Repairing a Ceiling

Summary: What to do when you have put your foot through the ceiling! Advice on repairing a ceiling and mending holes in plaster ceilings.

Don't want to do this job yourself? Let us help you find a tradesman local to you

Repairing a ceiling seems to be one of the main tasks out there these days! (See also our project on repairing holes in plasterboard walls). Perhaps its because more and more people are looking at converting their lofts or maybe that we all have too much junk we need to store it in the loft, but it seems quite a few people every week are putting a least one of their feet through the bedroom ceiling.

The frustrating thing about repairing a ceiling, be it mending holes in plaster ceilings or lath and plaster ceilings, you always have to make the hole bigger before you can repair it.

This method can also be used for inserting a new timber into a ceiling for screwing a light fitting to if required.

Check For Wires And Pipes In The Ceiling

The very first thing to do is to check the immediate area for cables and pipes. Its no good hammering and sawing away to mend a ceiling if you are going to chop through an electrical wire or water pipe and cause a short circuit or leak in the process. To detect any wires or pipes you will need a hand held metal detector. This will not only show you where pipes and cables may be buried but it will also locate the exact position of the joists and studs.

Cut Ceiling Back To Nearest Ceiling Joist

To insert a new piece of plasterboard into a ceiling it's important to cut the existing ceiling back to the nearest joist. If this is too difficult an easier way is to insert a timber noggin above the place where the new joint or piece of plasterboard will be. The existing ceiling needs to be cut off square first and the edge of the existing ceiling, together with the edge of the new plasterboard, need to meet in the centre of the joist or new noggin. You can then be sure the joint is stable and will not crack when the new skim plaster is applied.

Enlarge the existing hole to find the ceiling joists

Enlarge the existing hole to find the ceiling joists

If the hole you have made is quite small, look to the base of this page for our projects on repairing holes in plasterboard and repairing lath and plaster. You will also need to see our project on skim plastering mantioned above. The images above and below show what to do to repair a fairly large hole in a ceiling.

Widen The Hole And Cut Ceiling Back

In the image above you can see the hole is being widened to find the joists. In this instance the hole was made specifically to insert a timber for screwing a new light fitting onto. The same method would be used to mend a hole. Widen the hole until you have found the next joist and cut the existing ceiling off square to it and in the centre of it. Now screw (do not nail) the existing ceiling to that joist.

Insert Noggin Into Ceiling Under Joint In New Plasterboard

The image below shows we have inserted a noggin under the joint in the new plasterboard. This was to enable us to put in a "last minute" light fitting for the client. The same process can be used for mending a hole. Just make sure any new timbers are directly over the joint so you can screw both sides of the joint to the timber.

Hole in ceiling ready for repair

Hole in ceiling ready for repair

Why not take a look at our video sections on repairing holes in ceiling and suspended ceilings to watch films on ceiling installation and repair.

Don't fancy doing this project yourself? We work with Checkatrade to ensure that we recommend only reliable and trustworthy tradesmen.

All project content written and produced by

Project Feedback