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Question DetailsAsked on 10/21/2017

Must a sagging sheetrock ceiling be replaced or can I stabalize it without removing and replacing it?

WE are enclosing our garage and making it a bedroom. This is an old sheetrock ceiling with previous water stains and it is sagging. Some of the old popcorn stipple was coming off, so I scraped and removed most of the rest of it. When I did the sheetrock tape came down also. Now, I either have to take off all the sheetrock ceiling and replace, stipple, and repaint, or is there a way to nail up beams or wooden strips onto the ceiling to keep it from eventually falling? I just want to do the cheapest and fastest and most simple. Any advice? Need answer asap. Thanks.

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1 Answer


If it is deteriorated or swollen - or cracks apart when you put a new screw into it, or a significant portion is stained indicating it was pretty much all saturated in the past, it should come down - especially if there is living space above because it will not have the fire rating it should.

If just a few water stains, and you can put in new screws into the overlying joists/trusses and they hold well (drywall does not crack apart during installation and they meet significant resistance rather than just mushing into the drywall) then I would just put in replacement screws (or drywall nails if into that, but a lot harder on arms and back), assuming that all the existing ones are useless - so put in full pattern like you would with new drywall, starting at the middle of sheets and working out to the edges.

both nail and screw spacing requirements - you would have to figure out the thickness of the drywall at a ceiling light ficture or such.

This assumes the drywall is just sagging a bit on the screws. If you have longitudinal sagging or "beer bellying" just between the joists (either due to excessive wetting softening it and letting it sag, or someone used drywall not rated for the ceiling joist span you have), so it looks like a series of parallel waves, then I guess you could put a grid or strips of say 1x4 or 1x6's (or larger if you want beam look) crosswise to the joists under the drywall (in some areas not legal to put combustibles directly against ceiling drywall if there is living space above so check with local code official). These would act as splints to push the sags upward - but if there is living space above I would not do that because the sags will be cracked and have less fire resistance once they are pushed back up.

And of course, you need to use drywall compound to fill the joints when done, then retape and fill the screw/nail holes, etc.

BTW - assuming you knocked the spikes off the stippling, generally that is a low-value finish these days and a detriment to resale in many areas. You could just, assuming you arer down to just a wavy surface without the spikes, just use a knockdown finish (google for images of - easier to apply though it does use more texturing compound/drywall compound.

BTW - above assumes this is a DIY job - if being professionally done almost certainly cheaper all around to just take it down and put up new - which will almost certainly also end up looking better.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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