Recently, a customer called me to repair a dinner plate-sized patch of flaking drywall and paint on their kitchen ceiling. It looked like it could have been caused by a minor water leak from above.
I went upstairs to investigate the possible source of the leak. A common mistake many people make is to assume the leak has stopped because the damaged surface appears dry. However, if the cause of the leak – even a very small one – isn’t effectively addressed, the ceiling will continue to sustain further staining and internal damage, even after the surface is patched. This only ends up postponing a more costly repair.
The problem, in this case, was a slow leak coming from a newly mounted reverse-osmosis watermaker faucet adaptor on the bathroom sink above. Additionally, there was also a minor leak around the faucet-to-sink seal. The customer decided to simplyremove the adaptor to eliminate the risk of any future trouble in this area.
The required repair to the ceiling was a simple one. Once the area was thoroughly dry, I re-inspected the sink, water pipes, and entry points from above to satisfy myself that there was no more water leaking through.
Carefully, I cut and peeled away the damaged drywall, controlling the fallout mess by holding a tray with one hand while I cut and peeled with the other. I cut the taped joint and removed the paper tape from the area, together with the crumbling joint compound.
Next, I used a new piece of paper tape and my favourite low-dusting mud (joint compound) to patch and fill the hole. I applied the compound as evenly and smoothly as possible for easy sanding in the next step.
I allowed the area to dry thoroughly before sanding it smooth. The trick in sanding is to go easy, with light circular motions, using medium grit paper. This minimizes what could be an explosion of dust and a huge mess to clean up. Usually, it takes about three rounds of patching and progressively finer sanding to make the patch vanish.
Once dry, I sealed the area with a good-quality primer. For perfect results, I freshened the entire ceiling with a new coat of paint.
Once finished, the customer wasn’t even able to identify the area I repaired: yet one more example of how this technique has produced consistently great results over the years.