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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Cover the Ugly Ducts with Soffits

There are times when exposed ductwork can be really cool- other times it's really not. Ours was the latter case.

Our home had survived 40+ years with out central air conditioning, but this changed after we bought it a couple years ago. It was a bit tricky to add a new HVAC system to our 60's split-level because there weren't many hidden places to run the new ducts. Instead, it had to go along the ceiling, waiting for me to deal with later.

So, with our current apartment conversion it is time to build soffitts to cover all the ducts and make it look as pretty as possible. Here's a picture showing the ducts and framing we've done in the bathroom:
You can also see in the picture where we made the closet a little deeper to accomodate the stacked washer/dryer (more on that here).

NOTE: There are a couple different kinds of soffitts. Often this term describes the underside of an eave, or the roof overhang- you may have heard of a soffitt vent which is installed in an eave soffitt to help air flow in the attic. In our case, the soffitt is a framed box that will hide ductwork. They are quite common especially in finished basements where plumbing or ducts are unsightly.
For most of our soffitts we just ripped 2x4s in half and made a grid to fit as snugly as possible without collapsing any of the ducts. Then we pulled out the ol' studfinder and made sure to nail the new framing into the wall studs, otherwise it will not hold and the drywall seams will crack (or worse!).

I like to add some insulation before the drywall because sometimes the ducts can be a little noisy. That will go quickly and I should get the drywall hung tomorrow.


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