Ok. So here's the deal. Against my better instincts I am installing a bathroom ceiling fan. I cut the hole in the ceiling to be bigger because the old fan was smaller. However, I cut it in the wrong direction.

The template shows the to cut the hole so the joist is on the long side but the way I cut it my joist is on the opposite side from where it needs to be for wiring and venting. Can I just drill some holes and attach it on the other side of the housing or should I widen the hole and install it the correct way, bearing in mind there will be a gap in the ceiling with the correct installation?

Wishing I had not started it but the wife wanted a more modern light fixture. Suggestions appreciated before I go any further.

  • 2
    Patching drywall should be easier than trying to make it fit in the wrong place.
    – crip659
    Commented Mar 9 at 18:46
  • 1
    Just patch the hole in the drywall...
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Mar 9 at 19:26
  • If the wiring and venting will fit, add a 2x4 to the joist to move the fan box over. If I misunderstood and you need to be perpendicular, add a 2x4 between the joists.
    – RMDman
    Commented Mar 9 at 21:32
  • Chances are high that spinning the unit 90° will put the exhaust in the wrong spot. Commented Mar 10 at 14:02

1 Answer 1


I’d cut the hole so that you can install the fan per instructions. I would install, then patch. The silver lining is that you’ll have more room to work with when installing your fan, which is especially nice if your attic is cramped.

Other note, the box/housing for the fan is always smaller than the cover. If the cover is big enough to hide the hole, you’ll still want to patch it but you won’t have to worry about it being a pretty job.

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