How do I hide this hideous radon fan and vent pipe?
September 7, 2013 12:30 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for ideas for hiding this hideous radon fan and vent pipe. In the picture the vent pipe is currently disconnected; when assembled it sits about 2 inches above the gutter. The best solution I have come up with so far is perhaps some sort of shallow 3 sided fence.
posted by steinwald to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
Fix some bamboo screening around it, then add some planters around the outside. Add trellis or netting, and then grow climbing plants such as clematis.

Paint the pipe a dark colour, or a colour that matches the stone somewhat - that'll be much less prominent than white.
posted by pipeski at 12:54 PM on September 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

I would suggest wrapping some fake ivy around it. Fake so that it won't need to be trimmed or treated with pesticides. Also, you don't want to have trouble dismantling it. I would not bother to paint it because it looks like it is a sunny side of the house so it may make the paint tacky in the warmer weather months and it will peel since the pipe looks like it is PVC. You can find cheap fake vine plants at the dollar stores.
posted by Yellow at 1:11 PM on September 7, 2013

Yes, the vent pipe is PVC. And this is the west side of the house, so it is pretty sunny.
posted by steinwald at 1:14 PM on September 7, 2013

A screen or fence would be your best bet. I wouldn't try painting it; a dark color would increase the amount of heat it absorbs in the sun and thus make it expand more, which might put stress on the joints. Plus it's a pain to get paint to stick to PVC anyway.

I'd probably build a three-sided frame out of 1x2s and attach some bamboo fence or reed fence. Then I'd hook it to the pipe with a few outdoor zipties to keep it from blowing over. The zipties shouldn't be holding it up off the ground, just keeping it from falling over. You could also bolt the frame to the side of the house, but obviously that's a little more involved. Whatever you decide, make sure it's removable in case you need to service the fan.
posted by echo target at 1:36 PM on September 7, 2013

For the pipe, you can, in fact, successfully paint PVC. Get a can of this stuff in a color that will blend well with the stone. We've used it on plastic deck chairs (which are outside 24/7 in all weather) with great success.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:48 PM on September 7, 2013

The idea of a reed or bamboo fence is good, but just one short piece in front of the eyesore is going to be weird. Run your fence along the wall, and vary the depth like this. If you can put a couple large pots of greenery out without them dying of heat, it will certainly look much more like outdoor decor rather than hiding something. There's always artificial plants, but get something you can spray green again with the krylon paint as it will sun fade badly.
posted by BlueHorse at 2:43 PM on September 7, 2013

I too have an unsightly radon fan system, but it is luckily on a side of the house that is rarely visible or used, and rarely gets sunlight.

Yours being on the southern side does open the door to planting. I personally would avoid planting aggressive ivies, hops, or anything else that may attach itself to the house or even enter/block the pipe.

So I would agree with those who suggest painting it.
posted by terrapin at 5:52 AM on September 9, 2013

Thanks for all the suggestions. After talking with a contractor we realized that the best solution is to just relocate the system.
posted by steinwald at 10:08 AM on September 11, 2013

Thanks for the follow-up!
posted by BlueHorse at 2:18 PM on September 12, 2013

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