After removing the drop-ceiling from the living room we found a large crack that ran the entire length of the living room ceiling. This was originally caused by a roof leak where the porch met the house, but the leak had been fixed before we bought the house. The crack was pretty ugly, not to mention that it let a fair amount of cold air into the house during the winter:

As part of this repair I replaced the electrical outlet box the light was (sort of) mounted to, because I wanted something more secure to hold a ceiling fan. Here’s the old light and box:

The stuff on the ceiling isn’t drywall, but is the older style fiberboard/masonite/fir-tex. It swells and flakes apart quickly when it gets wet, and it’s difficult to just patch cracks with drywall tape and mud. Larger cracks such as this one won’t even hold in place with drywall screws:

The drop ceiling support nails left lots of little holes in the ceiling, so I started by patching all of the small holes with premixed drywall mud. 

The fiberboard itself was flaky out to about 2 inches on either side of the crack, so I decided to just cut out the damaged fiberboard and replace it with 4 inch strips of drywall. Normally I wouldn’t do the repair this way, but would instead just tear out all of the fiberboard and replace it with drywall. This is a temporary fix just for aesthetics (in Phase 2 we are going to tear everything out and replace it anyway), so this will work until then.

I measured 2 inches on either side of the crack, and drew cut lines along the entire damaged area. I then used a drywall saw to cut along the lines, leaving an open strip where the damaged area used to be:

The ceiling joists were 24 inches apart (plus or minus), so there wasn’t much to nail the strips of drywall to. To give me a better-supported surface for the drywall I cut up an old plank I had sitting around into 6 inch wide pieces and screwed them to the fiberboard edges:

Again, not the best way to fix it, but sufficient for now.

I then cut long 4″ strips of drywall and screwed them to the wood supports. This filled the gap pretty well:

The old electrical box for the light was only held in place with one screw, so I removed the light, cut out a square of fiberboard and installed an electrical box that could support a ceiling fan:

I then patched the square hole with a piece of drywall. A couple of coats of drywall mud later:

And then the part my wife rightfully hates the most…sanding. Drywall dust everywhere:

A lot of sweeping, a coat of primer and two coats of flat ceiling paint:

I didn’t spend a lot of time trying to mud and sand all of the ripples out of the repair because the rest of the ceiling has some pretty noticeable joints, too, but it looks pretty good. Here’s the final repaired area with a ceiling fan added:

It almost makes me wish I wasn’t going to tear this all out in 2 years…almost. For now, though, this project is finished.