neck or upper back should have someone else repair their ceiling. This activity necessitates bending the neck backwards for an extended period, which can result in a tired and aching neck in even strong and healthy individuals.
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