How do I get some ceiling vents to stay in place?
June 15, 2010 1:02 PM   Subscribe

How do I get a ceiling vent to stay in place?

I’m renovating the basement apartment in my house and there’s a problem that’s stumping me. I need to put up two ceiling vents, and I can’t figure out how to get them to stay in place. They are supposed to be screwed in place, but the vent is just a little too large and any screws put through the screw holes at each end of the vent only meet with air. I’ve tried caulking them up. I’ve tried using mounting tape. I’ve tried using magnets. The magnets held the vents in place for quite awhile but eventually the vent would fall out of the ceiling. I’ve looked for some kind of brackets I could screw into place at each end of the vent, but can’t seem to find anything that would work.

I need something that will bear the weight of the vents long-term and hopefully also not look terrible or prevent easy removal and replacement of the vents. I’ve thought of trying adhesive Velcro tapes next. Does anyone have any better ideas?
posted by orange swan to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
Can you post a picture of what you're trying to do? It's not terribly clear here.

What are you trying to screw them into? Normally they're attached to the ceiling joists and they're often sized to fit in-between two joists. On an older home, the joists may be spaced too far in which case you'd want to attach some 2x between two existing joists in order to secure the vent.

This only works if you have access to the joists though.

Suspended ceilings are different, you might have a vent sized to fit the ceiling rails.
posted by bondcliff at 1:17 PM on June 15, 2010

Use liquid nails to fasten a threaded insert (regular gyproc units will be fine) where the holes in the vents are. If the hole in the ceiling is so large that the construction adhesive won't stay then use spray foam to fill the gaping hole and then use the construction adhesive to hold the threaded insert.
posted by Mitheral at 1:42 PM on June 15, 2010

Maybe some toggle bolts could be used to span the open space and hold the vents in place.
posted by orme at 1:46 PM on June 15, 2010

If you have a couple of small scraps of duct metal and a few sheet metal screws, you could just attach a couple of tabs inside to opening of the duct to line up with the holes on the vent. Pre-drilling pilot holes for everything will save aggravation.

A couple of scraps of wood could work as well (be sure to pre-drill)
posted by bonobothegreat at 1:56 PM on June 15, 2010

Get a piece of lath that will allow you to make two pieces, each a little longer than the width of the hole. Place these pieces across the hole in line with where the screw holes in the vent will be when you put it up. Use any good construction adhesice to hold the wood pieces in place. The next day, put the vent in place and screw into the wood backing that you have made.
posted by Old Geezer at 2:13 PM on June 15, 2010

Caulk isn't really designed to be an adhesive, it's a sealant. Construction adhesive (i.e. Liquid Nails, as mentioned above) is what you want.
posted by electroboy at 8:49 AM on June 16, 2010

Best answer: Well, I tried the construction adhesive, which didn't work. Or rather, I had no way of keeping the vents in place long enough for it to set.

I ended up buying a four metal braces, fastening one to each end of the vents with a nut and bolt, and then fastening the other end of each brace to the ceiling with a screw and a wall anchor. It's not an elegant solution but it worked, and by that point all I cared about was that I found *some* way of getting them to stay up that didn't involve me standing there and holding them in place.
posted by orange swan at 4:39 PM on July 16, 2010

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