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How to Repair Holes in a Mortar Ceiling

Applying mortar over thin pieces of wood, known as lath, creates a hard, one-piece ceiling without seams or joints. Accidents or attempts to access the area above the ceiling causes holes in the mortar surface. Mortar is a cement-based material with many applications in and around a home. Home builders and homeowners choose mortar for its durability and low-maintenance qualities. Repairing holes in ceilings adds to the aesthetic value of the room; holes do not threaten the structural integrity.

Things You'll Need

  • Tarps
  • Masonry chisel
  • 2 lb. hammer
  • Vacuum
  • Metal mesh
  • Metal shears
  • Galvanized screws or nails
  • Power screwdriver
  • Bucket
  • Power drill
  • Spinner mixer bit
  • Epoxy bonding agent
  • Paintbrush
  • Metal putty knife or trowel
  • Notched trowel or concrete rake
  • Metal float
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    • 1

      Lay tarps on the floor to protect the surface from abrasive masonry dust.

    • 2

      Remove loose mortar from the border of the hole using your fingers.

    • 3

      Chip away the mortar surrounding the hole to create straight-edged lines eliminating an irregularly-bordered hole. Use a masonry chisel and a 2 lb. hammer to create a square or rectangle. Only chip away the mortar; do not chip out the lath.

    • 4

      Vacuum the dust from the lath and edges of the hole.

    • 5

      Cut a section of metal mesh with metal shears in the same size and shape of the hole.

    • 6

      Place the metal screen inside the hole and fasten it to the lath with galvanized screws or nails.

    • 7

      Combine dry mortar mix with water in a bucket and blend well to create a mud-like consistency. Equip a power drill with a spinner bit to mix mortar.

    • 8

      Paint the lath, mesh and inside edges of the hole with an epoxy bonding agent made specifically for cement materials.

    • 9

      Pick up mortar on a metal putty knife or trowel and push the mortar through the mesh onto the lath while the epoxy bonding agent is still wet.

    • 10

      Pull a notched trowel or concrete rake through the mortar to make raised lines. Apply another coat of mortar over the first coat. Drag a metal float across the repair to smooth the surface. Tilt the float at a 45-degree angle to pull off excess mortar and make the repair flush with the existing mortar.