How To Repair Textured Ceilings • Craving Some Creativity

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DO protect the walls and floor

Wet drywall compound has a way of dripping everywhere when you’re working overhead, so take steps to protect walls, the floor, and any other items in the room. Lay down a canvas tarp on the floor (plastic drop cloths can become wet and dangerously slippery), and cover any furniture with lightweight plastic drop cloths to avoid ruining them. If the ceiling crack is near a wall, consider covering the wall with a plastic drop cloth to keep splatters off.


Step 2: Identifying the Source of the Water

It can be hard to find the source if the water travels far from the source of the leak and ends up in an unexpected place. However, keep in mind that ceiling leaks generally start from one of two places: the roof or plumbing. Water damage that is directly below an attic or roof, the culprit could be a leaky roof that’s been damaged by hail or an ice dam, or an issue with your chimney, caused by storm damage or age. Clogged gutters can also cause water issues near your roof line. Watch for these other signs to suspect to roof:

  • The ceiling appears wet during or soon after rainfall
  • Insulation is wet in the attic
  • The water is brown (it’s bringing dirt with it)

If you have a two-story home, water on a first-floor ceiling is most likely coming from a frozen, burst pipe or other plumbing issue upstairs. If the water damage is below plumbing pipes, such as a bathroom or kitchen, watch for these other signs:

  • There is no weather event
  • The leak is steady
  • The water is clear

In any case, a property restoration professional can assess your situation to identify the source of the water and find a permanent solution, before you undertake any cosmetic repairs.

Whole Wall Cover-Up

Some walls are so bad that the best fix is to tear them out and install new drywall. Wall liner is the next-best fix. It’s basically extra-thick, paintable wallpaper that acts as a big patch over the whole wall. Some versions are smooth; some have a textured or patterned surface. Fill cracks and holes with joint compound, prime the patches and then hang the liner just like wallpaper.

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Mini Texture Gun

We’ve had some good results using texture from aerosol spray cans—and some disasters. The texture blasts out fast and heavy. One wrong move and you’ve got an over-textured mess. This little hand-pump gun is much easier to control. It spits out just a little texture with each blast. So you can spray on a light texture, then add more until it looks right. Still, it’s best to practice on some cardboard first. Also have a bucket and sponge handy in case you need to wipe away a misfire and start over. We got good results matching orange peel, splatter and knockdown textures, but lousy results with popcorn ceiling texture.

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Step 4: Prime and Paint

Apply with a large paintbrush or roller applicator. Make sure you cover the entire surface of the wall.


Open windows to make sure you prime and paint in a well-ventilated area.

Pour True Value EasyCare® Ultra Premium Interior Paint into a paint tray and coat your roller or paintbrush. Paint widthwise in 6-ft. square sections, using a zigzag pattern of overlapping “W” strokes. Move from right to left, then left to right, spreading evenly with vertical strokes.

To ensure even coverage, use light strokes to re-roll across the ceiling and paint from the bottom to the top of each wall. If your paint has a flat finish, you don’t need to blend. Otherwise, to blend, paint over the entire surface (for very large areas, do two square sections at a time) with one-directional, overlapping, non-diagonal strokes once again.

Using a small, angular paintbrush, do wall brushwork in areas where your roller can’t reach, like the corners and next to doors, windows and molding.

If necessary, apply a second coat of paint using the same technique as the first. You don’t have to let the paint completely dry between coats, but your results will be better the longer you wait.

5. Prime and Paint

After finally completing the repairs, open the windows to provide ventilation for the priming and painting process. If the whole ceiling was not damaged, it’s still critical to prime and paint the entire ceiling to ensure an even finish.

Start by priming the ceiling and allowing it to dry. An important note is that you don’t have to wait to paint in between coats, but doing so will ensure better results. Once completed, you can then paint the entirety of the ceiling. 

However, if the whole priming and painting process seems like a drag, call the professionals

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take To Replace A Ceiling?

Minor drywall ceiling repairs take 1 to 3 hours at a rate of $50 to $100 per hour. Replacing a drywall ceiling takes 1 to 3 days for major repairs such as water damage, large holes, or bulging seams.

How Much Does It Cost To Install A Drywall Ceiling?

The average cost to drywall a ceiling is $2 to $3 per square foot. Constructing new drywall ceilings with framing and insulation costs $3.50 to $4.50 per square foot. Additional costs may include old drywall demolition, new furring strips, replacing insulation, and painting.

Still have questions? Ask a ceiling pro. View Pros

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Address Foundation Settlement and Foundation Heave

It is absolutely critical to address foundation settlement and foundation heave prior to fixing ceiling cracks. To do otherwise is to waste your money and your time. We’ve heard many horror stories of homeowners patch-&-painting ceiling cracks for year after year to no avail. The cracks return and bring more with them.


Because the root of the problem has not been addressed: settlement and/or heave.

Foundation settlement is when a foundation sinks into incompetent, non-loadbearing soil (also referred to as expansive soil, typically clay or loam soil). Foundation heave is when a foundation is pushed upward by expansive soil, generally when the water table is high.

In our experience, there’s generally a 90:10 split between settling and heave. Settling is far more common. 

Both foundation settlement and foundation heave can wreak havoc on your foundation. Your home’s foundation was designed to remain flat, remain level, and sustain your home’s load. Settlement and heave throw your foundation off-balance, literally.

This can result in sloped floors, out of square window/door frames, cracked walls, and cracked ceilings. Unfortunately, patch-&-painting drywall cracks doesn’t return your home’s foundation back to level. Your foundation will continue to sink or bubble upward, remaining off-kilter no matter how much putty you use.

The best ways currently available on the market to return your home back to level are push pier foundation repair, helical pier foundation repair, and polyurethane deep injection.

Both push pier and helical pier systems act as underground stilt systems, the piers grounded into bedrock or competent, load-bearing soil to keep your home secure.

Polyurethane deep injection is a foam that is pumped beneath your foundation. This foam expands and solidifies, densifying the weak soil directly underneath your foundation.

Often, polyurethane is used in conjunction with steel pier systems, so foundation repair customers receive the best of both worlds.

Push piers and helical piers allow for the home to be lifted back to maximum practical recovery (the optimal amount of lift). In the foundation repair world, there is no such thing as “full recovery” or returning the home to its exact previous position.

However, once the home has been secured and returned to level, you probably won’t be able to tell the home was not quite as high as it once was. In addition, this is when you can finally patch-&-paint your ceiling cracks.

It’s important to wait to address the ceiling cracks because if they’ve been patched previously, the mud, caulk, or whatever filler you used is pushed back out during the lift. This is because the natural fissure created by the settlement is being closed once again. Thus, the filler material is displaced.

Enjoy a Crack Free Ceiling

In this article, you learned about the primary causes of ceiling cracks: leaks, water damage, high humidity, bad drywall tape jobs, and foundation issues.

You also learned that foundation repair is not a DIY and of the primary forms of foundation repair: push pier, helical pier, and polyurethane. Finally, we covered six basic steps to patching your ceiling cracks yourself.

Not sure what exactly is causing your ceiling cracks? Book a free foundation inspection to have a foundation repair expert examine your property and determine whether your cracks are from foundation issues or something else. We’ve repaired thousands of foundations across Southern California and Arizona – we can help you pinpoint your problem.

To learn what to expect during one of these foundation repair inspections, read our article How Long Does a Foundation Inspection Take & What Can Add Time.

If you haven’t had a foundation inspection yet, click our link below for a FREE inspection in our operating areas of SoCal and Arizona –

2. Dry Out Damaged Areas  

Before removing the damaged drywall, you have to dry out the affected areas. Place down a drop cloth or tarp to protect the floor and catch any dust and debris created when removing the damaged drywall. If the ceiling’s drywall has a bulging area, puncture it to release the water and have a bucket in place to catch all the water.

Take the time to ensure that all areas are completely dry — above and below. 

DONT skip other ceiling updates

DONT skip other ceiling updates

Once the ceiling repair is complete and the ceiling texture has been patched, a dated light fixture or a rusty return-air vent can mar the new look. Consider replacing an old light fixture with a new one, and replace an old vent—or at least clean it and give it a fresh coat of paint—to give the whole room a fresh new look.

Get a pro to do it for youReceive free, no-commitment estimates from licensed contractors near you. Find local pros ++


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