I am new to the US and my wife and I are currently thinking about remodeling the 35-ish year old kitchen of the small house we purchased. Part of that remodel is replacing, if possible, the existing downdraft ventilation behind the stove with a range hood + proper exhaust vent.

The kitchen is on the first floor and right above it is the roof sloping downwards / attic space. The cooktop and range hood are (very roughly) in this place:

enter image description here

..and per code we can't really vent 'sidewards' (in the picture quasi upwards) because the houses are probably too close to each other and going downwards (again, per picture direction) might be a bit.. far.

So I think just vertically straight up would make (to me) the most sense, but here comes the question: what sort of contractor does that sort of retrofit? I mean I could in theory drill a hole in the kitchen ceiling and get some rigid ducting and ask a roofer to add a roof vent hood right above.. but after looking a bit around here / googling etc.. I know that's all sorts of wrong.. but what's the trade that DOES do such a work correctly?

All ductwork installers and hvac/plumbing contractors I called so far said they don't do kitchen ducting, so I'd be grateful for any suggestions.

  • Do you have a local kitchen specialist place? They will almost certainly have a referral available. Our relatively small town (40k people) has three for example, two remodel specialists and a custom cabinet company.
    – KMJ
    Apr 17, 2023 at 22:09
  • Home Depo or Loves have contractors, Angi-list have contractor, get at least two offers to compare
    – Traveler
    Apr 17, 2023 at 22:39
  • My electrician installed bath exhaust through the roof similar to that. Really anyone who is willing to get in the attic could do it. Apr 17, 2023 at 23:07
  • 1
    Ugh — contractors from hd or Lowe’s are terrible in this area for a multitude of reasons. Buyer beware. Apr 18, 2023 at 3:18
  • Got an elevation pic of the house from the neighbor's house at the bottom of your pic (the one with the pickup in front)? If you have some eave overhang, that could be an option.
    – Huesmann
    Apr 18, 2023 at 13:46

3 Answers 3


I am surprised HVAC contractors won't do it.

Generally you want an HVAC person who can ensure you don't backdraft your CO devices. In your case you aren't changing the output so you don't have to be too worried.

I have had builders or carpenters do the duct installation and then the hvac guy just reviews it as part of the house hvac.

I don't see why you can't just exhaust out the sidewall of your house closest to your neighbor. I have mine exhausted that way with ~5' from my house wall to my lot line and another 5' from that line to the neighbors house line. Can't tell how close you are to your fence line. My area does restrict doing this with furnace exhaust though.

  • I think (!) I read in the California building code that it's 10feet minimum separation for kitchen exhaust vents (I went through that casually yesterday and now I can't find it anymore, at least not quickly.. codes and such) and I'd have to double check, but our building is about 4-5 feet to the fence line.. and the neighbor's house to the north / up in the picture.. is about the same from the fence line.I might just not have been lucky with HVAC contractors so far and will call a few more. But thanks!
    – anon
    Apr 18, 2023 at 0:34
  • I just ran a renovation for my parents that involved something very similar, in NY. You have no idea how hard it was to find an HVAC professional who would come and do this - at least five companies wouldn't even call me back, let alone come to do the work. Ended up finding someone who's a friend of the architect, and even then I'm worried there are too many elbows! Sep 2, 2023 at 21:46

Roof exhausts are always more complicated than side wall exhaust.

Better check again for permit. Maybe you do not need one, maybe from HOA, just go there and ask.

Sidewall exhaust is simple and anyone can do it with right tool and Drill a 4 or 6 inch hole.

Before drilling make sure there are no water/gas/electrical in the way. Try not to drill in the stud. Other then that you will drill through the plywood, followed by some insulation followed by stucco or what ever it is on the outside wall.

Before you drill with big hole use a 6-12 inch long 1/4 to 1/2 inch drill to drill through to the outside which will be your pilot hole, so you can drill from both sides.

Any handyman for hire can do that, or skilled DIY.

Measure then measure agin and buy the materials.

I ordered this thing on Amazon, and it has survived all my tortures without damage.


You will also need the adapter for you drill


Equipped with materials and tools happy drilling to you.

Go slow no force and no hammer drill

Start from outside and go 1+ inch deep which will give you nice cut in stucco. Then drill from inside. In both cases you are using the previously drilled pilot hole to guide you.

  • 3
    if using a hole saw for this task, stop before you hit stucco and destroy your hole saw. Generally the outside flange of the duct cap will cover any stucco that cracks off and you can use a cold chisel to finish the hole through the stucco. Apr 17, 2023 at 23:52

Try chimney companies.

Anecdotally, when I needed the vent from the gas furnace / gas water heater redone (U.S.), I had a chimney company do it. They also, of course, work on actual chimneys, but they're at least equipped to handle "air vents that go through your walls / ceilings". I doubt they'd want to work on hvac so it makes sense that vice-versa is also true (hvac companies probably not wanting to work on non-hvac related venting), but that's who I'd try calling if you haven't already.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.