Covering Exposed Ductwork

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated May 19, 2021)

Is there really anything that is more unattractive in a home, than to see exposed ductwork? While some may think that the industrial look is an attractive decorating option, if you don't you are going to need to do something with it. The most basic of choices is to cover that exposed ductwork. If you are interested in covering exposed ductwork yourself, then keep reading. This article will illustrate how you can do your own work in this; however, this article will not describe how to finish the new wall or ceiling that you will be putting in.

Materials needed:

  • Ladder
  • Long carpenter's level
  • Short carpenter's level
  • Circular saw
  • Drill
  • Stud finder
  • Dust mask
  • Drywall
  • Hammer
  • Framing nails
  • Drywall screws
  • Drywall bit
  • Dust mask
  • Utility knife


  1. Check your local regulations. Before you begin covering any exposed ductwork, you should first take a look at your local regulations. Each city, county, and state have their own regulations dealing with renovations, and it is always a good idea to take a look at these prior to beginning any work. Otherwise, you may find yourself needing to make costly repairs on top of your costly renovation project.
  2. Plan your work. Once you have an idea of what your local regulations are, it is a good idea to plan out your work. Take a few pictures of the area before your work, so that you have a reference of where the ducts are at for future use. Draw out a blue print of what you are looking for in your project. Plan on having at least one inch of clearance around your ducts to prevent any rattling or rubbing that can come from expansion and contraction of the ducts. After you have drawn your blue print, take some measurements and mark them on your blue print.
  3. Gather materials. Once you have your blue print in hand, it is time to gather your materials. Make sure that you purchase enough lumber (preferably 2x4s) to make your frame, as well as enough drywall to cover your new work.
  4. Build a frame. Bring your materials home, and begin making your frame. If you did not get your lumber and other materials precut at the local home improvement store, use a circular saw to cut the 2x4 lumber to size. Layout all the pieces of lumber as you finish cutting them, in the order described by your blue prints. This way, as you go through your work, you will always have the correct piece of lumber on hand. If necessary, use a stud finder to locate a starting stud for you to begin building your frame off of. Build your 2x4 frame around the exposed ducts, in the same manner that you would frame a wall until all of your exposed ducts have been surrounded. Make sure that you leave a minimum of one inch around the ducts to allow for expansion and contraction of the ducts.
  5. Cut drywall. After you have framed the ducts, it is time to begin cutting your drywall to size. Remember to double check each and every measurement before you begin cutting, to avoid making any mistakes with the drywall. Use a utility knife to score the drywall prior to breaking to ensure a smooth, clean break. As you finish cutting and sizing each piece of drywall, number the interior facing (or backside) of the drywall, and place a corresponding number on your blueprint. These numbers will tell you what order you should use each piece, and place each piece near where you will be using it.
  6. Attach drywall. Utilizing a drill, drywall drill bit, and some screws, begin to attach the drywall to your frame. Be very careful as you attach the drywall to the frame with the screws, since you don't want to break the paper that covers the drywall. Using a drywall bit will help you ensure that you don't do this, and help protect the drywall.
  7. Clean up. When you have finished attaching the final piece of drywall, all you need to do now is clean up. Sweep up the dust, dirt, and grime that you created from cutting the drywall and lumber. After you have swept up the floor, go over everything with a vacuum as well.

Congratulations, you are now finished with covering your exposed ductwork. All that you have to do now is some relatively simple cosmetic work. You can do this work yourself, or you can simply hire another person to finish the cosmetic work.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


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