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We want to install 2"x14" heat registers into the toe-kick area under our kitchen cabinets. We want the type where we can control the output, but only find them in floor registers. Can we use a floor register/diffuser in a toe-kick application?

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  • What if there's a spill in the kitchen, and liquid enters the register? Something to think about.
    – Criggie
    Jul 15, 2022 at 8:54
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    @Criggie Would figure registers on the toe kick(above the floor) would be nicer to have in case of a spill going down.
    – crip659
    Jul 15, 2022 at 10:45
  • In our condo they have adjustable vents on the "wall" of the toe kick in the bathroom. I've no idea if these are technically floor vents.
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 15, 2022 at 12:58
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    Speaking as a DIYer with decades of experience, you can use almost anything for whatever you want without a manufacturer or anyone else coming after you, unless it's illegal to do so. You could use the floor register as a ceiling register, if that's the right size. Or you could use it to filter dirt away from the carrots you picked in your garden. Or as faux brake coolers on a boxcar derby. Or as an eye-slot for an oversized robot costume. The possibilities are nearly endless and the answer is almost always "yes" when people say "can I use... for..." ;-) Jul 15, 2022 at 20:06

2 Answers 2

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I have done so on several occasions in cabinetry I've put in my house, and I've seen such in my old cabinet-maker job's customers' houses. As long as the register fits in the toekick, it's good. Go for it!

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  • Since the floor registers I've researched don't have screws for mounting how can they be attached to a toe-kick?
    – RET
    Jul 15, 2022 at 4:07
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    @RET if you cut the opening snugly, they'll slip right in. I've had one in my kitchen cabinet toe kick for 30 years and it's never fallen out. The other option would be to drill holes for mounting screws. In the toe kick, the only ones that'll really see it are the dogs and the 2 year olds, and their opinions of your modifications aren't all that important. ;)
    – FreeMan
    Jul 15, 2022 at 11:42
  • I have used toe kicks many times as a place to mount registers about the only time it won’t work well is with coved flooring the coving takes up two much room to allow the registers to fit.
    – Ed Beal
    Jul 15, 2022 at 14:28
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No reason I can think of not to do so. Should be purely mechanical and passive, and (unlike adapting plumbing or electrical things) no safety issues.

The one problem, as noted in a comment, is mounting the register. Some registers mount with screws. But a floor register can be simply fit into place with gravity keeping it there. Depending on the design, some options for mounting a "floor" register vertically include:

  • Drill a hole on each end and use wood screws to attach to the toe-kick.
  • Glue the register to the toe-kick.
  • Glue strong magnets to the toe kick and attach the register to the magnets, provided the register is made out of steel.
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    After doing more research we found that the floor registers work with gravity and don't have screws to mount them. How could a floor register be attached to the toe-kick under the cabinets?
    – RET
    Jul 15, 2022 at 3:13
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    @RET - a little silicone will go a long way
    – Jon Custer
    Jul 15, 2022 at 13:05
  • Yea, a bit of bathroom/kitchen-grade silicone sealant will hold up that register for decades.
    – Mast
    Jul 16, 2022 at 7:47

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