Slim ductwork & other options for rooms with low ceilings

by Kosko Family Real Estate 06/05/2024

If you have a room with a low ceiling, such as a basement, slim ductwork is one option for creating extra space. However, depending on the layout of your existing ducts and HVAC system, it might not be your only choice.

Here is a quick guide to the different types of ductwork options available for rooms with low ceilings:

Flexible ductwork vs rigid ductwork

There are two main types of HVAC ductwork to know: flexible and rigid. Flexible ductwork is ideal for tight rooms, as it can provide airflow while taking up very little space. However, the flexible nature makes it vulnerable to punctures and folds.

Flexible ductwork is extremely durable and difficult to damage. Most rigid air ducts are made from galvanized steel or aluminum and come in a rectangular shape. Rigid ducts are more expensive than flexible ducts, though they can be easier to clean and maintain.

Rerouting existing ductwork

One of the simplest options for creating more ceiling height is to move the ductwork elsewhere. This is a great choice for most unfinished basements or attics, as the process for moving or rerouting the ducts does not require cutting into the ceiling.

To reroute your existing ducts, you just need to remove the duct hangers and reattach them between ceiling joists where there is more clearance. If you don’t have room between joists, you may need a professional heating contractor to help you with rerouting.

Hiding existing ductwork

While hiding your existing ductwork won’t technically create extra space, it can create the illusion of extra space. Some clever design tips for hiding ductwork include:

  • Painting existing ducts to match the ceiling.
  • Concealing the ducts with false wooden beams.
  • Install bulkheads or soffits to surround the ducts.
  • Construct a drop ceiling to create an even ceiling surface.

If you’re not sure which approach is right for your space, consider contacting an HVAC professional for guidance. While there are plenty of ways to handle low basement air ducts or ducts elsewhere in your home, finding the best fit may require expert advice.