Part II: How to Repair a Textured Ceiling that Flexes with the Seasons

Series: Flexible Drywall RepairPermalink

Make enduring repairs to your drywall with products that stretch.

Fix your damaged ceiling texture with a stiff bristled brush, ElastoPatch patching compound, and a couple of drywall knives. If all goes well, you may never repair it again!

Introducing ElastoPatch Permalink

After repairing the hairline drywall cracks I searched for suitable elastic patching material to replicate the swirl pattern on the ceiling. I found just the product I was looking for in ElastoPatch, which is a Pro-Grade Elastomeric Patching Compound.

The two cracks I inherited with the house were repaired multiple times over the last half century. My hope is that an elastic patching material will flex with the seasonal expansion and contraction of the framing, thus making future repairs unnecessary.

Apply a Thin Layer of ElastoPatch Permalink

For my lesser crack I first applied a thin layer of ElastoPatch with my broad knife. I had a pretty wide area to fill with the hope of bringing it to the same height of the surrounding ceiling pattern. I only applied one layer of material and in hindsight I should have applied at least one more, maybe even two more layers.

Tools and a Dry Run Permalink

The first brush I used was a twelve-inch normally meant for smoothing the bubbles out of just hung wallpaper. I practiced making swirls with it on a junk piece of cardboard. The stiff bristles of the brush were ideal for the task, but the width of the brush made the swirl pattern radius too broad. This was the only brush I had at hand, so I made do as best I could.

Brush in the Swirls Permalink

The gist of the work is to rotate the brush to make the swirl pattern. Reference the ceiling nearby as a guide for the width of the swirls and their location to one another.

See Repair a Textured Wall or Ceiling with Amazing Results! for a very helpful reference video about technique. Skip ahead to around the 8:20 minute mark for the part specifically about making the swirl texture.

A Few Coats of Ceiling Paint Permalink

Once my ElastoPatch swirls cured I gave the patched area several coats of ceiling paint over the course of just as many days. After it dried the ceiling looked much improved. It was still obvious that the area has been repaired, but the crack is gone and from afar it looks great.

Does Elastic Ceiling Paint Exist? Permalink

Unfortunately the ceiling paint I used isn’t near as elastic as the Big Stretch crack filler or the ElastoPatch patching compound. There have already been big swings in temperature in the weeks since I repaired the smaller of the cracks. The wood framing is definitely still moving as shown by the tiny cracks in the ceiling paint that covers the patched area. Regardless, I don’t think this is noticeable to anyone but me.

I’ve searched in vain to find an elastic ceiling paint. Does such a product exist? If it does, would it be easy to blend it with the surrounding ceiling area by feathering it in?

A Base Layer of Patching Compound Permalink

The second, much longer crack I fixed was originall fixed with drywall tape. Removing the old tape was very easy, but unfortunately it left a depressed channel in its former place. I decided to fill this with repeated coats of ElastoPatch since the product shrinks as it cures. For a guide I placed painter’s tape along the edges of the groove. With my broad knife I leveled the patching compound as best I could.

Which Brush Works Best? Permalink

After my first repair with the wallpaper smoothing brush I bought (and borrowed) a few more brushes to find the that best replicates the swirl texture on my ceiling. It’s doubtful that I’d find a brush with the exact characteristics of the original brush, such as width, bristle material, and bristle length. It was still worth trying, even if it did need another trip to the big box store.

One Brush to Rule Them All Permalink

After auditioning my small brush collection I found that the 4.5” masonry brush was the best fit to match the swirl pattern on my ceiling. I tossed the other brushes into a waiting bucket of water so they could soak up their inadequacy for the task at hand.

Repairing the Swirls on the Long Crack Permalink

With the 4.5” masonry brush I was able to make much tighter swirls to better match the existing texture of the ceiling.

Close-Up Photos of the ElastoPatch Swirls Permalink

Once cured the new swirls fit in admirably with the original texture of the ceiling.

A Second Call for Elastic Ceiling Paint Permalink

The ceiling fault line is still expanding and contracting seasonally and the patch job is holding up great. The paint leaves a bit to be desired due to its network of tiny cracks. If anyone discovers an elastic ceiling paint please let a Real Gospodar know!

Leave a Reply