Ceiling Fan Installation Problem

Old 07-14-02, 07:58 AM
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Ceiling Fan Installation Problem

ok here is my deal and I'm sorry if this isn't forum for it but I did search and this is only forum that has ceiling fan questions in it.

I am replacing a hanging light fixture with a ceiling fan. I have sucessfully put in a ceiling fan before so this task didn't go over my skill level till I took a look at current brace being used for light fixture.

According to similiar brace I found at Lowes, this is not rated for ceiling fans. It is a simple metal slide brace with little tongs that dig into joists, plus it was nailed into joist and nail is bent making it hard to remove if I need too. I did see a picture of similiar brace on this website today while looking for help. Which made me think maybe brace is safe for ceiling fan but box with brace at Lowes wasn't.

Link to Website with picture of Brace, it's the 2nd picture down

Now my question is, is brace safe for ceiling fan use. If not how the heck do I get it out of there? Then next problem is if I have to get it out, the joists are this weird 2x4 layed flat thing and the part of joist I have to attach another brace isn't high enough to accomodate the safety braces I have seen at Home Depot or Lowes. They all require at least 2 inch and unfortunately with 2x4 laying flat I only have about 1 and 3/4 inch clearance.

If the brace is safe for ceiling fan my next problem is I can find a box to attach to brace but no where in Lowes could they find me the u bolt to attach box to brace.

This simple weekend project has gone way over my head. I want to safely and securely hang this fan but I am unsure at this point what to do.

I know this is long but I tried to put all my info in so there would be no questions unanswered. So any advice would be great.

Old 07-14-02, 11:58 AM
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The braceand box shown in the photo are not for fan support.

The screw out type you saw at the home center is a better choice. What you may need to do is to add a piece of 2x on edge so that the prongs will have something to grab. These should be secured to the existing truss.

Removal of the old brace can be done by using a diagonal plier to pry the nails out. You may want to cut the brace first with a hacksaw so you have room for your hand.
Old 07-14-02, 12:46 PM
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As pcboss says, this is not suitable for a fan. In fact, I have removed just such braces in order to replace them with a fan brace before installing a fan. It can be quite a challenge getting the old brace out through the hole in the drywall. Last one I had to fiddle with quite a white, sticking my arm up through the hole with a variety of tools including a mini-pry-bar. pcboss's suggestion to cut the old brace in half first will help.

Now to the part about replacing it. From your attic, you could add another flat 2x4 between the framing members to hold the box. Or do as pcboss suggested and build up the height of the existing flat 2x4 with another one on top of it and use a standard fan brace.

If you can't get above the ceiling, I suggest you patch this hole in the drywall and add a pancake box directly to the underside of a nearby framing member. This latter approach has the added advantage that you don't even need to completely remove the old brace.
Old 07-14-02, 01:55 PM
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Wow, a reply this is awesome, thank you both for reading and replying.

I was questioning that brace and appreciate the replies.

I considered adding a 2x on top of current 2x4 but was unsure if I would be able to manuever my arm and hand to be able to attach it. I was looking for ideas and I am happy to know one of the ones I came up with wasn't so stupid...

There is no access other than hole in the ceiling where previous box was. It is a room on 1st floor and there is a floor above it.

I am unfamiliar with a pancake box, what is it. I think the hacksaw is an excellent idea and I don't know why I didn't think of it. And I am curious if there are any other ideas on how I could attach an extra 2x to current 2x4.

Thanks so much for replies and ideas.

Old 07-16-02, 08:49 AM
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Use a pancake box???? Maybe I am naive but I haven't seen a pancake box that is rated for use with a ceiling fan. If there is one would someone please tell me who manufactures it!
If there is such a box, this box must be marked for use as a ceiling fan support box. You can't use a regular pancake box for the support of a ceiling fan.
Mind you I am not trying to antagonize anyone I just don't want someone to hang a fan from a box that is not approved for that use. Like I said if there is a pancake box that is approved for use as a fan support, please update me with this information.
Old 07-16-02, 09:06 AM
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This Steel City ceiling fan box looks like a pancake:

Old 07-16-02, 10:12 AM
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I think a pancake box will be your best bet also. Getting that brace out will be interesting. If you damage your drywall getting the brace out, you may consider buying a medallion to cover up the damage. I'm not sure if a pancake box is totally legal, but if you support it to the 2x, it will definately work. I have did it alot of times. Good Luck!!!
Old 07-17-02, 06:20 AM
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Well, I got some good advice but unfortunately I was uncomfortable with the idea of trying to get this brace out after trying a few of the suggestions I got.

I used this site to request installation via servicemagic and yesterday the gentleman showed up to give estimate and did job on the spot. I wasn't there for it but my girlfriend says he had a hard time getting brace out and making way for new brace.

She said he told her, if I could have installed fan he would want to hire me...LOL.

So though I love doing it myself I realized I was in over my head and had to call in a professional. It was more than I wanted to pay but I know fan is in right and it's secure.

I don't know how he got brace out but I was told there was alot of banging and he installed one of those saf t braces that you can get at Home Depot or Lowes. How he attached it I have no idea and my girlfriend didn't think to ask. So that will remain a mystery to me!!!!!

Thanks for all your help and input, I plan to keep coming back here from now on.


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