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Common (green) practice is duct sealant plus tape (foil tape is fine). All bends and joins get this. Should be one of the last things you do before drywall though. You don't want to do this, have an open wall for 2 months and be bumping the duct work while doing other stuff.


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It's just a trim piece designed to cover the penetration made by the duct. It was, decidedly, very poorly done, and whoever did it is either very bad at sheetmetal work or has no professional pride. Looks like you could remove the screws and push it up more. You may have to work it a bit. If you don't have a hand brake, you can use a wide nose pliers (like a ...


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As DrSparks answered, no clearance is needed for this. HVAC people will even sometimes even use part of a joist (or other) cavity itself as part of the air path when doing retrofit work, and there isn't another way to get the ducting into the space.


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You don't need any clearance for drywall and environmental air ducts. It could be touching it if you wanted. Heck, you could glue the drywall to the ducts if you wanted to 🤣


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