How to Install an Air Vent in Drywall

Drywall is a popular material for home construction because it is strong, lightweight, and easy to install. While it is not as fire-resistant as other materials, such as concrete or masonry, drywall can be used to create an effective fire separation between different areas of a home. This article will show you how to install an air vent in drywall. We will also provide tips on choosing the right air vent for your needs. Keep reading to learn more!

Many people don’t realize that air vents and drywall can go together. However, if you want to install an air vent in a wall or ceiling cavity in your home, there is no reason why you can’t!

How to Install an Air Vent in Drywall

Installing an air vent in drywall is simple and only requires a few tools and materials. There are many styles of air vents available for purchase on the market, so you must read the product information before making a purchasing decision.

Required Tools and Materials

  • Nail gun & compressor (or hammer and finishing nails)
  • Router with 1/4 inch bit (if the vent is more comprehensive than 4 inches)
  • Vent to fit the space you’re covering. Generally, the size of the conduit should be about an inch larger than the opening to ensure a snug fit.
  • Tape measure.
  • Pry bar or scoring tool.
  • Circular saw or drywall saw (for cutting additional framing).
  • Drywall screws and drywall compound.

A Detailed Guide on How to Install an Air Vent in Drywall

Step 1: Measure the Existing Air Vent

If you are replacing an existing vent, remove the old vent to measure the covered hole. If you install a new vent, make sure there isn’t one already! Next, determine what size vent you need. A rule of thumb is that your drywall opening should be 1 inch wider and taller than your air duct or return-air opening.

Do this for both the top and bottom of the wall cavity. Also, take note of any obstacles near where you plan on putting in your new grille, leaving room for movement if needed. The image below shows how to take measurements before removing obstructions or cutting out sections of drywall.

Step 2: Convert the Measurements Into Piece of Drywall

Use the measurements you took of your drywall opening to draw on a section of drywall. First, make sure it’s an inch wider and taller than your opening.

Then, use a circular saw or drywall saw to cut out the area for your new grille, making sure to follow any necessary auxiliary framing if needed. If you’re working with metal studs, it may be required to use some pry bars or scoring tools to get a smooth cut edge on your drywall.

Step 3: Cut Out Space for Air Duct Flange and Damper

If there is wood blocking around where your air duct flange will go, it may be necessary to remove that before cutting out space for the damper assembly. A circular saw, or drywall saw can be used to remove obstructions.

First, determine the size of your damper assembly and cut out space accordingly. For example, if your new vent is 6 inches in diameter, you will need an opening that is 9 inches wide for the air duct flange and another three or so inches on each side for the damper mechanism.

Air Duct Flange and Damper

Step 4: Route Air Duct Flange Into Place

Once your hole is cut, and all wood obstructions have been removed, push the air duct flange into place and use a few screws to secure it through the holes provided near the outer rim of the grille.

Next, use drywall screws and drywall compound to create a flush edge with your wall, filling any gaps between where the drywall meets the air duct flange.

Step 5: Cut Space for Dryer Vent Filter Outlet and Damper Assembly

Cut a hole in your drywall, about a half-inch more minor than the outlet of your dryer vent filter. You can use either a router with a 1/4-inch bit or a circular saw to do this. Try to make it as smooth an edge as possible around the circumference of the box.

When you’re finished, push down on one end of your damper assembly and route it into place through the grille’s metal frame by pushing outwards from inside the enclosure.

Secure in place with screws provided with your new vent grill if necessary. If you notice any gaps between where the drywall meets the metal frame of your new vent, apply a small amount of drywall compound and smooth it out to create a seamless appearance.

Step 6: Connect Metal Frame to Damper Assembly

Attach the metal frame to the damper assembly with screws provided with your new vent grill. Secure in place by flipping over your ventilation enclosure and identifying predrilled holes on the bottom rim of the dryer vent cover.

Screws should be included with your purchase; thread them through these holes and tighten them into place. The result should look like this.

Metal Frame Air Damper

Step 7: Cut Out Auxiliary Framing

If you’re working around obstructions like lights or other obstacles, cut out pieces of framing for them so that they can be sealed in place once your drywall is finally finished.

You can use the same tools you’ve already used to cut out sections for your vent frame to do this, but it’s probably more accessible with a reciprocating saw or even a circular saw. This is a crucial step in how to install an air vent in drywall.

Step 8: Fill Cracks Around Auxiliary Framing and Where New Sections Meet Old Ones

Once all auxiliary framing has been removed and replaced with new pieces, fill gaps between where the old section meets the new one with drywall compound. Apply it sparingly so that your grille will fit snugly into place when pushed back into focus.

Once all of these tiny holes have been filled in, cover them entirely with a final application of compound mixing in some paint if necessary to suit the surrounding paint color. Let dry for a few hours to set the combination thoroughly.

Step 9: Reattach Auxiliary Framing and Finish Drywall Application

Once you’re satisfied with how your new vent grill looks, screw in place any additional framing that has been cut out around it, use a reciprocating saw to trim away any obstructions remaining around where your vent cover goes, then dry fit into place and determine whether or not there is sufficient space between where other objects will go (for example, other vents) and the location of your new one.

If necessary, add additional wood blocking to create space before permanently attaching the grille to the wall with screws provided. Paint over these if they won’t be visible from below once your new vent is in place.

Step 10: Finish Drywall Installation

Once additional framing has been installed, dry fit your vent enclosure into place and apply a generous amount of paint to any exposed metal around where it goes so that the area looks more finished. Once you’re satisfied with how it looks, attach to your wall using drywall screws provided with your new vent grill.

Finish Drywall Installation

This will also involve cutting holes through your wall for screws to go into if they aren’t already there–follow the same process as you did when you cut out pieces for the metal frame.

Paint over these small holes as well, or cover them up entirely by reattaching any surrounding obstructions like other vents or light fixtures to create a more uniform appearance once your vent is in place. These steps will help in how to install an air vent in drywall.

Tips and Warnings


  • Use a piece of 1/8 wood as a spacer for the drywall. The staff should not be wider than the hole you are about to cut.
  • When cutting a hole in the drywall, be sure that you have a solid base to cut against. If your staff is too long or not stable enough, it will cause your drywall to crack and splinter during the cut.
  • Marking measurements for where you want your air vent is essential before making any cuts.
  • Do not continue with placement until all studs are marked and measured for location. Also, make sure the view of the vent from inside and outside is visible from an angle.
  • The vents usually come with installation hardware, including expanding foam insulation, duct tape, and screws. Ensure to follow all manufacturer’s directions when installing an air vent into drywall.


  • Expanding foam insulation should not come in contact with any electrical devices.
  • Duct tape is only to seal the vent flap from outside elements and should not be used as a structural component of the vent.
  • When applying screws, tighten them into the studs only. This will help keep your new drywall air breezes free from any squeaks or rattles!
  • Read the manufacturer’s directions thoroughly before installation.
  • If you are not confident in your abilities to install an air vent in drywall, call a professional for assistance.


If you’re struggling with how to install an air vent in drywall, don’t worry! We’ve compiled a step-by-step guide that will make it easy for anyone. Of course, you’ll need the right tools and materials – luckily, we have everything listed on our website. Follow these directions carefully, and soon enough, your new air vent should be installed with ease!

Smart Home Pick