Best type of old work fan box to use near a steel joist?


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Old 12-24-19, 12:10 PM
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Best type of old work fan box to use near a steel joist?

Hello,

I live in a condo over 30 years old and moved in 15 years ago. The fans were already installed when I moved in.

A couple weeks ago I decided to upgrade 3 of the fans. Two of them there was no problem installing with the existing fan boxes were properly installed.

Then I got to the living room. I discovered there was a problem. The fan bracket was directly mounted to the steel joist with the wires just hanging from the ceiling and no box.

I attempted to fix this problem and looked for a solution. On Amazon I found an old work saddle box but the description was very vague. I asked questions and never got an answer. Out of frustration I just purchased the saddle box. Now it arrived and me cutting more around the joist I can tell the opening for the saddle box isn't wide enough for the steel joist.

What is the best solution to install an old work fan box near a steel joist?

PS: I just took this picture showing the opening (I widened it a little) showing the steel joist and wire hanging out of the ceiling.

 

Last edited by PaulRz; 12-24-19 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 12-24-19, 01:40 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

That is a particular problem that I've run into it before. I get a piece of wood...... like a short 2x4 and I set it on top of the metal stud where it's parallel to the sheetrock. I use one sheetrock screw thru the metal stud into the 2x4 to hold it in place. Then I use a fan rated pancake box bolted up thru the steel stud into the 2x4. The two holes thru the metal stud and into the wood need to be pre-drilled so as not to crack the wood.

You can use either of the following boxes.

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Old 12-25-19, 06:37 AM
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That is likely metal furring strip often called Hat Track (https://www.homedepot.com/p/ClarkDie...B&gclsrc=aw.ds) I would recomend only using the steel pancake box that PJ posted.
 
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Old 12-25-19, 07:31 AM
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Thanks, Pete.

A long time ago I was on this forum but forgot my username and no longer use the old email.

I am handy to just the extent of Youtube videos.

After posting I came across the pancake box as a fan box 1/2 inch deep. Then I thought to myself I may put in the pancake box a little uneven. But your solution solves that problem. And good that we are on the same wavelength.

Would you recommend self-drilling screws for the steel stud?

Next time I have a chance I will pick up a pancake box, wood and possibly self-drilling screws.

I'll update when I make further progress.
 
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Old 12-25-19, 07:39 AM
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Thanks Tolyn.

Never heard of a metal furring strip/hat track. But that is what I have.
 
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Old 12-25-19, 08:59 AM
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The problem with track is it's not thick enough to hold the screws from the box. It still needs added material above it. I'm guessing that track is fastened to the bottom of joists that you may just be able to see in the hole.
 
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Old 01-05-20, 06:56 AM
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I appreciate everyone's help.

I had to unexpectantly fly cross country and didn't have time to work on this.

The steel stud has a middle and 2 side channels. My presumption is the wood is added so when I attach the fan bracket to the fan box it has something to drive into.

In my tool cabinet, I have a bunch of #8 - 1 1/2 inch self-drilling pan head screws. I think these would work but want to verify with you guys.

Does the wood being attached to the steel stud channels have to be the same depth as the middle part of the steel stud or can it be shorter?

I enlarged the hole to allow for the pancake box.

<img src="https://i.postimg.cc/3xrrB4b6/IMG-20200105-094818.jpg" width="960" height="720"/>
 
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Old 01-05-20, 09:50 AM
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Yes.... the wood is used for something for the screws to connect to. You can drop a piece of wood in the track or across the top of the track if easier. I usually one or two sheet rock self tapping screws to hold the wood in place.

Self drilling pan heads are ok for the wood to steel but you want a small type lag bolt to go thru the box, the metal and into the wood. The hole will need to be predrilled so that the wood doesn't split.

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Old 01-18-20, 06:09 PM
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Thanks Pete.

I looked online for lag bolts and lag screws. Not sure if there is a difference.

I also know that 3/16 is very close to #10 so looked for that as well.

Would the following link below work? The title doesn't say lag but when you scroll down to fastener type it says lag screw.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/GRK-Fast...1332/301878319
 
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Old 01-18-20, 06:22 PM
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Interesting type screws.

This a lag bolt. Comes in many diameters and length....... Lag bolt
 
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Old 01-19-20, 06:45 AM
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Those type of lags work, but they are kind of old school as they often have large shanks. I would recommend Spax power lags. https://www.homedepot.com/p/SPAX-1-4...0507/202041031
 
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Old 01-19-20, 10:15 AM
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Thanks.

Last week I attached the wood to both sides of the steel stud channel. On the side, with the wires, I left enough room so the wires can easily be accessed and put in the knockout hole of the fan box when I get around to attaching that.

I will use some type of 1/4 inch lag bolts to attach to secure the fan box to the ceiling. Then I will use the #10 self-driving screws to go into the wood.

Before I attach anything to the ceiling I will make a cardboard template of the fan box holes. I have scrap drywall that I will attach the fan box as well as the fan bracket to ensure the template works.

If everything is good I will use the template to mark the holes for the steel stud and attached wood. I will use a center punch to dimple the steel and wood and then drill pilot holes. Then attaching the fan box and bracket should be f

========================

Moving forward to the wiring. All the fans I attached before I never saw a grounding screw in the fan box. The pancake box I got has one.

Should I buy a grounded pigtail and attach the forked part to the screw?

Then attach the exposed part of the pigtail, copper wire from the ceiling and the green wire from the fan bracket and bundle those 3 in a wire nut?
 
 

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