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We are redoing our bathroom and this is the last piece of the bathroom remodel puzzle (besides caulking and paint touch ups).

The old register is nasty looking and broken and needs to be replaced. It’s not worth trying to repaint or anything like that. It looks like the old owner just cut off the left part of the register. This leaves me a nice 6x12 hole.

The issue with just picking any old wall vent cover is the molding. The left is completely tight to the molding and no vents would fit without cutting out the molding or modifying the vent. We would much prefer to not cut out the molding if at all possible.

What would you all do?

P.S. I know the ‘baseboard’ is door trim. My wife really wanted it and our floor is flat enough to not need to scribe anything out. We both think it looks fine.

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    I'm not sure what problem you're facing. Plenty of louvers are surface-mount, so the size and shape of the duct opening are largely irrelevant. FYI, "flush with" doesn't mean the same as "tight to".
    – isherwood
    Commented May 29 at 16:44
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    Can you find+buy a 6" by 10" (anything less than 12") register to to the job, and plaster in a vertical 2" strip on the left?
    – Criggie
    Commented May 30 at 3:51

2 Answers 2

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I see three options to avoid cutting the molding:

  1. Cut the vent (register).
  2. Use a register that's less wide, e.g. instead of a register for a 12x6 duct use one for a 10x6 duct.
  3. Shift the duct opening a couple inches to the right to accommodate the flange of the register.
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    #3 should be #1, in my book. It's the simplest approach and may not have any real downsides.
    – isherwood
    Commented May 29 at 23:52
  • I wish I could do #3, but that is a huge undertaking. It would involve 5/8” plaster repair and cutting out/moving a load bearing stud. When they framed up the house, they framed it with a 12” gap between the studs in that area specifically for the air vent. Also, all the vents in my house are solid, non-flexible venting.
    – Jamo Kisor
    Commented May 30 at 3:43
  • @isherwood depending on the tools available, they are listed in order of amount of work.
    – Huesmann
    Commented May 30 at 12:44
  • @JamoKisor what do you mean by "solid, non-flexible?" Standard galvanized sheet metal? If so, it's still possible to shift at least the opening a couple inches sideways.
    – Huesmann
    Commented May 30 at 13:23
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    When it comes to moving the actual ductwork/opening, that’s a no go. There are studs on both sides of the galvanized sheet metal that makes up the ducting. The span between the studs are exactly as wide as the ducting, so 12” apart vs the normal 16” on center that the rest of the wall has. I have decided to screw in a piece of 2x4 onto the side touching the door molding and to get a smaller 6”x10” register and I should be able cover all of the gaps that are not going to be covered by the frame of the register with some 20min mud and caulk.
    – Jamo Kisor
    Commented May 31 at 18:08
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If the duct is relatively tight to the drywall, you could just buy an "airvent cover". This is an almost flat piece of metal or plastic, with holes for the air to pass through. You can screw it on the wall, even though the duct behind it is not as wide as the cover.

You may benefit from plastering in a narrow piece of drywall on the left side and painting the edge on right side black. This would make it look symmetric if the wall is visible through the cover.

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  • This is my proposal as well, but you can get overlay louvers which also allow some control over airflow.
    – isherwood
    Commented May 31 at 12:59

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