I purchased a ceiling fan (this model) to install in my house's top-floor bedroom. I assumed that all I would need is a fan-rated retrofit brace and ceiling box (example) to replace the inevitable builder-grade box.
Once I got around to removing the existing ceiling box and peeking inside, things got a bit more interesting. Instead of attic joists and insulation, I found myself looking into an empty space, about 8 inches tall, with a second ceiling above it. My house underwent a full remodel under previous owners in 2005; I think they decided to install a second drop ceiling rather than deal with asbestos remediation in the existing popcorn ceiling. So my actual ceiling structure looks like this:
Through my limited vantage point (sticking a cell phone into the box hole and peeking around), I can see thin metal beams running across the ceiling. The visible ceiling drywall is screwed to these beams. The beams are about 2 inches tall, and are not structural - I can push on them with my hand and feel a bit of flex. The old ceiling box was hung from these beams using a metal brace, and that was OK for a 10 lb cheap light fixture that was previously in place, but I don't think this is appropriate for a ceiling fan.
I am now wondering how to best go about installing appropriate support for the fan, without tearing up the visible ceiling or extensively messing with (presumably asbestos-laden) old popcorn ceiling. I found one product that is designed for a tiled drop ceiling that may also work here (link) - the idea being to go into the attic, nail a brace across two ceiling joists, and hang the box from that brace, while also expanding the side struts to make contact with the drywall support beams for lateral stability.
My questions are:
- Is this an appropriate product for my fan installation? Are there others I should look at?
- Any tips for actually installing something like this, and aligning the ceiling box, the hole I will need to make in the old ceiling, and the brace, and getting the box to be at the right height? I am concerned that the product I referenced assumes that for it to be adjusted to the installation site, a whole ceiling tile can be removed, creating lots of working space. I don't have that luxury - all I have is a drywall hole that is large enough for an octagonal box.