Step 3 : Cut into the ceiling from the attic
Working from the attic, cut out a small section of drywall (about 2x12 inches) along both sides of the joist in the center of the opening. Some fan manufacturers provide a cutting template that shows this opening along with the larger permanent opening for the ceiling louver.
Step 4 : Cut into the ceiling with a template
Go back downstairs and place the template over the small cutout, and use it to mark the larger opening. If you have no template, follow the manufacturer's directions as to the size of the required opening, and mark it on the ceiling. Use a drywall saw to cut out the drywall within these lines. Leave the drywall in place where it is nailed to the bottom of the center joist (you may have to notch a section of this drywall strip for the louver). Do not cut into or through the ceiling joist. Turn the fan on edge and pass it through the ceiling joists. Place it on the ceiling joists.
Step 5 : Install the leveling bracket
Install the joist mounting brackets, called saddles, to the inside of the fan's wood frame. These brackets slip over the center joist. Level and position the fan's frame squarely over the ceiling opening, then drill pilot holes and attach the brackets to the joist with screws.
Step 6 : Attach fan housing to joists
Position the fan over the opening in the ceiling and secure it to the leveling brackets and joists with the bracket and screws provided.
Step 7 : Install the fan skirt
Attach the skirt that covers the opening around the fan frame, screwing it to the frame and to the joists at both sides of the ceiling opening.
The skirt also extends down between the joists and rests lightly against the top face of the drywall. Use duct tape, if necessary, to seal any gaps between the skirt and the ceiling opening.
Step 8 : Hook up the wires
Run electrical wiring to the unit and make the connections according to the manufacturer's instructions. On some units, it is necessary to remove the fan blades to do this. A small set screw is usually provided to lock the blade on its shaft. If you remove the blades, be sure to reposition them so they spin freely without obstruction, and so the set screw is properly tightened before you operate the fan.
Step 9 : Fasten the louvered panel
From below, install the louvered panel to the ceiling. For safety's sake, run long screws through the panel frame into the ceiling joists. Other mounting screws should be installed in drywall anchors. Check the fit of the self-opening louvers by hand before turning on the fan. The fan's vacuum should open these louvers automatically during operation.
Illlustrations courtesy of GAF Materials Corporation
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