To repair loose drywall tape on a textured ceiling, first, use a utility knife to cut away the loose section of tape. Then, sand the area where the tape was installed, being careful not to damage the drywall beneath. Once the area is prepared, install new tape and keep it in place with 2–3 coats of joint compound. After the final coat of joint compound has hardened, sand the area. Finally, reapply texture to the area using a spray texture or by applying joint compound with a texture sponge.
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Why Does Drywall Tape Come Loose From a Ceiling?
Drywall tape may start to peel off due to natural factors, such as air humidity or your house settling over time. However, excess moisture from a roof leak may be the cause. If drywall tape has begun to peel off your ceiling, take a closer look. If there are yellow or brownish water stains on your drywall ceiling, or if the layer of drywall is misshapen and moist, this may be evidence of a roof leak.
- Most peeling drywall tape is caused by humidity or a house settling.
- In some cases, a roof leak may be the cause of peeling drywall tape.
- Inspect your ceiling for water stains when removing and replacing drywall tape, to determine if there is a roof leak.
If your roof is leaking, repairing drywall tape will only be a temporary fix. The water introduced by a roof leak will ruin your repairs and contribute to long-term damage. If you have a roof leak, contact a professional for repairs.
7 Steps to Fix Drywall Tape on a Textured Ceiling
Repairing drywall tape on a textured ceiling may seem like a daunting job. After all, how are you going to be able to make a seamless fix that matches the surrounding ceiling? Don’t fear. With the right tools and techniques, you can make a long-lasting drywall repair and texture your ceiling to match the area around your work.
Assemble Your Tools
Getting the job right requires the right tools. When fixing loose drywall tape on a textured ceiling, you will need the following:
- Drop cloth
- Protective goggles, gloves, and a dust mask
- Utility knife
- Sandpaper, in 120, 150, and 220 grit
- Drywall tape (either paper tape or mesh)
- 3-inch putty knife
- Joint compound, also known as drywall mud
- Spray-on ceiling texture OR a texturing sponge
With these simple tools and materials, you can repair your ceiling yourself. Simply follow the steps below to complete the repair job.
Remove Loose Tape
Using your ladder to reach the ceiling, cut away the loose tape with your utility knife. Cut the loose tape back to a point where it is solidly attached to the ceiling, leaving no loose ends.
- Cut away the loose section of tape with a utility knife.
- Remove the entire loose section without damaging the drywall beneath.
- Do not try to repair loose drywall tape by adding joint compound under the loose tape and pressing it back into place.
Removing damaged or loose tape is much more effective than attempting to apply joint compound under the loose tape and sticking it back into place. Trying to putty loose tape results in lumpy, uneven drywall seams that adhere poorly. Tape repaired in this fashion is likely to come loose again.
Sand the Area
After removing the loose tape, sand the drywall seam where the tape came loose. Use 120 grit sandpaper to initially sand the area, followed by 150 grit to smooth it. Make sure not to sand through the paper covering of the drywall. The goal here is to remove any old joint compound on the drywall seam to create a clean surface for repairs.
- Use 120 grit sandpaper or this sanding block to sand the area where the tape was removed.
- Sand away any residual joint compound without sanding through the paper covering on the drywall.
- It’s expected for some ceiling texture to be removed during this process.
- Wear eye protection, gloves, and a dust-filtering mask whenever you are sanding drywall or joint compound.
Don’t worry if some of the ceiling texture around the seam is removed during the sanding process. We will repair and match the texture of the ceiling once the repair has been completed.
Install New Tape
For the simplest results re-taping the seam, use self-adhesive mesh drywall tape. Tape over the exposed seam, making sure not to overlap the new tape with existing tape at either end of the repair area. It’s okay to have up to a 1 inch (2.5 cm) gap in between the end of the existing tape and the beginning of the new tape.
- Use this mesh drywall tape to make taping the joint easier.
- Tape the exposed seam without allowing the new tape to overlap the existing tape.
- Use your putty knife to spread joint compound over the tape to achieve a smooth surface.
Once the tape is in place, spread a layer of joint compound over the tape. Work to achieve a smooth surface that blends the taped area seamlessly with the sanded area around it. Begin with a thin layer of joint compound.
Use Multiple Coats of Joint Compound
The best way to repair drywall seams is to work in increments. Don’t attempt to repair the seam flawlessly with one coat of joint compound. Instead, apply a coat of joint compound and wait 24 hours. Once 24 hours have passed, sand the joint compound with 150 grit sandpaper and apply another coat. You may need to repeat this process 2–3 times to get a smooth seam.
- Lay a drop cloth on the floor below whenever you are applying joint compound.
- Apply 2–3 coats of joint compound, building up the repair patch in increments.
- Wait 24 hours between coats, to allow it to dry.
- Sand the area lightly with 150 grit sandpaper between coats, to prevent buildup and imperfections that require heavy sanding.
By applying joint compound a little at a time and sanding between coats, you build a smooth surface that blends with the surrounding ceiling. This makes the difference between a poor repair and a flawless one.
Sand Joint Compound
Once you’ve completed your final coat of joint compound, wait at least 24 hours before sanding. When you do sand, begin with 120 grit sandpaper to remove any bumps or ridges, followed by 150 grit to smooth the edges, and finishing with 220 grit to make a perfectly blended surface.
- Wait 24 hours after your final coat of joint compound before sanding.
- First, sand with 120 grit sandpaper to remove ridges and large imperfections in the joint compound.
- Smooth any grooves or gouges left by 120 grit sandpaper by using 150 grit.
- Make a perfect final finish with 220 grit sandpaper.
Once you’ve completed this process, you will be left with a professional, smooth finish. This taped and floated seam will hold up for a long time to come. Your ceiling is now fully patched and ready for texturing.
To repair a textured ceiling, there are two easy options for the home DIYer. First, you can use a spray product to quickly add texture to a portion of your ceiling. Alternatively, you can use a texturing sponge to apply joint compound or a special texture patch product to the ceiling to create a textured look.
- This spray texture can be used to add texture to the ceiling after patching.
- Alternatively, you can use this texturing sponge to add texture to your ceiling.
- Dip one side of the texturing sponge in joint compound or a specialized texture patch product and dab it on the ceiling to recreate the surrounding texture.
- Use a drop cloth whenever you are adding texture to a ceiling.
Adding ceiling texture with a sponge takes some trial and error. It’s a good idea to test it out on a piece of cardboard before moving on to your ceiling. Experiment with dabbing texture on the cardboard with the sponge and using your putty knife to lightly scrape away excess. It’s often a good idea to wait 15–20 minutes after applying the texture to scrape away the excess, as the product will be semi-hardened at this point.
How Do You Repair Drywall Tape on a Textured Ceiling?
If a portion of tape on your textured ceiling comes loose, you can repair it yourself. Here’s how:
- Cut away the loose portion of the tape.
- Sand the area to remove joint compound and texture in the surrounding area.
- Apply new drywall tape and cover it with a coat of joint compound.
- Apply additional coats of joint compound as needed to achieve a seamless repair. Wait 24 hours between coats.
- Sand the repaired seam in your ceiling until it blends with the drywall on either side.
- Use spray texture or a texturing sponge to repair the texture on your ceiling.
It really is that simple. With a few tools and simple steps, you can repair popcorn ceilings and match any ceiling texture. All that’s left from there is to apply a fresh coat of paint to match the surrounding ceiling.