Fixing a Hole in the Ceiling
Jim, who’s calling from work. Don’t get in trouble. He’s in Texas. Are you his boss? Jim, quick, so you don’t get in trouble. What can we do?
JIM: Let’s see. I’ve got a hole in my roof and I was kind of – well not in my roof but in my ceiling.
JIM: And I was kind of wondering how I would go about that to patch that?
TOM: How big is the hole?
JIM: Um, let’s see. Probably two by – two by four.
TOM: Two feet by four feet?
TOM: OK. Well, when – was this hole cut out or did it occur like around where there are ceiling joists above it?
JIM: Yeah. Well, my roommate fell through the roof when we were trying to …
TOM: Oh, no! (laughing)
JIM: He was kind of hanging there and his feet were hanging down. I’m like, “Oh, no.”
TOM: Oh, man. Alright, well here’s what you want to do.
LESLIE: Now, that’s the real story.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. (chuckling) Here’s what you want to do. First thing you’ve got to do is you’ve got to sort of square off this hole so you can patch it properly. So, you want to locate where the ceiling joists are …
LESLIE: Yeah, because cutting a patch in the shape of your roommate’s feet – not easy to do. (laughing)
TOM: Yeah, it would have the oddest like spackle trunk (ph) you’ve ever seen in your life. (laughter)
JIM: Right. (chuckling)
TOM: Yeah, there’s two size 12s up there, you know? (laughter) You want to square it off and you want to make sure, if you can help it, that wherever you cut the drywall, that you’re like halfway on, halfway off the ceiling joist. Because this gives you like a lip to nail to. Alright, so you square this off, then you cut a piece of drywall to fix exactly that space.
TOM: Nail it up and then take fiberglass spackle tape – it’s the kind that’s perforated. It’s very – it’s really the easiest one you can use. You apply the tape – it’s sticky – nice and neat over the seams and then you follow up with spackle. Now, when it comes to spackling, more coats the better. Right, Leslie?
LESLIE: That’s true. If you were working with a paper tape it would be mud, tape, mud, tape, mud, tape. But if you’re working with the fiberglass one – which we love – you know, put a good layer on, let it dry, sand it down, put another layer on, let it dry, sand it down until you’re happy with its consistency and it looks smooth and it’s hiding that seam.
And a little trick of the trade, Keith (ph), is to start with a small spackle knife and work out. So apply it with, say, a four-inch knife; then use a six-inch knife; and then an eight-inch knife. And by the way, you can buy very cheap disposable plastic spackle knives in any home center. So you don’t have to spend a lot of money on tools that you …
LESLIE: Or you can just hit your spackle knife with your orbital sander and it’ll be good like new again. But hold on tight.
TOM: Jim, next time, keep your roommate off the roof, will you?
JIM: (chuckling) Not a problem.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.