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Registers, otherwise known as air vent covers, help regulate the airflow coming from your HVAC unit in floors, walls and ceilings throughout your home. Not only do they serve an important function, but they can also serve as decorative accents. Replacing your registers is a quick, easy, and relatively inexpensive way to upgrade and update the look of any room.
While many different designs exist, there are also a variety of sizes available, which may vary from room to room. It is important that you measure each register that you’re replacing to ensure that you’re ordering the correct sizes. A common mistake when trying to determine a register's size is measuring the overall length and width of the grille, also known as the face of the register. A register is measured by the size of its louvers, which is the bottom of the register that fits into the ventilation duct. To measure your register properly, remove the existing register from the floor, wall, or ceiling in which it is installed. Then, measure the length and width of the air duct opening. If the size of the duct measures 4"x10", for example, then a 4"x10" register is what you’ll need.
In larger gathering areas, such as the living room and family room, you may find registers that are larger than 8"x14". These bigger registers are referred to as "oversized registers," which can range anywhere from 6"x22" to 9"x22" in a rectangular shape, or 10"x10" up to 15"x15" in a square shape. A size larger than 15"x15" is generally referred to as an air return grille, or a "grille only," meaning that it contains no louvers or adjustable dampers.
Standard register sizes can range anywhere from 2-1/4"x10" up to 8"x14". The most common sizes are 4"x10", 4"x12", 6"x10", and 6"x12" in medium-sized rooms such as bedrooms and dining rooms. Smaller sizes may be found in areas such as laundry rooms, bathrooms, and hallways.
Flush-mount registers are made to fit seamlessly into hardwood flooring. When installed, the register lies flush with the flooring, leaving no raised lip. This type of register is typically made of unfinished wood so that it can be stained to match the color of your floor. Flush-mount registers are easy to keep clean and provide your hardwood flooring with a smooth, continuous feel.
Floor registers simply fit into the opening in your floor. Some registers and air returns can be secured with screws, but that is usually not necessary. Small wall registers are often held into the wall by tension springs or clips. Larger, heavier registers may come with screws for extra security. See our Register Installation Guide for more information on register installation.
While an air vent cover simply covers the opening of your air duct, registers offer the aesthetic plus adjust your air flow from the opening and closing of the louver.
While plastic registers often come at a lower cost, they offer less durability and character than metal options. Metal registers are also a great choice for bathrooms due to their corrosion-resistant properties.
Any of our registers can be used as air returns by removing the louvers and steel box that houses them. This can be done on-site simply by taking out the four screws that hold them in place.
Spring mounted clips are provided with wall registers, giving them wall-mounting capabilities. Without these clips, you could not use your floor register as a wall register. If you’re interested in converting yours, spring-mounted clips can be purchased from any hardware store. A simple DIY fix, attach these clips onto the louver with a screwdriver and push into the duct work for a secure fit.