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Please share your Bathroom Fan installation experience

18 replies [Last post]
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Joined: Jul 8 2004

I'm planning to install the Panasonic Low Profile ceiling fan (FV-07VFL1) in both bathrooms. I have a tar and gravel flat roof (we're not replacing the roof). I'm concerned about the installation process in terms of leaks and aesthetics. What precautions need to be taken? And does the fan face plate sit flush with the ceiling or does it hang down slightly?

Joined: Mar 2 2004

The faceplate fits up against the ceiling. The working of the fan reside in a box on top of the roof. You will need to waterproof the fan box, vent and the electrical that goes through the roof. It's not rocket science to patch a tar roof. Other than not doing the job right, the big mistakes are: 1. Not cleaning the old tar surface adequately for good adhesion. 2. Working on an old brittle tar roof 3. Working on a cold brittle tar roof.

An experienced contractor or handyman will be reluctant to patch your roof and be responsible for future or immediate leaks. I always suggest that their leak responsibility end with a successful water-test. This won't insure that the job was done properly, but is a good start. You will find it difficult to get a competent roofer to even look at this sort of patch work for a reasonable price.

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Joined: Jan 29 2004

Randy,

How would the project change if this were a foam roof?

Robert

Joined: Mar 2 2004

Installing a ceiling fan in an existing foam roof involves much the same hardware. 1. A proper sized opening is cut in the ceiling wood and through the roof. 2. A wood box to enclose the fan hardware can sit on top of the foam roof or rest on the tongue and groove. 3. The electrical is the real work in a fan installation. You will need a power source through a switch. If the power comes thru the roof away from the fan box, a metal flashing is surface mounted in a bed of caulk (this is called a roof jack). 4. Galvanized metal is fashioned to cover the sides of the box and bend flat onto the roof. 5. This flat part, four inches wide, is sealed into a bed of caulk. 6. The box needs an outlet for the exhaust air. A great lid for the box is a Nutone metal cover with a spring-loaded damper.
Fans are made to go between ceiling joists on regular construction. A box is fabricated because nobody makes an enclosed, weather-proof unit suitable for an Eichler. There are advertisers on this site that can install a fan in an Eichler for $600-$700...plus the fan which costs $100-$200, Plus sealing the box (2 hours plus $50 in caulk and metal, plus $85 for the cover) Expensive problems arise when a novice tears out a surrounding area of foam roof around his fabricated fan enclosure and then calls Dura-Foam. If we are called first, we can provide drawings and instructions that enable fan installers to seal a box without involving one of our expensive, cumbersome and exotic foam trucks. When we are asked to install 2 square feet of foam roof, you would be amazed (outraged?) at the cost per square foot.
When a new foam roof is installed, similar parts are used. Instead of caulk and metal, a layer of foam covers the box. Both systems work well. The main thing, hire someone who can call first, (don't put yourself in the middle) and can follow simple written instructions.

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Joined: Apr 2 2003

Have you considered putting a fan through the wall instead? You have to plan location and electrical and probably custom fit a couple of pieces but it is possible. The main drawback is you will be limited in models and location because it must fit between in the 2 x 4 depth where there are no pipes. In the shower above the tile at the opposite end from the faucets is one possibility...

Worth considering. I'm sure others have done it as well and could comment.

Jake.

eichfan at rawbw dot com

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

I replied to a similar question some time ago. Rather than repeat it, you can read my detailed answer here:

http://www.eichlernetwork.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=244&highlight=fan

I did essentially what Randy described before I put on my foam roof .

Good luck and good for you for adding ventilation- your home with be healthier for it!

Lynn Drake

Joined: Mar 2 2004

Lynn has the all right ideas. 1. Don't oversize the fan 2. Get a quiet fan 3. Put a rotary timer/switch on the fan. Home Depot has a wall display that has all their fan choices. You can see and listen to each of them operate. They each have labels with recommendations based on square footage of the room. Rotary timer/switches take the place of the old switch and can be purchased where there is an electrical department. A timer on the fan is essential. Fans can easily get left on all day or night. With a timer/switch, you can give it a twist and forget it.

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Joined: May 20 2004

We currently have an overhead fan in the master bath.
We have a T&G roof.

I'd like to replace the fan with a newer, quieter model. If feasible, possibly one with a separate light and fan.

Is there anything specific my installer needs to watch out for? Should I try to find exactly the same size?

Thanks
S

Joined: Mar 2 2004

A light would require additional wiring.

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Joined: Mar 22 2003

We put ours through the wall. It is actually installed high up inside our tile shower. It works great. No way were we going to cut into our (then) new foam roof! As great as foam is, you are just asking for trouble, if you have a 100% flat roof like we do, by cutting into it.

Cathye

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Joined: Oct 7 2004

cathye wrote:
We put ours through the wall. It is actually installed high up inside our tile shower. It works great. No way were we going to cut into our (then) new foam roof! As great as foam is, you are just asking for trouble, if you have a 100% flat roof like we do, by cutting into it.

Cathye

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Hi

I am interested in installing a fan in my bathrooms as well. Could you tell me what is the brand and model number of the fan you installed?

thanks so much

David

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Joined: Sep 22 2004

Yes, I'd like to hear which kind of fan you used as well. The previous
owner of our house cut vents into the wall to the outside, but there
aren't fans. I haven't been able to find a fan which is the right size.

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Joined: Mar 22 2003

Hi David:

Ours is a Nutone, though it does not have a model # on it. We have been happy with it. It is quiet and seems to work well. The only caveat is that the contractor we were working with at the time, for the bath remodel, was fond of buying cheap Home Depot stuff, rather than letting the homeowner choose whatever they wanted, so we did not shop around for other choices -- he just brought it over and installed it. (Live and learn).

I believe if you check around to home improvement forums (such as http://www.thathomesite.com) you will find that Nutone is considered a decent product (Randy, let us know if you disagree). You may also want to check the Panasonics, as I have seen them featured in a local high-end kitchen and bath showroom.

Cathye

Joined: Mar 2 2004

A noisy fan can have a big effect on 'quality of life' issues. Some Nu-Tone fan models are noisier than others. I think the more expensive models are fine. Some cheaper models are very loud. It's important to listen to the floor samples and compare before purchasing. There is a brand new Nu-Tone model available with special ordering. I ordered one of these since I had an application that needed to be very quiet. I can hardly tell that the fan is working, it is so quiet. The model designation is Nu-Tone Ultra Silent, but it's new, different and special order. It needs a 6" round duct instead of the common 4" duct. This makes no difference in an Eichler, since there is no duct, just a cover on the roof. The Panasonic models are top-rated by Consumer Reports and are also very quiet, more expensive and harder to find.

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Joined: Oct 7 2004

Thanks for your input, I am looking forward to getting one and installing it myself (right on regarding cutting a hole on the roof, the wall is the way to go...)
thanks!

David

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Hi David:

Ours is a Nutone, though it does not have a model # on it. We have been happy with it. It is quiet and seems to work well. The only caveat is that the contractor we were working with at the time, for the bath remodel, was fond of buying cheap Home Depot stuff, rather than letting the homeowner choose whatever they wanted, so we did not shop around for other choices -- he just brought it over and installed it. (Live and learn).

I believe if you check around to home improvement forums (such as http://www.thathomesite.com) you will find that Nutone is considered a decent product (Randy, let us know if you disagree). You may also want to check the Panasonics, as I have seen them featured in a local high-end kitchen and bath showroom.

Cathye

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Joined: Feb 3 2005

cathye wrote:
We put ours through the wall. It is actually installed high up inside our tile shower. It works great. No way were we going to cut into our (then) new foam roof! As great as foam is, you are just asking for trouble, if you have a 100% flat roof like we do, by cutting into it.

Cathye

You say its High, how did you get around the beem? I just had a foam roof installed (thanks durafoam) and now I'm totally bumed because I didn't put in a fan in the master bedroom shower area. I was thinking of putting one in the wall but the 4 x 12 beem is in the way if I wanted to put it up high. I really need to get a fan in there but I'm kinda stuck.

Anyone have a suggestion on who I could call to install one for me?

-paul

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Joined: Mar 22 2003

Ours is in the middle. Not loud. Not soft. When I am down the hall, I can just tell that it is on. Some would consider having a noisy bathroom fan a plus...

CLS

Joined: Mar 2 2004

I have noticed that fans get louder as the fan blade gets a dust and dirt build-up. I have not bothered to clean a fan, and see if it gets quiet again.
Retro-fitting a fan, electrical, pipes or a skylight is not risky on one of our roofs. You just have to know the right practices and materials. If Paul wants a fan, it will require cutting a square hole in the roof and the installation of a housing for the fan, and another penetration for the electrical conduit coming up from the switch and over to the fan housing. Naturally, it is a little easier to install this while a roof is 'in progress'. I don't believe it will cost Paul even $100 more now, than before.
In fact, some of the plumbing contractors that work on Eichlers prefer to install replacement pipes AFTER the roof is in place. We have no problem with this at all. It makes our job easier, and the finished work looks a little neater.

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Joined: Feb 3 2005

That is great news Randy. I would really prefer to have it in the ceiling. Given your feedback sounds like this will not be a problem at all.

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