Helping You Protect Your Home

How Do You Fix a Drywall Ceiling That's Sagging Because of Water Damage?

by Bernice Stanley

When a leak causes water to accumulate above a drywall ceiling, it will begin to sag. Drywall is porous, so it will absorb water. As it absorbs water, it becomes heavier, and the weight of the water-saturated drywall causes it to sag. A sagging drywall ceiling is a serious problem, since it will eventually collapse if the drywall continues to absorb water. If you notice that your drywall ceiling is sagging, you need to find and fix the leak as soon as possible. To learn more about how to fix a water-damaged drywall ceiling that's sagging, read on.

Cut Away the Sagging Ceiling and Let the Space Above Dry Out

You need to cut away the sagging portion of your ceiling so that the area above can begin drying out. Place a plastic tarp on the floor underneath the sagging area along with a few buckets. Pierce the sagging area using a screwdriver and place a bucket under the hole. If there's a large amount of water trapped above the drywall, you'll need to switch out the buckets as they fill up.

Once all the water has been drained from above the drywall, cut out a square or rectangular piece of drywall around the sagging area using a box cutter. This will let the whole area dry out. You can speed up the drying process by renting a high-powered fan from a hardware store and pointing it at the exposed hole in your ceiling. You can speed it up even more by renting a dehumidifier and placing it in the room below.

Find the Leak and Fix It

After you cut the ceiling away, you'll need to find out where the water's coming from and stop the leak — it's pointless to replace the drywall until you're sure it won't be damaged by water again.

The area where you should look for the leak depends on what's above the sagging ceiling. If it's on the top floor of your home, check your attic for leaks. Look for wet insulation on the attic floor in order to help you spot the leak. You'll also need to bag up any wet insulation and throw it away, since it will attract pests and lead to mold growing in your attic. Water in your attic most likely means that your roof is leaking, and you'll need to have it repaired in order to prevent further water damage to your home.

If the sagging ceiling isn't on the top floor of your home, start checking the plumbing fixtures in your home. A leak at the base of your toilet, for example, can lead to the ceiling underneath of the bathroom sagging due to water damage. You should also inspect the exposed hole in the ceiling you cut away to see if there are any pipes leaking there. You'll need to call a plumber to have a leaking pipe or plumbing fixture repaired.

Repair Your Ceiling

Once the leak has been fixed, you can replace the cut-out drywall in your ceiling. Purchase some drywall from a home improvement store along with some tape, drywall mud, and paint that matches the color of your ceiling. Measure the exposed hole in your ceiling, and then cut out a section of drywall matching those dimensions using a box cutter.

Insert the drywall piece into the exposed hole and tape it into place. Next, you'll need to apply drywall mud over the tape in order to make it blend in with the rest of your drywall. Afterward, paint the repaired section so that it matches the color of the rest of your ceiling. Using very light strokes with a paintbrush will help it blend in better.

If you don't feel confident opening up your ceiling to drain the water or if you can't find the leak, call a water damage restoration service as soon as you can. You need to fix a sagging ceiling and dry it out quickly since water-saturated drywall can lead to mold growth. Getting rid of mold is an expensive and lengthy process, so drying out everything as soon as possible is vital. A water damage restoration service will be able to dry out the affected area quickly along with finding and fixing the leak to prevent further water damage.