How To Fix a Hole In the Ceiling

Answered by Brett ~ October 28, 2010 ~ Comments

We have a hole in our living room ceiling caused by a leak in the bathroom above it. How do we cut that part out, fix the leak, the put up the new ceiling area without it looking like there was work on it?

Kelly ~ Loganville, Georgia

Brett Kulina

Kelly, the first thing that you need to do is figure out where the water leak is coming from, keeping in mind that it may not be directly over the hole that has appeared in your home's ceiling. Chances are that the leaking water is running along a pipe within your home's ceiling cavity until it reaches a low point, at which time it starts to drip, creating the hole that you have discovered.

The best way to go about your investigation is to remove a small portion(about 12" x 12") of the sheet rock that surrounds the hole in your ceiling. You can use a utility knife or a hand held sheet rock saw. Once you do this, you should be able to get a better look at where the water is coming from. If you discover a 2-inch PVC waste line above the hole, then you will probably have to keep the water running in the bathroom above in order to get the pipe to drip water. If instead you discover a copper or Pex water-supply line, which would be approximately 1/2-inch in diameter, then chances are it will be continually leaking water and very easy to detect.

If you can see the origin of the leaking water, then all you need to do is fix it or hire a plumber to complete the repair for you. On the other hand, if it seems that the water is simply running along the pipe, but originates somewhere else, then you will have to remove some more sheet rock to get to the root of the problem. Use a flashlight to get a good look at the pipe, and try to estimate where the leak is occurring, as this can save you from having to cut out lots of sheet rock from your ceiling(although sometimes this is the only way to get the job done!)

Once the source of the leak is found and repaired, you will have to patch the hole in the ceiling. I would wait a few days to do this, just in case the leak starts again. Also, if you have removed a large portion of the ceiling to get to the leak, then you may want to hire a contractor to patch the ceiling for you. Taping and texturing sheet rock can be tricky, and you don't want the sheet rock repair to be noticeable at all. If the needed sheet rock patch is small, then you may be able to do the repair yourself using a patch kit that is available at your local hardware store or home improvement warehouse. Good luck and I hope you can get that leak to stop!

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