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Good morning!

I recently purchased a house, and had the entire house rewired to remove knob and tube wiring. At the time of the wiring,I hadn't picked out any fixtures yet, so I figured I would just install them on my own later (which I have plenty of experience with). I have already replaced most of the original fixtures, but hadn't tackled the living room ceiling fan yet. Well we had a bit of a heat wave and I turned on the fan, and it was rocking so hard, it was probably a minute from flying off the ceiling. I picked up my new fan, took down the original, but am dumbfounded on how I will get another ceiling fan up there.

First of all, there is no above access. From what I can tell, originally there was a 2X4 mounted between the joists and a box was attached to that. The ceiling has multiple layers, making it considerably thicker than a normal drywalled ceiling. First there is a layer of plaster and lath, and then over the plaster is strapping followed by tongue and groove ceiling tile. So it is about 2 1/4" from the bottom of the joist to the face of the ceiling.

When the electrician ran new wire they cut a large hole through the middle of the 2x4, about 6" long and 3" wide, basically making it structurally useless. then they used a plastic ceiling box that is like half pancake, half extra deep, where the pancake part would attach directly to the joist and the deep part would be right up against the side of the joist. It would have been a good solution if the ceiling was a normal thickness and if they mounted it to a joist, but they mounted it to strapping (which is mounted to plaster and lath). So it was pretty clear why this fan was rocking it's way out of the ceiling.

So now I am stuck. I can't use a retrofit brace and box because 1) they aren't deep enough (and the companies advise against using them with plaster and lath, I think because of the inherent thickness/depth issues) and 2) there is still the 2x4 running right where I would need the brace to be.

So my thoughts right now are:

-Finish cutting through the 2x4 and the trying to knock it our of place, and then manipulate a brace to fit the depth of the ceiling (maybe cut off the self leveling feet, or extend the u-bolt to drop it lower) But this would probably not be code.

-Move the ceiling fan hole to the joist and hopefully find a proper depth box for a direct mount, and then try to find some replacement tile. (this would be unfortunate because the hole already is off center and I would be increasing it's off-centered-ness and I don't want to splice it in a junction box because I don't have the tools to run the wire through more joists without creating a bunch more holes in the ceiling.)

Has anyone tackled something like this and found an appropriate solution to handle this issue? My husband wants me to just call the electrician back, but I don't want to wait, and I'm not so sure they will come up with anything better seeing they finagled this mess in the first place.
 

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Remove the damaged brace. Break out enough of the plaster so that a retrofit brace will work. There are also deep retrofit boxes for a thicker ceiling.
 
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