Patching a Ceiling

Dear NH,
I recently took down some fake wood beams on my ceiling. Now I find that there is a "raised" area of paint around where the beams used to be. I guess the ceiling was painted a few times after the beams were installed. Do I need to fill this defect with joint compound or can I blend compound in with the new paint to give it more hiding ability?

Unfortunately, paint does not have enough thickness to mask the painted "outline" of the beams you removed. The line will stick out like a sore thumb. Adding joint compound to paint is an time proven and inexpensive way to add texture to a ceiling or wall but will not give the coverage you desire, either.

So it is essential to use wallboard compound to smooth out the paint level. First, try to remove any raised ridges or paint with a scraper, sandpaper or razor knife. This way you will use less compound and thus have less possibility of a visible rise in the wall at each of these repairs. Then, apply enough compound to completely cover the defect, "feathering" the edge of your repair out at least 6-10" outside the perimeter of the repair.

After the first coat dries, sand or scrape off any peaks or lines in the compound and apply a second coat, again feathering it out a few inches beyond the first patch. Sand the repair smooth. Sometimes a third coat is necessary, depending on the thickness of the fill and the amount of shrinkage in the compound. I prefer to use "light weight" joint compound for these repairs. It handles somewhat like standard joint compound but has less moisture and more body. It hardly sags at all in thick applications and shrinks very little, making many three-coat jobs two-coaters, and some two-coat jobs one-coaters! A real time saver in a can!

The enemy of all wall or ceiling patches is shadows. Low profile patching is the goal... so keep the compound as thin as possible while still masking the ceiling defects.

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