Need opinions for ceiling repair

I know this sounds like an odd problem, but here it goes...
We have a few holes in the ceiling by previous light fixtures - a 10 by 10 square under a medallion and the smaller holes (that are currently capped, like in the pic) are about 4 inches (the size of the "lid" on the cap). We are wanting to see if we could remove the medallion as it makes the chandelier kind of low for our 8 foot height in ceilings, and the caps on the smaller holes as well.
We have been considering one of the usual ways to have it repaired, until finding out upon further research (looking at MSDS sheets) that even though "Gypsum" is natural, most drywall contains "crystalline silica" (and sometimes other not-so-healthy stuff). With all of the dust, it would probably be just too much for my sinuses (and I'm pretty strict about things being eco friendly when it comes to repairs, partially due to that reason.)
This leads to my set of questions...
- Would there be any other ways of fixing these without the use of drywall?
- Are there any eco friendly alternatives and less "messy" applications?
- Is there a way of maybe having something recessed in there (sort've an inverted medallion or the like, if you will) for the larger 10 by 10 hole?
Any ideas are welcome. Thanks in advance, as this would really move the renovation right along! :)
q need opinions for ceiling repair, diy, home maintenance repairs, wall decor, Example of one of the capped holes
Example of one of the capped holes.
  25 answers
  • Becky Becky on Oct 09, 2013
    April, have you considered bead board for the ceiling? I searched on Pinterest and there are a bunch of DIY posts. Doesn't look too complicated just need many extra " hands". I am convinced this is my solution and maybe it's yours as well. Good luck!

    • April April on Oct 09, 2013
      @Becky - That's an interesting idea that I haven't heard before, though I've heard of people doing their whole ceiling with breadboard. Thanks for your suggestion! :)

  • Tegma Tegma on Oct 09, 2013
    Yes, I agree.... If you have a lot of "patching" to do, perhaps beadboard is the answer. However, you can get a bucket of spackle and patch with that. You would have to use screen patch, like you do on walls to cover any large holes first, if you don't want to use gypsum, and by the time you're finished, chances are, you are still going to have a lot of work matching it all up. I'd go for beadboard, or even old planks, tho' the beadboard would be much simpler and quicker to put up. As Becky said, you just need some extra hands to hold it up while it's glued and nailed.

    • April April on Oct 09, 2013
      @tegma - That's true. I wasn't sure about the 10 by 10 hole, if that was too big to patch up. Yes, the breadboard idea is an interesting idea. Thank you too for the suggestion! :)

  • Plastering Books Plastering Books on Oct 09, 2013
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    • April April on Oct 09, 2013
      @Plastering Books - Thanks for the help! Are your apps compatible with the iPad?

  • Why did you take the lights out? I know you said that the chandelier hung too low but why not put in recessed lighting? or other lighting?

    • April April on Oct 09, 2013
      @The Garden Frog with C Renee - I used to have a lower wattage main light and wanted the extra light in places. Now since I have a chandelier, adding any extra lights like recessed ones would be way too much light and wouldn't make sense, as this is in my bedroom and it's only a 11 by 12 room or so.

  • Kc Corun Kc Corun on Oct 09, 2013
    My sister and I were refurbishing a100 year old house that had a wood-slat ceiling in the dining room. Dust fell out every time the grands played upstairs. We went to Home Depot and bought impressed wall paper. It's commonly referred to as lincrusta. We cut the paper into 2' x 2' squares, and wall paper pased them to the ceiling. You have to be careful, and keep the pattern going the same direction. When you finish patching your holes, and painting the new paper, you wind up with a foux tin ceiling. Everybody loved ours!

    • April April on Oct 09, 2013
      @Kc Corun - That's a good idea! But I'm not sure if that would be too thin or not? I'm glad you found something that works for you though. Thanks for the suggestion! :)

  • Plastering Books Plastering Books on Oct 10, 2013
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  • perfect time to use some of the holes for speakers for music system. They now have wireless types that use holes around that same size. If your concerned about silica etc. Have a professional come in and do the patching and painting for you. Patching holes can be tricky and if not done properly will stand out more then those caps on the ceiling do now.

    • April April on Oct 10, 2013
      @Woodbridge Environmental - That's good to know, but since it's a bedroom I'm not sure if I'd want speakers in the ceiling. Oh, I agree! It's not something we are brave enough to do ourselves. It's just difficult to find not only drywall but also drywall joint compound that does not have horrible smell to my overly sensitive nose. :)

  • H.O. Electric H.O. Electric on Oct 10, 2013
    According to the National Electrical Code, electrical splices must be accessible and cannot be buried in a ceiling. As a result, these holes cannot legally be patched.

    • April April on Oct 10, 2013
      @H.O. Electric - Thanks for the advice, but we've had an electrician out a long time ago and the wires have been taken care of and are not live. The one for the chandelier is the only one that is still live, and were are having an electrician out to unfasten the chandelier should we ever find any way of repairing this, and he will make sure of these codes you've been talking about I'm sure. :)

  • Plastering Books Plastering Books on Oct 10, 2013
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  • H.O. Electric H.O. Electric on Oct 11, 2013
    Thank you for the clarification

    • April April on Oct 11, 2013
      @H.O. Electric - No problem. :) Thanks for checking to make sure anyway. :)

  • Raya Deych Raya Deych on Oct 11, 2013
    Hello, Why Remove any of that old Stuff, Leave it as is as long as it is Secure: Just Glue Ceiling Tiles Over it with Ceramic Tile Adhesive, Adjust Thickness of Adhesive to make level and you have a beautiful ceiling. Leave as white or paint in any water based colo. See this Link: And These Links:

    • April April on Oct 11, 2013
      @Raya Deych - Thanks for the input! That's a good point, it's just the smaller holes are in odd places and sort've disrupts the ceiling scape if that makes sense. It's funny you should suggest the ceiling tile, as while thinking on this that thought did cross my mind, too. *insert twilight zone music here* :) It's actually one of the things I'm considering, but I was wondering if there was more out there that would perhaps be 12 by 12 or something. The tiles you've linked are lovely!

  • Denise Denise on Oct 11, 2013
    Cover with some updated medallions (those plastic ones are awful!), and hang a hook for a plant, drape some fabric, illuminate a painting. Or just the medallion, hang extra ones around the room to make it look like it was intentional, incorporate it into a pattern. Replace Chandelier with a ceiling fan?

    • April April on Oct 11, 2013
      @Denise - Thanks for the suggestions! I would have to think about those. Except I wouldn't be willing to give up a chandelier for a ceiling fan. :)

  • Anna Anna on Oct 11, 2013
    You can create a stamp and stamp the sealing after you fix the hole with plaster. Mix paint with fine sand and glaze,i used a old 8x5 cores micro mop( you can use any stamps).This is inexpensive and looks like a pro job!

    • See 4 previous
    • April April on Oct 13, 2013
      @Anna - That sounds good. The only thing I'm unsure of is how dusty the sand would be, but I like the idea having it textured like that. Thanks for your input! :)

  • Denise Denise on Oct 11, 2013
    I would prefer the Chandelier as well! A touch of sparkle!

    • April April on Oct 11, 2013
      @Denise - Exactly! :D We just had a chandelier restored (it looks like it's from the 40s or 50s maybe?) that I'm just itching to have put up once this ceiling is figured out.

  • Raya Deych Raya Deych on Oct 11, 2013
    The Only 12x12 are Acoustic Ceiling Tiles and you may find them in the Armstrong Line, but not easily available. With your fixture, it can be removed, wires caped or etc for safety cut a small piece of Wood to fit hole or look for small discarded Drywall at a local construction location or local hardware if they have a small piece. Then use spackle and fill the hold, let dry and cover with our Styrofoam 19.5" x19.5" Ceiling Tiles. Just a suggestion

    • April April on Oct 11, 2013
      @Raya Deych - Good suggestions! I will have to look into it. :) Thanks!

  • Teresa Mahnke Teresa Mahnke on Oct 11, 2013
    Good ideas here! We may have to fix our ceiling too. It has a raised texture on it, which will be difficult to replicate. We need to remove our old box light & have already bought a replacement. We are not sure how much, if any damage there is right now. We will know more after removing the box.

    • April April on Oct 11, 2013
      @Teresa Mahnke - Sounds like you have a similar problem, too. Hopefully this thread will help you to find a solution! :)

  • Liliana Wells Liliana Wells on Oct 11, 2013
    Think of the ceiling as another wall to decorate. I like the idea of the ceiling tiles or a droppedceiling with similar tiles. I would alsoconsider stenciling the ceiling with vines or have someone paint a mural in theceiling (think Sistine Chapel), thus disguising the holes in the picture. Good luck.

    • April April on Oct 11, 2013
      @Liliana Wells - Yeah, I'm thinking if we don't find spackling or alternative, that may have to be a choice to consider - though I'm not sure about the dropped ceiling. Thanks for your input! :)

  • Pam Donahue Pam Donahue on Oct 11, 2013
    Do a Michaelangelo and dress them up to go with your decor. Cover them with tissue paper, wrapping paper or even a light-weight fabric and revamp your ceiling, Some thing like some do with switch plates to update a refurbished room.

    • April April on Oct 12, 2013
      @Pam Donahue - Thanks for your suggestions! Those are wonderful ideas. :)

  • Cyndi Moore Tippett Cyndi Moore Tippett on Oct 11, 2013
    I don't know how large your ceiling is and that may make my suggestions cost prohibitive, but I would suggest fixing the holes with anything that can be covered and then use a paintable wallpaper. I used it to cover an ugly ceiling in my bathroom upstairs. You will need to sand down the texture on your current ceiling but it would cover a multitude of sins. I applied wallpaper glue right to the wallpaper without getting it wet and then attached it to the ceiling, let dry and then painted the ceiling. It was so beautiful...

    • April April on Oct 12, 2013
      @Cyndi Moore Tippett - That's a good idea, especially for badly damaged ceilings. I bet that looks beautiful! Thanks for your input! :)

  • Pam Donahue Pam Donahue on Oct 12, 2013
    No problem. Good luck in your endeavors!

  • Tegma Tegma on Oct 12, 2013
    Yes, wallpaper is a great alternative, but it wouldn't work in your case because of the lifted design on the ceiling. You would have to scrape all that off, and talk about a messy job! Squirting fabric softening and then scraping it off little by little, is a lot of work, and talk about the mess left behind. Had your ceiling been smooth, the wallpaper would be simple and relatively inexpensive. And there are even some wallpapers that look like "tin" ceiling. But... unless you're willing to do an awfully messy and intensive amount of work, wallpaper wouldn't even stick that well to your ceiling.

    • See 2 previous
    • April April on Oct 14, 2013
      @Plastering Books - I like the texture, it's just the holes I'm concerned about. But thanks for your interest! :)

  • Marlene Wilson Marlene Wilson on Oct 13, 2013
    I don't know how many holes you have to fix but I remember when I was a kid there was a chimmny vented into my bedroom up staires,and it had a cover over it and it had a picture painted on it .Trees and children playing.Don't know if they still make stuff like that or not.It would be a conversation piece.You could paint your own.

    • April April on Oct 13, 2013
      @Marlene Wilson - That sounds lovely! That's true. Though i do enjoy working on art, I'm not good at balance so I'd have to have someone paint it for me when it comes to ceilings. Thanks for your input! :)

  • Rich Rich on Oct 21, 2013
    @April , check out your local hardware store and see if you can find a 4" round patch to fit the whole, Make sure the wires are dead and capped, for safety, Some patches glue on and some attach with dry-wall patch. Takes very little sanding. If dust is a problem, use wet sanding technique.

    • April April on Oct 22, 2013
      @ - Thanks for your input and information! :) If there were only more eco friendly solutions available. But it is good to know this, in case such is available.

  • April April on Oct 22, 2013
    UPDATE: I've been thinking a lot about this recently and all of the extremely helpful suggestions here. We're seriously considering painting the caps and attaching a flatter and less protruding medallion or a ceiling tile. We've been trying to find a no odor, no voc and eco friendly caulk or spackle, but it's almost impossible. So my only concern is figuring out something to recess in there or to be able to attach something where the wires can still get through but it would keep the bugs out. As he texture on my ceiling would prohibit the medallion or tile from being totally flush against it. Any ideas on this particular idea?

  • Marlene Wilson Marlene Wilson on Oct 29, 2013
    April,why couldn't put in recessed lighting?I don't know how big they make them but you could check.I see it on tv all the time!

    • April April on Oct 30, 2013
      @Marlene Wilson - Thanks for the suggestion, but I prefer a chandelier, as a recessed light is what I had before. :)