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How to Handle Exposed Ductwork Projects

Wednesday, September 25, 2019 10:00 am MDT

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Bob Reid

I recently had a son graduate from college. To celebrate, my wife and I took a group out to a week-old new restaurant.

My wife groaned as I took out my cellphone and started taking pictures of the exposed duct system. Hey, it’s what I do for a living. Architecturally exposed duct systems have become popular for a number of different reasons, but as a “duct guy,” I take particular pride in the many successful installations of which I’ve been a part. I’m also curious about how others design, fabricate and install exposed duct systems. I see some great ideas on how to handle some applications. I also see bad installations and things to avoid. As I took pictures of the exposed duct in this brand-new restaurant, all I could think of was “Some people just shouldn’t do exposed ductwork.”

This duct was only 10 feet above the floor and painted red, so it was hard to miss. At various places along the duct there were creases and big dents. The ends of the spiral duct were banged up as if someone pried on them with a screwdriver.

Maybe 99 of 100 guests in that restaurant would have never noticed. But this was not a good exposed duct installation. And I doubt the owner or the architect, walking through the new restaurant, were pleased either. I’ve been around enough though, to understand how this scenario played out. It may not even have been the sheet metal contractor’s fault. These ducts could have been damaged in shipment. The painter may have run into the duct with a scissor lift. Or it could have been the sheet metal contractor’s fault.

Click here to read more about how to handle exposed ductwork.

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