I have a Broan 688 vent in my bathroom. It's incredibly loud, and it doesn't have a light.

I bought a Revent replacement from home depot, which is designed to fit the exact cutout as the Broan. Installing this fan involves removing the Broan housing.

Once I got into the vent, I found out that the previous contractor seems to have stapled my bathroom vent housing to the rafter, making it incredibly difficult to remove (see picture). It also looks like it might be stapled over another bracket of some sort, and I don't know what that bracket's purpose is. I've damaged this housing to the point where I doubt I could get it back in.

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Does anyone have thoughts on how I can get out of this pickle? I don't think I can reinstall the Broan fan due to how much I've bent the housing, but I might be able to bend it back into place. I've also disconnected the duct from the broan housing, and i suspect it will be difficult to reconnect it with the housing stapled into place.

  • 1
    I would try a mini prybar (4 or 5 inches long) to remove the staples and pry the housing away from the wood, but I'm no expert on this.
    – Armand
    Commented Apr 3, 2022 at 17:28
  • 3
    Take heed of Ecnerwal's warning about removing too much metal! There may well be a truss plate fastener there and you do not want to remove that!
    – FreeMan
    Commented Apr 3, 2022 at 17:53
  • 1
    @Armand - but, of course, nobody would think of using an old screwdriver as a prybar...
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Apr 4, 2022 at 20:20
  • More as a wedge to get things to start moving, really... ;-) Prying's going to bend it.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Apr 5, 2022 at 0:50
  • If in doubt, hammer time i.pinimg.com/originals/54/ae/fd/… Commented Apr 5, 2022 at 7:14

3 Answers 3


You've already pretty well mangled the housing and you're planning on replacing the whole thing anyway, so just go to town hacking at it. A pry bar, a hammer, a pair of tin snips, and some sturdy leather gloves should be all you need for this.

Drive the pry bar in with the hammer and bend metal. Figure out where it's attached to the rafters and pry there. Where you can no longer make any progress, cut with the snips to get metal out of the way (wear the leather gloves for this - freshly snipped sheet metal is SHARP and will happily draw blood and possibly a pound of flesh in its battle against you).

Hack. Bend. Snip. Pound. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Eventually you'll have the thing out of there, possibly only leaving the staples or bent nails behind. Without all the rest of the metal in the way, you should be able to get those out.

  • 6
    Thanks! I emailed my old contractor, and his advice was similar. I just pried at it until those nails came out. It was somewhat inelegant, but the housing is out.
    – neelshiv
    Commented Apr 3, 2022 at 17:53

A small prybar, cold chisel, or a screwdiver you don't like much (this is screwdriver abuse) can be driven under the staple to get it moving. There appears to already be space there. Even a large nail might work to get it started, though it might work better if the tip was reground to resemble the screwdriver you wouldn't be abusing.

The cold chisel or a hacksaw could also be used to cut the staple if it just won't pry, but they will usually pry. Beware of using grinders to cut in this sort of situation - they have a history of throwing sparks that may start a fire hours later.

Hard to tell for sure from the picture, but leave the "other bracket" underneath alone - it might be a plate on a trussed floor framing. The "bent-slots" fastening is very like, and what little I can see suggests it might be.

floor truss picture from newlywoodwards.com whoever they are.

  • 1
    Thanks! I commented elsewhere, but I ended up prying the nails out. The other bracket under the vent housing bracket does not seem to have been secured by the nail, so it's still in place. It definitely looks like one of the brackets from your picture.
    – neelshiv
    Commented Apr 3, 2022 at 17:54
  • +1 for screwdriver. I've also found an old scratch awl to be a good way to get started with things like this, especially if you aren't too worried about the wood getting marred.
    – JimmyJames
    Commented Apr 4, 2022 at 14:49

A sawzall metal blade wedged between the housing and the truss will get through any pesky nail or staple that is in the way. Watch for wires.

  • Watch for wires, indeed! Especially wires that may just happen to pass by this location on totally unrelated circuits. Also, watch for mending plates holding roof or floor trusses together as noted in Ecnerwal's answer.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Apr 5, 2022 at 14:08

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