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Patch a Water-Stained Ceiling or Textured Ceiling

When water leaks onto a drywall ceiling, ugly coffee-colored stains usually appear. Sometimes the ceiling texture will become saturated and start to flake off. We'll show you how to repair small damaged areas of typical "popcorn" ceiling texture. It's easy when you use a special texture patch now available in an aerosol spray can.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Patch a water-stained popcorn ceiling

Once the ceiling is dry, remove any loose or flaking texture (Photo 1). Wear a dust mask and safety glasses to protect yourself from falling debris. Spraying the stain blocker and ceiling texture are downright messy affairs, so tarp off a work area as shown in Photo 2. Many aerosol paints don’t spray well upside down, but the stain-blocking primer in Photo 3 is designed to spray up (Kilz Upshot is available at home centers and hardware stores).

Applying the new ceiling texture (Photo 4) is the trickiest part of the whole project. The texture comes out fast and the propellant dissipates quickly. You’ll only get about four seconds of spray per can, so you may want to purchase an extra can and practice on a sheet of cardboard. The texture repair is designed to match the original white ceiling texture color, but you might have to repaint the entire ceiling to completely hide the patch.


If you have ceiling texture applied before 1978, it may contain asbestos. This mineral can be hazardous if it becomes airborne, so call your local health department to learn safe procedures for removal and disposal.

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

    • Dust mask
    • Stepladder
    • Putty knife
    • Safety glasses
    • Paintbrush

You'll also want rubber or latex gloves.

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

    • Plastic sheathing
    • Scrap cardboard
    • Stain-blocking primer (spray)
    • Texture (spray)
    • Paint (to match the ceiling)

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August 05, 11:51 AM [GMT -5]

Depending on the age of the stain and before scraping off the old texture try this, spray the stain with a bleach water solution. I've used a bleach water solution to clear up several stains. Be careful not to soak the texture too much as it will cause it to come loose from the ceiling/drywall.

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Patch a Water-Stained Ceiling or Textured Ceiling

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