Hardwood Floor Heating Vents - Types

Doing a refinish job and tired of those ugly metal vents? Basic sizes and styles are available in virtually any hardwood specie be it common Red or White Oak, Maple, Hickory, Walnut, Cherry, or some exotics like Brazilian Cherry and Santos Mahogany. You can even find bamboo floor vents.

What Types Of Vents? Self Rimming

Most common and simplest to install for an existing floor would be a self rimming vent. In other words, this one can simply be dropped into the existing heating duct opening, while resting on the hardwood floor just like the old metal one you’re tossing in the garbage. These types offer a round over or square edge appearance. The popular styles include louver, slotted, and egg crate.

Flush Mount Vents

Flush mount, often called infloor vents (shown above) are usually installed when the actual floor is, but can be installed into existing floors with careful precision. On final appearance these vents offer a seamless fit against the rest of the hardwood floor.

Installation methods differ as some professionals use a variety of tools, but will depend on how much space is involved. A router provides the cleanest results. However standard floor vents are usually located near walls, where a router sometimes cannot make one Multimaster toolsingle pass around a template that would be needed.

If you haven’t heard of the Fein Multimaster, now may be the time. It’s small, lightweight and can reach all those harder to get at places that would be required with vents located near baseboard or walls. Aside of it’s versatility and easy handling, it makes a professional cut without all the dust other tools cause.

Prefinished Floor Installation Examples

Our photo below shows an installation in progress. Installing vent in hardwood floorDepending on which direction the floor is laid, the only difficult areas become the sides where the hardwood runs parallel to the vent ends. In this case the right side of the vent has a board that has been trimmed to fit around the vent.

The other sides (top and bottom) should intersect at a 90 degree angle to the tongue of the board being installed against it.

Job #2 Brazilian Cherry Diagional

Our second example involved what was a straight lay installation. However a bay window area of a kitchen had the vents aligned on a 45 degree angle to the direction of the hardwood floor. The installer who had only a year under his belt on the installation end struggled for about ten minutes trying to free hand cut the hardwood around the vent frame with a jig saw.

Needless to say he wasn’t getting anywhere with it, as the inside miters (four) were the troublesome spots. I suggested setting up a simple jig he could use with the table saw. Folks, don’t do this at home! Chances of kick back from the table saw is great. Essentially what we did was cut a scrap piece on the miter saw at a 45 degree angle. We then used that as the jig or guide against the table saw fence. This created a perfect cut making for a snug fit.

Brazilian Cherry floor vent
Jig on table saw

Where Can I Find These Vents?

Home Depot? Lowes? Yea, if you're looking for standard metal vents and Red Oak. That's about all the big box stores carry. They do have a number of designs but why look there when there are numerous sources on the web?

Prices found on the web run in the range of $ 25.00 to $ 40.00 for standard sized (4" x 10") flush mounted vents ranging from Red Oak to exotics like Brazilian Cherry and Santos Mahogany. Self rimming costs typically run on the lower side. The more intricate egg crate can be obtained in the $ 40.00 to $ 60.00 range for 6" x 10"

How About Prefinished Stained Floor Vents?

Fretworks International lists stain colors available in nearly all of the Bruce and Mirage hardwood lines. Some of the more sought after stain colors include Butterscotch, Gunstock, and Saddle.