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Old 03-10-2015, 05:24 PM   #1
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Eliminating slim gap between bath fan & ceiling


My electrician, when installing my new Panasonic bath fan, cut a hole in the ceiling that was slightly larger than the grill for the fan. See photo below.

The contract he and I signed stipulated that I'd be responsible for patching the walls and ceilings. In return, he did give me a good deal.

Anyway, is there a good trick to get rid of this gap? It's driving me nuts.


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Old 03-10-2015, 07:48 PM   #2
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Eliminating slim gap between bath fan & ceiling


A piece of paper tape and some joint compound.

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Old 03-10-2015, 08:25 PM   #3
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Eliminating slim gap between bath fan & ceiling


ToolSeeker,

What do you mean by a piece of paper tape? And where can I get it? Do you have a link? I'm very intrigued.

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A piece of paper tape and some joint compound.
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Old 03-10-2015, 08:43 PM   #4
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Eliminating slim gap between bath fan & ceiling


Those covers are typically held on by those wire springs that are self-centering. You have a gap at one end only, so if you can get the cover to sit a bit off-center by bending the springs or hooking the springs into somewhere more toward the problem side, you may have enough cover to hide the gaps at both ends.
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Old 03-10-2015, 08:49 PM   #5
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Eliminating slim gap between bath fan & ceiling


Striped Bass:

I'm quite sure that Tool Seeker is referring to some paper drywall joint tape and some drywall joint compound.

If it were me, the first thing I'd do is contact Panasonic's sales rep or sales agent and ask if larger grilles are available for their larger capacity ceiling fans that would fit.

Otherwise, I'd be most inclined to fill that joint in stages with a white latex caulk. Apply painter's masking tape along the cut edge of the drywall so you don't get caulk all over the ceiling in that area. Also, keep some painter's masking tape handy if the caulk wants to drip out of the joint. Spread newspaper on the floor, too. After that, it's just a matter of spreading the caulk over the gap with a 3 or 4 inch putty knife so that it's smooth and straight, and then priming and painting.
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Old 03-10-2015, 09:18 PM   #6
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Eliminating slim gap between bath fan & ceiling


Nestor_Kelebay,

Thanks for yoor post.

I called Panasonic earlier today and they told me that they do not have larger grilles for my fan. 13" by 13" is all they have for me.

Anyway, if I understand you correctly, I should place masking tape on both sides of the gap. Then put on the caulking. Then flatten it with a putty knife. Am I correct?

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Striped Bass:

I'm quite sure that Tool Seeker is referring to some paper drywall joint tape and some drywall joint compound.

If it were me, the first thing I'd do is contact Panasonic's sales rep or sales agent and ask if larger grilles are available for their larger capacity ceiling fans that would fit.

Otherwise, I'd be most inclined to fill that joint in stages with a white latex caulk. Apply painter's masking tape along the cut edge of the drywall so you don't get caulk all over the ceiling in that area. Also, keep some painter's masking tape handy if the caulk wants to drip out of the joint. Spread newspaper on the floor, too. After that, it's just a matter of spreading the caulk over the gap with a 3 or 4 inch putty knife so that it's smooth and straight, and then priming and painting.
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Old 03-10-2015, 11:17 PM   #7
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Eliminating slim gap between bath fan & ceiling


Quote:
Originally Posted by stripedbass View Post
Nestor_Kelebay,

Thanks for yoor post.

I called Panasonic earlier today and they told me that they do not have larger grilles for my fan. 13" by 13" is all they have for me.

Anyway, if I understand you correctly, I should place masking tape on both sides of the gap. Then put on the caulking. Then flatten it with a putty knife. Am I correct?
Yes, use painter's masking tape to mask off the area around the gap so you can quickly and easily remove any caulk you get in those areas. But, I've been thinking about this problem and my concern is that the gap is too wide for the caulk to bridge, and it might just drip out of that joint. I have a better plan:

If you can sneak a small piece of sandpaper into that gap and sand the edge of the fan housing first. Now, dilute some white wood glue with water to make it into a thick, but paintable consistancy and paint that glue onto both the sanded side of the fan housing and the edge of the drywall.
You can buy flux brushes to paint the glue on at any plumbing supply store.



Now, phone around to any of the places listed under "Plaster & Drywall Equipment & Supplies" and ask if they have a broken bag of BASECOAT plaster (like USG'S StructoLite or Domtar's Perlite Admix Hardwall or competitor's equivalent) if you can collect a small container of basecoat plaster for a small donation to their coffee fund or Christmas Party fund. If the places that sell it don't want to give you any, the plastering contractors in your area should have base coat plaster they'll sell to you.

I'm wanting to use base coat plaster here because modern base coat plaster is very different than the stuff used 70 years ago that contained sand and horse hair to bulk it up. Back then, it took a great deal of skill to know how much sand to add to the lime putty plaster so that it would still stick to the lath. Modern base coat plasters make that a no brainer. They have powdered glues in them so that they stick well to just about anything, and they typically contain perlite or other light weight fillers to give them a lot of bulk without adding hardly any weight. So, modern base coat plasters are very simple to use compared to those that were used 75 years ago. Any modern base coat plaster will be able to bridge a 1 inch gap easily if you mix it fairly thick.

Pack that gap between the fan housing and the drywall with base coat plaster and make sure you leave a bit of a recess to fill with joint compound afterward for a smooth patch. Let that dry for a few days.

Now, just mix up a little bit of drywall joint compound, and use that to fill the recess under the base coat plaster. If you buy premixed drywall joint compound in a box or pail, you may find it to be awfully thick. They ship it that way because no one wants to pay for transporting water. So, don't be afraid to thin it with some water so that it's much easier to spread smooth.

Now, sand that repair smooth, prime and paint.

Or at least, if I had the same problem, that's how I'd fix it.

Any modern base coat plaster will bridge that gap. The stuff is cheap as dirt and you can typically buy a large bag of it for $10 to $14. It's just that in your case, you only need about 25 cents worth of the stuff.
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Last edited by Nestor_Kelebay; 03-10-2015 at 11:27 PM.
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Old 03-11-2015, 06:35 AM   #8
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Eliminating slim gap between bath fan & ceiling


If the grill overlaps the opposite side a little, you should have room to reposition to cover the hole. First thing I would try is to remove the cover and rotate it 180 degrees and reinstall. Some times those spring clips get a little off kilter
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Old 03-11-2015, 07:23 AM   #9
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Eliminating slim gap between bath fan & ceiling


Quote:
Originally Posted by ToolSeeker
A piece of paper tape and some joint compound.
This is the correct fix.

Last edited by 12penny; 03-11-2015 at 07:42 AM. Reason: Removed comment about painters tape and caulk
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Old 03-11-2015, 09:12 AM   #10
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Eliminating slim gap between bath fan & ceiling


Take a piece of paper drywall tape cover the back with a thin coat of joint compound. When you put it up this will allow it to stick to the existing and when it dries the tape over the open area will be stiff then a couple coats feathered out on top.
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Old 03-11-2015, 11:47 AM   #11
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Eliminating slim gap between bath fan & ceiling


The problem with just covering the gap with paper drywall joint tape is that it's not strong enough of a repair to last.

Anyone trying to remove the grill by getting their fingers under the ENDS of the grille instead of the sides of the grille will wreck that repair.

I'd be concerned that the vibration of the fan alone would result in the joint compound over that paper tape cracking up.

Merely painting over that repair with a brush or roller would wreck it if the painter wasn't being careful not to apply pressure to a repair he didn't know was there.

Fix the gap with basecoat plaster and you've at least got a repair that's much stronger and will stand up to normal wear and tear.
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Last edited by Nestor_Kelebay; 03-11-2015 at 12:01 PM.
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Old 03-12-2015, 10:00 PM   #12
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Eliminating slim gap between bath fan & ceiling


First, thanks a lot for all your tips, folks.

You'll have to excuse me. I'm a bit overwhelmed at the moment. I just want to get this problem solved. Everything sounds a bit complicated for my simple mind.

So I've simply been adding joint compound along the edge of the gap.

To show you why I'm overwhelmed, I have the same problem in 3 of my 5 kitchen recessed lights. Yes, the holes are slightly larger than the light trims (see photo of one of the holes below).

My concern is that even if I'm eventually able to narrow the recessed light holes, how am I going to get the trims to stay flush with the uneven ceiling? Should I use glue?

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Old 03-13-2015, 09:12 PM   #13
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Eliminating slim gap between bath fan & ceiling


If I was to go with caulking, instead of joint compound, is there one that would be better than the others in terms of making the recessed light holes narrower?

I'm thinking that I would want a caulking that firmly holds the recessed light trims to the ceiling.

Please, any feedback will be highly appreciated.

Thanks.
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Old 03-13-2015, 09:36 PM   #14
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Eliminating slim gap between bath fan & ceiling


ok, a different method:


remove the grill or the can light trim

take some painters tape and put it flat against the ceiling with a little shelf where the hole is oversized. Take drywall mud and gently apply mud to build out the edge of the drywall. Let it dry very thoroughly. Remove the tape. sand the exposed side if needed and the inner radius if needed. Paint. Re-install cover or trim.

with my method your ceiling is flat so there would be no trouble with the trim/grill setting flat against the ceiling.
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Old 03-14-2015, 12:29 PM   #15
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Eliminating slim gap between bath fan & ceiling


If you can remove the trim around that pot light, then you can do all of those repairs with base coat plaster.

Base coat plaster dries a lot harder and stronger than drywall joint compound. You just cover the basecoat plaster with joint compound for easy sanding and painting.

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