I must bend you and break you and make you my fan!
June 5, 2014 10:11 AM   Subscribe

What we thought would be a simple ceiling fan install has turned in to a stumper. After removing the existing fixture and light box we find the lightweight brace for the previous light to be a pain to remove.

Here are a couple of pics. How can we get this thing out? We can't reach it to just pry the staples out and we have no attic access to this room because it is a bonus room over the garage. We only have about 4 inches of height to work with. Our other option would be to make a new hole diagonal to the current hole so the new ceiling fan brace can clear the obstruction and get a ceiling medallion to cover the base of new fan and hide the old hole. But this would put the fan slightly off center of the room. Not the end of the world. Ideas?
posted by MayNicholas to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
Once you remove it, what's your plan? If you were to try to fit in heavier duty box with braces, you'd probably still need to do some hole enlarging to get it in there. I'd consider widening the hole to get it out and putting in a bigger brace and then covering those shooting match with a huge ceiling medallion. Alternately, you could redo the ceiling surface, but I'm too lazy for that.
posted by advicepig at 10:37 AM on June 5, 2014

Can you cut out the middle section with a hacksaw or Dremel and then bend the remaining part of the brace out of the way?

Seems like you should be able to get a nail puller or small prybar in there to remove the nails.
posted by bondcliff at 10:43 AM on June 5, 2014

The brace and box fit perfectly in the existing hole. It's getting that old brace out that is our problem.

We can cut the old brace and try wiggling the staples out, but we can not reach them by hand as they are too far in. We can't just bend it out of the way because the new brace won't fit with the current bracket ends in the way. It would have to come out completely.
posted by MayNicholas at 10:43 AM on June 5, 2014

This is a case of cut and patch. You will most likely have to cut a hole in the ceiling big enough to remove the old brace. The good news is this will make it real easy to install the new brace. Then patch the drywall. instructions here.
posted by Gungho at 11:52 AM on June 5, 2014

I am comfortable patching drywall under normal circumstances, but how would we replicate the textured ceiling without making things look worse? To be able to reach the staples we would have to make the hole fairly big to get any leverage.
posted by MayNicholas at 12:52 PM on June 5, 2014

Perhaps a ceiling medallion to cover up the patch? They don't necessarily have to be ornate Victorian things.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:23 PM on June 5, 2014

The first picture you linked appears to be a type of brace shown here.

It uses a couple of bent stampings hammered into the wood on either end to secure it in place.

If you use a hacksaw or metal cutting tool to cut the long brace in the center you may be able to wobble each half of the brace loose and remove it through the existing hole.

From your photos I cannot be sure what you indicate are "staples". In the background of the first picture is a wood joining plate like this. I don't think that is attached to or affects the existing electrical box brace in any way.

I have used the ceiling medallions (like oneirodynia mentioned) with good success.
posted by tronec at 3:11 PM on June 5, 2014

I don't think there's much holding that in there. Seems to me that if you were to cut straight through the centre of it with a hacksaw, you'd easily be able to use the cut halves to lever out their own staples.
posted by flabdablet at 4:31 AM on June 6, 2014

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