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.

4 Answers 4


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.

  • shop-vac I have a large ceiling full of this blown insulation mess. Clean up the area north of your work well . Stick the shop vac up in the ceiling, twirl it around, go to town. Commented Apr 23, 2023 at 18:48

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.

  • Depending on the size of the hole I'd just go with concrete fill using the wood as the lath structure. Commented Apr 4, 2019 at 6:01
  • This is typical patching technique for a small hole or cut maybe up to three or four inches. Larger then it should likely be blocked by 2x4 ('s) Commented Apr 23, 2023 at 18:49

For a larger drywall patch, say 2'x2', here's what I have done... It's a little time consuming but fairly clean. I cut 90% of the square hole out with a repic saw and leave enough uncut for the drywall to not fall out (making a huge mess). I have someone hold a shop vac close to the saw to get the dust. Then I get 2 pieces of wood similar in size to that of a yard stick and screw them into the surrounding drywall perpendicular to the ceiling joists. Then I make the final cuts around the perimeter. The drywall is still held in place by the nails/screws in the joist(s) as well as the yard sticks. Next step is to cut along both sides of the joist(s). You may have to add yard sticks or move the ones that are there to cut behind them. This will release the drywall but it won't fall because of the yard sticks. Next, remove the strip(s) of drywall that are nailed/screwed to the joist(s). Next, take yard stick material and cut several down to about 4 inches longer than your opening and slip them into the opening, parallel with the joist(s), raising the now loose ceiling drywall up into the cavity. The trick is slipping in the yard stick material without moving the loose drywall pieces side to side allowing insulation to fall thru. Push them straight up. Secure the yard sticks to the outside of the hole from below with drywall screws. After that, simply remove the yard sticks you secured from below and the opening is now ready for your new drywall patch. The old drywall stays in the ceiling. Then screw, tape and mud as usual.

  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Thanks for the answer; keep 'em coming. And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know the details of contributing here. Commented Mar 11, 2020 at 22:29

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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