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We have a bathroom vent that is covered by a thin metal screen. It vents directly into the attic. I want to cover it with drywall. The ceiling is plaster.

I need a piece of backer wood so the drywall can attach to something. This is what I did.

backer wood

I basically screwed the wood to the attic side of the plaster ceiling. It actually goes across the screen frame.

Should I have attached the wood to the wood beams instead. Note: a couple of small pieces of plaster ceiling fell off into the bathroom because of the screws.

I already screwed in the drywall piece from the bathroom.

2

Using backer strips to hold on drywall patches is a standard repair technique. Often the screws holding the backer boards are inserted through sound plaster or plasterboard from the finished room side.

Your approach seems fairly sound, but I would add a few screws from the good side, being careful not to crack the plaster too much as you install. Since you seem to have real plaster, I would predrill the holes, although when screwing through drywall, it is not necessary.

Finally, are you making some arrangement for a real vent to the outside? Moisture vented to an attic space is simply wrong, leading to possible moisture damage and mold. Closing off the bad vent is a start, but not the full solution for the problem. As @JamesOlson points out in his comment, an openable window is adequate ventilation; but if there is none, some other exterior vent is needed.

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    Right. Run screws the other way into the wood (you have to tape the joints down there anyway), or use some construction adhesive to secure the backer strips.Ultimately, the joint compound and tape create a very secure patch that doesn't even really depend on the backers. – isherwood Jan 5 '17 at 22:51
  • I should have predrilled form the attic too I think. I don't have pictures but I have a couple of quarter sized pieces that fell off of the bathroom ceiling where the screws pushed instead of gripped. :) – milesmeow Jan 5 '17 at 23:23
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    If the bathroom has an operable window, that's all the venting that's needed, the least expensive, and the healthiest...as long as it's used. – James Olson Jan 6 '17 at 2:53
  • @JamesOlson Excellent point. I will incorporate it into the answer. – bib Jan 6 '17 at 3:09
  • Whew...we have a window. :) – milesmeow Jan 6 '17 at 9:05

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