From the Handyman: You Can Fix Water Damage From Roof Leak

Q: How do you fix interior walls and remove stains damaged by roof leaks, as well as ceiling areas that “bubbled out”? Are dark spots mold? I’ve heard of a product called “Kills,” or something like that. What does it do? Does the whole room have to be completely repainted? Is this a handyman project or do I need a professional? — P.G., Albuquerque

A: Assuming the roof repairs have been made and there is no more leaking, then the interior problems can be easily fixed, says Wayne Valentine, manager of the Sherwin-Williams paint and supply store in Rio Rancho. Dark spots appearing on the water-damaged sheetrock are very likely mold, Valentine says. Mix a solution of five parts water to one part bleach and spray or wipe it on the affected area. Let it sit for a couple of minutes before wiping off the excess. That should pretty much kill the mold.

Where the sheetrock is stained, but not otherwise damaged, Valentine says, it can be covered with a stain blocking primer/sealer and then painted. A number of products are available, including Kilz, as you mentioned. Sherwin Williams sells a product called ProBlock (about $25 a gallon or $14 a quart). The primer/sealer will cover the stain and prevent it from further bleeding through to the paint.
Where the sheetrock bubbled, well, that’s a bit trickier. If the area is small and the bubbles are only at the surface level, meaning the underlying sheetrock is solid, then you can scrape away the damaged portion and fill it with spackle or drywall mud, Valentine says. Spray texture can then be applied and painted when dry.

Where removal of damaged areas results in small holes, inexpensive patch kits come with adhesive mesh screens or other backing materials, which create a matrix on which to trowel on the filler material. When dry, the patch can be sanded, textured and painted.
If the damage is more extensive, that is larger and deeper, you will want to cut or break away the damaged section and splice in a new piece of sheetrock material, anchoring it with drywall screws to the studs behind it, Valentine explains. The new sheetrock will then have to be taped, mudded, sanded, textured and painted.

If you have leftover matching paint, you may be able to cover just the repaired areas, though these will be less visually obvious, he says, if you paint the entire affected wall or ceiling. If you don’t have matching paint and if the existing paint on the wall or ceiling is several years old and faded, you will not likely be able to get a good match and may want to paint the entire room.
This is a relatively easy job for an experienced handyman, or even a do-it-yourself project depending on your comfort level. For further details, contact Valentine at Sherwin Williams, 891-9100.

Q: About a year ago I installed solid Brazilian rosewood floors using the recommended glue to bond the floor to the concrete slab below. The boards are joined by tongue and groove joints along the edges, but it is not a locking joint system. I must have missed a spot, because a few slats of wood have popped up in one area of my hallway. Any suggestions? I don’t want to have to tear up more flooring than is necessary. — J.R., Albuquerque

A: Assuming the boards are not popping up because of moisture intrusion and warping, there are a number of reasons for what is properly called “delamination,” says Kevin Mullany, president of Benchmark Custom Wood Floors in Albuquerque. It could be as simple as you suggest — when spreading the glue, you missed an area.

Whatever the reason, the fix can be easy with an epoxy or urethane injection kit.  First, Mullany says, identify the area of loose flooring and try to determine the approximate center. Then cover that center area with blue painter’s tape to protect the floor from excess glue. Using a drill, create a one-eighth-inch diameter hole through the floor, down to the concrete. Use the injector, usually a syringe-type device, to fill the void and allow 10-15 minutes for the glue to set up.

If there remain areas of weak adhesion and loose boards, repeat the process of tape, drill and fill, Mullany says. The drill holes can then be packed with color-matching wood filler or a matching wood dowel can be tapped into the hole. Remove the blue painter’s tape and the repair site should blend and barely be visible.

Repair kits are available at home improvement and flooring stores. The kits usually include the injector, glue and nozzles. They cost in the neighborhood of $30, but some places, like Benchmark, loan customers the injectors to help them save a little money.

For more information call Benchmark Custom Wood Floors at 292-3238.

From the Handyman is compiled by Rick Nathanson with advice from local experts. Send questions to or From the Handyman, Albuquerque Journal, P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, NM 87103. Please include name or initials, city of residence and phone number.