How to Repair a Water Damaged Ceiling

Updated April 17, 2017

A leaking roof can quickly become much more than a small inconvenience. Even after the roof is repaired, the aftermath can rot the drywall on your ceiling, stimulate mould growth, or just leave you with a nasty brown stain on your ceiling. One solution is to completely replace the damaged drywall. However, this might prove to be too costly and time-consuming for the average homeowner to take on as a simple do-it-yourself project. Luckily, there is another solution. The following tips will help you repair a water damaged ceiling quickly and without help from costly professionals.

Repair the roof to stop the leak.

Spray the damaged area with a mixture of 1 part bleach to 2 parts water in a spray bottle. This will kill any mould that is present as well as start the process of removing the water stain. Be sure to keep the area extremely well ventilated to prevent asphyxiation.

Allow the area to dry completely.

Spray regular hairspray over the damaged area after it is dry to help seal the stain.

Use a high powered primer with stain-blocker to paint over the water stains. This will further seal the ceiling as well as cover the unsightly brown stains. You can find it at your local hardware or paint store.

Cut the damaged drywall out to reveal the joists. If the damage is too severe, it may be necessary to replace it with new drywall. The first step is to remove the water damaged sheetrock. Be sure to locate any wires that may be in the ceiling before making any cuts.

Hang new drywall on the ceiling using screws or sheetrock nails to attach it to the joists and hold it in place. Be sure to measure accurately before using a utility knife or drywall saw to cut your sheetrock to size. Make sure to replace any insulation you removed before securing the new drywall into place.

Apply a thin layer of joint compound or mud to cover the screws or sheetrock nails as well as the joints.

Put a piece of drywall tape over the area you applied the joint compound to. Now put another thin layer of “mud” over the tape. This is commonly referred to as mudding and taping. Use a drywall knife to ensure the mud is smooth.

Sand the mud to make it smooth. Now you are ready to texturise and/or paint the ceiling. You did it. No more water damage!


Replacing the drywall may require help from a professional. It is not a small and simple task.

Things You'll Need

  • Bleach
  • Spray bottle
  • Hairspray
  • Stain-blocking primer
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About the Author

Heather Orr has been a professional writer since 2004. She has numerous articles published by several different online media sources, as well as a book of original poetry titled "Walk of LIfe." She also works with private clients on a variety of writing and marketing projects. Orr holds certifications from the University of Arkansas Global Campus in Web Design and SEO Content Writing.