Summer Project: Adding vents to the basement

Our house’s previous owner finished the unfinished basement but one thing that was passed over was the inclusion of any duct work in our main basement room. This made for a stuffy feeling in the summer, and extra cold temperatures in the winter. It’s been on our project list for a long time, but I finally bit the bullet, figured out what I needed, and dove into the project. There’s no “before” picture, but the ceiling is a tile drop ceiling.

I chose to use insulated flexible duct instead of rigid metal ducting for the runs from the main supply since the runs weren’t too long. This may not be optimal, but it is very affordable, and we just needed ANY air moving in the room. I put in two registers.

Here’s a little collection of photos that shows much of the process, followed by a quick walkthrough:

1. Gather materials. I bought a box with 25 ft insulated duct (6in), 2 90-degree register boots, register covers and a roll of duct hanging cloth. The cloth was basically like a roll of tape, and was a cheap way to hang the duct from the joists with the help of a staple gun. It was around $3 at Lowe’s. I also bought two round 6 inch “adapters” that tap into the main air supply trunk, to which I fastened the duct. Lastly, I had to buy a couple long zip ties to secure the flex duct to the 6″ adapters.

2. Cut holes in the supply line to fit my 6in adapters. I just traced the outline of the connector with a sharpie and used tin snips to cut the hole. (I used a cordless drill to get the hold started.) Put the connector into the hole and bend all the tabs back to keep the connector in place. Then, use aluminum foil duct tape and tape liberally around the edges to secure it in place and close off any holes air may get through.

3. Attach flex duct to newly fastened connector. Pull back the insulation and tape the duct to the connection, then pull the insulation back up to be flush with the supply trunk if possible. Pull a zip tie tightly around the entire assembly, securing the flex duct around the metal connector/adapter.

4. Route flex duct as straight as possible to where the air will be inserted into the room. Suspend the flex duct from the ceiling using the roll of duct hanging cloth and a staple gun.

5. In my case I had to cut the holes for my registers in the ceiling tiles. I simply traced the outline of the register and cut out the hole using a Dremel. I have used this Dremel a LOT since I’ve moved into the house and would recommend anyone who likes do-it-yourself projects to get one.

6. Attach the 90 degree register boots to the open end of the flex duct using the same method used to attach the duct to the supply trunk.

7. Fasten the register boots and register covers to one another by screwing the covers through the tile and into the metal boots. This was the hardest part of the project for me because the pre-drilled holes in the boots did not line up to the holes in the register covers. I assumed these would be standard, but perhaps because I bought the two pieces from different places they were different. I had to drill new holes in the metal boots and eyeball the alignment a little bit as I screwed in the register covers.

I took a bit of time before the last step to enjoy my work before calling it a night and finishing in the morning.

Overall, this went very well and I’m glad with the outcome. I may still put a return vent on the other side of this room to help pull air through the room. We’ll really find out if there is a difference this Winter.