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How to Adhere a Ceiling Vent to Drywall

Vent covers or registers over duct openings must be removable, so it's best to anchor a vent with screws rather than any type of adhesive. A vent can usually be attached to ceiling joists on either side of the duct for stability. In some cases, however, the duct may not align with the joists, and it may be necessary to attach the vent directly to the drywall. Drywall is a pressed form of gypsum and it has a tendency to crumble, but you can attach the vent securely by using anchors made specifically for use with drywall.

Step 1

Select a lightweight plastic or thin aluminum vent cover.  Vents come in a variety of standard sizes and materials. The less it weighs, the better your chances of successfully installing it into the drywall. 

Step 2

Hold the flat side of your vent against the ceiling, aligning it with the duct.  Use a pencil to mark the holes on each end. Your pencil marks should be at least ½ inch from the edges of the drywall edges surrounding the duct opening.  If not, you'll need a larger vent.

Step 3

Fit your drill with a bit slightly smaller than the diameter of the anchors, and drill a hole into the ceiling drywall at each pencil mark.  Position the drill so the bit stays straight, not slanted to either side.

Step 4

Push the plastic part of the drywall anchor into each hole.  A drywall anchor has two parts: a split plastic anchor with ribbing, which contracts slightly when inserted into a hole, and a threaded screw that fits inside the plastic anchor.

Step 5

Hold the vent cover in place, aligning the holes in the vent with the holes you drilled into the ceiling. 

Step 6

Use a screwdriver to insert a threaded screw into each plastic anchor while holding the vent in place.  Tighten the screw just until it is snug against the vent cover, but do not overtighten. As you insert the screw, the plastic anchor will expand outward, hugging the drywall. 

Things You Will Need

  • Lightweight vent cover
  • Plastic drywall anchors
  • Sturdy ladder
  • Drill with bit
  • Screwdriver
  • Protective eyewear

Tip

  • You may substitute drywall toggle bolt anchors for plastic drywall anchors and follow the same technique. The only difference is that you install the toggle bolt in only one piece, and as you tighten the bolts, two small metal wings will expand into the drywall to hold the vent securely.

Warning

  • Wear protective eyewear to keep drywall dust from falling into your eyes as you drill the holes.

About the Author

Glenda Taylor is a contractor and a full-time writer specializing in construction writing. She also enjoys writing business and finance, food and drink and pet-related articles. Her education includes marketing and a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.