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I was finishing the space above a garage. The space was buried in blown in cellulose insulation and we framed in some walls, laid a subfloor, and finished the room. During framing two different people punched a hole in the drywall ceiling below creating a couple large irregular holes and causing it to rain insulation. The space below is an unheated garage.

Now it's time to fix those holes. I see two options:

1) Somehow patch the drywall as-is to keep from dropping another ton of insulation. The holes aren't nice and square and some of the edges would be a good 10 inches from a support to screw into. Don't see any way to easily frame or toenail in 2x4s without cutting more drywall and dropping more insulation. Is there any product or technique that could help here? I've tried those aluminum patches in the past, but wasn't very impressed.

2) Somehow catch all the insulation, then the holes can be cut square back to beams and patched in a normal fashion. How to do this? Vacuum? Any way to put the insulation back up there when installing the ceiling patch? To further complicate matters, the garage in question can't be emptied easily.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I would clean out the area around the holes to give myself room to work without being showered with cellulose. Open the holes a little: make them square, and big enough to be able to get your hands through. Next, get myself a roll of R-13 fiberglass batting (currently less than $10 at Lowe's or HD), and cut patches to fill the void in the cellulose insulation: you'd probably need two or three layers, depending on what size your ceiling joists are. Stuff them through the holes and spread them out. Finally, use a couple of 1x2's to cross each of the holes, and patch them as described in this answer to this question.

I've used a shop-vac for cleaning up blown cellulose, but for disposal, not for later re-installation. It seems to me that it has a very different texture before and after: clumpy and with some structure, versus powdery, no texture.

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Drywall is easy to patch without having to cut it back to expose a joist. Here's how:

Cut a piece of thin wood to a length that is a couple inches longer than your hole. A paint paddle or the thick side of a wooden shim works well for this, but any scrap piece of wood will do.

Drill a screw partially into the middle of your scrap piece of wood.

Using that screw as a handle, insert the piece of wood into the hole and center it so that it makes a bridge across the hole from the inside of your ceiling.

Again using that screw as a handle, drive two additional screws through the existing drywall and into the part of the scrap wood that is hidden behind the drywall on either side of the hole.

Remove the screw that you've been using for a handle.

Cut a piece of scrap drywall into roughly the size and shape of the hole, and screw it into the piece of scrap wood.

Use joint compound or Spackle to finish the cracks and screw holes.

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You will need to get in the attic if you have access to it and remove as much of the insulation above the area as you can with an insulation removing vacuum or shop vac. Then do your repair and replace the blown insulation back in place. Removing the dry wall without doing this will end up with a big mess.

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