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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July's How To - How To Measure Floor Vents, Air Registers, and Returns

This month we'd like to talk about how to measure floor vents and air registers to ensure you order the right size.

As we discussed last time, the world of floor registers and air vents can be confusing with all the lingo involved. Then, trying to figure out what size you need can be difficult if you aren't familiar with the industry. These easy steps will hopefully make this process as pain free as possible.

Steps To Measure

  • Do not measure your existing vent cover


  • This step may vary depending on your current situation
    • If you are replacing an old register vent, remove that vent. Don't throw away the old air vent until you have found a new one.
    • If you are doing new construction and all you have is a hole, you're good to go.
    • If you have not yet cut your hole, please see our site for common size registers and return air grilles. Cutting odd sized holes will prove to be difficult to fit long term.

  • Once you are looking at your hole, you will want to measure both the width and the height of the hole
    • For floor registers, the smallest measurement is usually first, whether it is the height or width.
    • For ceiling and wall registers and return air grilles, the width is usually listed first and the height second. This will make a difference if you are looking for a 12 x 24 or a 24 x 12 return air grille.


  • When you have your measurements, you can usually round up or down to the nearest whole number
    • Example: If your hole measures 3 7/8 x 9 7/8 , you should be able to use a 4 x 10 floor register depending on the style. You could also use a 4 x10 floor register if your hole measured 4 1/4 x 10 1/2. Most vent faceplates are large enough to support the register and cover the entire hole.
Once you have mastered how to measure floor vents and air registers, you can start to pick out your vents.On our register and vent product pages, you will see a dimensions section that lists the actual damper measurements, the overall faceplate measurements, and the drop in depth. This can help you determine whether or not an air vent will work for you.

Additional Tips For How To Measure Floor Vents

  • Unfamiliar with a tape measure?
    • Here's a breakdown of all those little lines. This style only goes to 1/16", but some will have even more lines and will break down to 1/32".

  • Ordering multiple registers for your entire home or business?
    • Be sure to measure all of the register holes. Frequently when customers are ordering registers for the whole home, they measure a few and assume the others will be the same size. All too often they have to exchange a few for different sizes because they don't fit. Save yourself time and money by measuring all holes thoroughly and correctly throughout your entire home.

  • Do I ever need to measure the existing vent?
    • There are times when the outside measurements of your air vent may come into play. If you are measuring for a baseboard vent we will still need the measurement of the actual hole, but if you are trying to fit it between two pieces of trim without cutting or filling in, additional measurements may be helpful.
    • Also if you are trying to cover paint lines, flooring mistakes, or old screw holes, faceplate measurements may be helpful.
Measuring for register and vents does not have to be difficult. Follow the above steps and you should know how to measure floor vents and what size vent you need in no time.

Still not sure what size you need? Give us a call and we would be happy to help you. We are available Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm CST.

If you already know how to measure floor vents and what size you need, head on over to www.FloorRegisterResources.com to find the perfect vent for your space.

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