5 Quick Steps to Patch Water Damage in Your Ceiling

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: February 13, 2024

Water: it’s relaxing, beautiful, and peaceful to be around.

When it meets your home’s drywall and other surfaces, though, it can cause a significant problem. Suddenly, you’re faced with learning how to repair a water damaged wall or roof.

In some cases, severe water damage can cause your wallboard to collapse and disintegrate, leading to extensive destruction.

Luckily, you’re not the only one wondering how to patch a ceiling from water damage. What’s more, you can take proactive steps to address and repair the water damage in your home, without breaking the bank in the process.

Here’s what you need to know.

How to Patch a Ceiling From Water Damage: 5 Fast Steps

patch water damaged ceiling

Regardless of where your water damage came from or how severe it is, these steps will allow you to resolve and repair water damage quickly and thoroughly:

Step 1: Locate the Leak

First things first, you’ve got to stop the leak. In some cases, the cause of the leak is apparent – a burst pipe, the upstairs condo, an upstairs toilet overflow, or a faulty dishwasher. In other cases, the leak will be hidden and difficult to find. This is common with leaking ceilings.

Remember that water can travel a long distance from the original leak, and often causes damage in places you might not expect it.

In these cases, you will have to do some careful investigating to find the leak and may need to call in a plumber to help you. If you must, remove damaged drywall during this step, so you can identify the source of the leak and take steps to stop it.

source of leaky roof

If you notice mold in the drywall as you remove it (which is common if the leak has been active for a long time), contact a team of professionals to help you remediate the mold and remove the drywall without contaminating the rest of your home.

Step 2: Remove The Damaged Drywall

Removing damaged drywall is an essential part of leak repair, although when you do it depends on the severity of the leak. If you can’t find the leak, you may remove drywall early on. If you’ve been able to identify the source of the leak, you’ll wait until you’ve located and stopped it before removing the affected drywall.

Here’s how to do it:

Lay a drop cloth on the ground to catch drywall pieces, debris, and dust. This makes cleanup easier and protects your floors and textiles from the mess.

To remove the drywall, use a claw head hammer or sledgehammer to punch a hole and pull the drywall through. If the drywall is very wet, it may disintegrate at the touch and will sag from the framing.

If the water leak was small, you might be able to cut out the affected area of drywall with a keyhole saw and patch it, instead of removing a large piece.

If you’re not familiar with the process of removing drywall, here’s a video that lays out the steps:

If you have a space of wet drywall that’s not damaged enough to necessitate removal, check out our recent post on how to dry it, instead.

Step 3: Make Your Repairs

If you’re patching the drywall, measure the area that needs to be patched and cut your replacement drywall. If the patch isn’t perfect after measuring, use a utility knife to cut it to size after the fact.

Be sure to measure twice and cut once as you create your patch. Not only will this save you time, but it will also prevent you from wasting materials during the patchwork and repair process.

Step 4: Prime and Paint the Area

Now that you’ve removed the wet drywall and added a patch, it’s time to prime and paint the wall.

The first step is to prime the wall. Choose an interior primer and sealer and, with a large paint brush, cover the entire surface of the wall.

Next, pick your paint color and apply it with a large roller or brush, using a zigzag pattern of overlapping “W” strokes.

Allow the first coat to dry, and apply a second coat of paint if needed.

Step 5: Clean up the Area

To complete the project, clean up the area. Start by removing any remaining wet drywall and using a shop vac to pick up wet and dry debris. Dispose of used supplies like paint cans and drop cloths.

If the area smells like paint, open a window or bring in a fan to help it vent out.

Know When to Call the Professionals

ceiling water damage repair contractor
Let a ceiling water damage repair contractor take care of the work, if it’s too hard to DIY.

While water damage in your ceilings or drywall is no fun, these five simple steps can help you fix it quickly and thoroughly. As you work through your DIY project, remember that some water damage is too extensive to fix all by yourself.

If you’re in the Chicago area and you need additional help or want an extra set of eyes to evaluate the damage,  contact us for ceiling water damage repair services: 773-647-1985

How do I cover a water-damaged ceiling?

Most water-damaged ceilings can be patched and covered with drywall by following our DIY guidelines. If you’re replacing ceiling tiles, take an old tile to the home improvement center so that you can match your ceiling’s pattern.

 Is it OK to just paint over a water-damaged ceiling?

If ceiling damage is limited to stains and there aren’t any signs of mold, you can usually paint over affected sections. Seal the area with a stain-blocking primer, and paint to match the original ceiling color.

 How much does it cost to repair a water-damaged ceiling?

Homeowners insurance usually covers this type of water damage. Expect to pay between $45 and $55 per square foot for water-damaged ceiling repair. Add in the cost of leak repair and any necessary mold remediation services.