Repairing fiberboard ceiling panels
In this series of pics I demonstrate how I repair the fiberboard ceiling panels that are damaged during demo. This system will work for any small holes.
My tools of choice for this job are a ripping hammer and flat pry bar. Even though this is demolition extra care must be taken. In this particular home, the ceiling panels are nothing more than fiberboard. Using the hammer, gently tap the pry bar under the edge of the board and pry it down. Make sure to start on one end and work slowly towards the other end. Do not pry to hard all at once or the staples holding the board in place will pull through the ceiling. Sometimes it can’t be helped and the staples pull through anyway. Don’t panic, I have a remedy for that too.
Board on the ceiling
There is a board on the ceiling that used to attach the laundry cabinets to the ceiling. I will be installing built-ins at a later date, so this is in the way.
Here you can see that the board has been removed. There is obvious damage including one place where the pry bar dented the ceiling and a staple pulled through.
Ceiling patch material
The materials I use for minor repairs like this are a cheap putty knife and a tub of elastomeric Custom Patch (available at Home Depot for about $8.00).
Apply the patch
Before applying the patch material, I use a scraper to remove any loose material then a broom to give the surface a good cleaning. All that is left is to apply the patch material in a thin layer, being careful to feather the edges as best you can. As you can see, this ceiling does have a light texture.
Here is the final product. It’s hard to tell in the picture, but the dent is not filled in. I will come back later with another product to fill it in. At this point, the repair should be allowed to dry for 24 hours. Then, if appearance isn’t critical, it could simply be painted. In this case, the patch will be sanded and later the entire ceiling will be painted with textured paint, which will completely hide the repaired areas.
For larger holes, like the dented area, I use expanding foam. I spray the foam into the hole and let it dry for several days. Since it expands a lot, it seals the opening very well and will never fall out. After it is completely dry, I use a bare hacksaw blade to cut the foam flush with the ceiling. The rest is as described above. Once the ceiling is repainted with texture paint, the repairs vanish.