Fixing a bowing ceiling

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by paulsiu, Jun 21, 2009.

  1. paulsiu

    paulsiu Member

    Jun 18, 2009
    Itasca, IL
    My mom employed a neighborhood handyman to fix her roof. This was a very bad idea. It rained really hard one day and water started dripping down the ceiling.

    I managed to located a decent roofer who examined the roof and said it was in bad shape, but nothing was rotten. He fixed the roof and replaced all of the gutter, but the ceiling is still messed up. I have enclosed attachments for the damaged part of the ceiling and the healthy part (ignore the flaking wallpaper, that is another project).

    Basically, the ceiling is bowing heavily in one large area, compared to the undamaged section. What should I do to repair it? I never did dry wall, but did some research. The dry walls are panels that are attached to the wooden beams. What's involved with this sort of repair, do I rip out a section of the panel and then nail on a new set of dry wall panels, then fill any gap with putty or something? Is there some possibility that the bowing is from a warped beam? How do I check and get rid of mold if there is any?



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    Last edited: Jun 21, 2009
  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Sep 1, 2004
    Yakima, WA
    Once plaster in sheet rock gets wet, it is ruined, and there is no way to patch it or save it. For someone who has never worked with drywall, a ceiling is a very difficult place to begin. First the old ceiling has to be removed. Dirty and ugly job at best. Then new drywall sheets have to be installed. Darned hard work over your head. Then it has to be taped and sanded. Messy, especially for a novice. This may very well be a job for a professional drywaller. They can get the job done quickly and with a minimum of mess.
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  4. FloridaOrange

    FloridaOrange Plumbing Designer

    Dec 2, 2005
    Plumbing Designer
    SW Florida
    Part of the mess will be the insulation raining down on you.
  5. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Oct 7, 2005
    Could easily be mice droppings and what not, too. Plus, depending on the age of the house, and I take it this is an oldie, you might find asbestoses covered up under it.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2009
  6. Bill Arden

    Bill Arden Computer Programmer

    Sep 30, 2006
    computer programmer
    MN, USA
    One thought is to run wood strips and staple up square ceiling tiles.

    If there is a heavy plastic vapor barrier it might be possible to cut slivers out and put up temporary strips and then replace small sections of sheetrock... However this would be tricky and not something I would try.

    I also have first hand experience with dealing with collapsing ceilings and all the insulation dust and all I can say is that it would be easier to strip the ceiling and then add a second layer of Sheetrock.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2009
  7. hj

    hj Master Plumber

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    Dry wall is one material that does recover after it gets wet, but if it has sagged, it hardens to that configuration. If the sag is just the drywall, and not the wood framing, you might be able to pull it back into place by using drywall screws, working from the outer edges towards the center, otherwise cut it out and install a new piece.
  8. mookie3333

    mookie3333 Member

    Dec 11, 2008
    I dealed with the exact same problem last year in my house. The problem was on the second floor, and the ceiling had almost no load on top, so the beams that were used had a small cross section, which caused the sagging.

    What we ended up doing was making a hole of about 8"x8" to allow for clear access on top of the finished ceiling (crawl space). Once we verified that the beams were component that were causing the sagging, we knew what to do. I used a car jack and vertical plank to jack the ceiling back up to the original height. Then I used a slotted steel angle to keep the ceiling in position, drilling both beams on top/bottom of the crawl space into the angle. Once I removed the car jack, the ceiling did drop slightly, but no where near what it was before. This whole ordeal was caused by a leaking roof.
  9. patsfan78

    patsfan78 Web Development | HVAC

    Jun 3, 2009
    Rip it down and start new with new Sheetrock.

    You could spend a month trying to patch and repair all of the damage and it still wouldn't look right.

    You can rent a lift (or get a couple of strong backs) to assist you in putting up the Sheetrock.

    You may need to install new strapping depending on the condition of what is under there. Install it going perpendicular to the floor joists.

    Depending on how large the room is you can get 12 foot pieces that way you have less to tape and mud. the fewer seams the better.

    it sounds like more work, but the payoff is there.
  10. patsfan78

    patsfan78 Web Development | HVAC

    Jun 3, 2009
    If you were concerned about moister you can install a vapor barrier before you put up the strapping and or Sheetrock.

    not a cure to a leaky roof but it doesnt hurt or cost much.
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