Is it possible to remove and replace this register duct boot without screwing up the dry wall around it?

enter image description here

Large Images: https://imgur.com/a/lh9HIt2


It should just pull out unless it is screwed to the connecting duct or nailed in place. If it is screwed or nailed then those have to be removed. Since I do not see any nails it is probably screwed to the next piece of duct

  • I'm not sure about that, it seems like the edges are locked into place where the dry wall meets. Apr 12 '19 at 19:57
  • Remember in new construction those are installed first, screwed or nailed in place then sheetrock over. I was confused at first by the picture because of the paint color change under the old register cover. I doubt it can be pulled out without damaging the sheetrock.
    – Tyson
    Apr 12 '19 at 23:26
  • I missed a small detail on my first answer. Taking another look at the picture, that register boot has mounting ears that are screwed or nailed into the studs. It is that black dot on the left side of the picture in the middle of the vertical piece attached to the boot on the left side.. It would be very difficult to remove and reinstall.
    – d.george
    Apr 13 '19 at 10:58

Very often the boot simply rests against the back side of the drywall. The sheet metal flange receives the register screws, and the drywall is pinched between the boot flange and register when the register screws are tightened.

You could prove this out by pushing upward on the register; if the register is connected to flexible duct it will easily push upward and away. If there is rigid duct, or it there is insulation pressing down on the boot, it may not move or may be difficult to move. You may be able to remove it from below (if it is flexible duct and there is enough slack) by pushing it up and turning/manipulating it. In my house, the duct is larger than the hole, so the boot cannot be pulled down from below.


I've removed, and then replaced, multiple existing installed duct register boots. How to do it depends on how the boot is secured to existing ductwork, and if/how it is secured to surrounding framing. In cases where the existing boot is secured by fastening a flange to surrounding framing, and reaching a fastener is impossible, I carefully cut off the flange from the boot. In your situation I'd cut the flanges, then use a nail puller to remove them. Getting it detached from the ductwork is a different matter. Assuming you figure out a way to do that, getting a new boot installed shouldn't be a major problem. You may need to cut flanges so they are narrow enough to fit in the existing hole, or alternatively directly fasten the sides of the boot to the surrounding frame. I often just skip to the latter option, take a piece of scrap wood, secure it to the surrounding framing, which gives me something to fasten the boot to.

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