How to Repair a Bathroom Ceiling

Updated February 21, 2017

Bathroom ceilings can develop problems because of constant moisture. Leakage from another bathroom above also may occur. This can lead to mould, peeling paint, staining, discolourations and odour. You may not have to treat or repaint the entire ceiling if only a small section is damaged. Repairing the ceiling immediately will help prevent further damage. A few of the right tools and a small amount of time will get your bathroom ceiling looking like new again.

Set up a ladder and inspect the damage closely. Black or green speckles or spots indicate mould. Peeling paint means a moisture problem. Softened areas of the ceiling sheetrock may mean a leak coming from above.

Slide a putty knife held at a 30-degree angle across the surface of the ceiling to dislodge loose chips if peeling paint is a problem. Scrape so that the edges blend well with the surface. Sand lightly.

Apply wallboard compound if necessary to blend the scraped area to a level surface, using a putty knife. Sand lightly between coats to level high spots. Allow to dry thoroughly.

Wash a mildewed bathroom ceiling with a strong solution of 1/4 cup trisodium phosphate to 1 gallon of water, then swab with chlorine bleach and allow to soak for an hour or two.

Roll on stain-killing primer and allow to dry.

Repaint the ceiling with a mildew-resistant latex paint.


Chronic mould and mildew problems on a ceiling are usually caused by inadequate airflow in the bathroom. Keep bathroom doors open after baths and showers or install an exhaust fan connected to the outdoors. If holes or softened areas are a problem, cut around the edges with a utility knife, then replace the damaged area. Apply joint compound along the seams and tape with drywall tape while still wet. Smooth the tape with a putty knife. Apply a second coat of joint compound and sand smooth. Allow to dry thoroughly, then prime and paint. To repair a textured ceiling, mix joint compound with latex paint and apply with a textured roller, using short strokes.


Keep bleach solution from dripping into eyes and on skin. Wear goggles, gloves and protection for your clothing. You must repair the leak coming from above to keep the bathroom ceiling from becoming damaged again.

Things You'll Need

  • Utility knife
  • Putty knife
  • Drywall joint compound
  • Sandpaper
  • Stain-killing primer
  • Anti-mildew paint
  • Roller
  • Ladder
  • Bleach
  • Trisodium phosphate
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author