Types of Duct Work


Ductwork is the means by which air moves throughout a home or business from the heating or cooling system. Because there are different types of heating and cooling systems available, there are also different types of ductwork available for these applications. Ductwork is available in different sizes, shapes and configurations for ease of application, and the exact type of ductwork will depend upon the job it will do.


  • Duct board is compressed fiberglass board that is popular for creating rectangular shaped ductwork. It is inexpensive and easy to work with. It cuts easily with a utility knife and comes already insulated. The seams seal with adhesive or duct tape. Common uses are applications between rafters and floor joists or along an existing ceiling.

Round Metal Pipe

  • Round metal pipe is the least expensive and most common type of ductwork. It comes in different diameters and lengths. There are different configurations available for turning the ductwork in various directions and angles. Each piece of metal pipe ductwork comes with a crimped end on one side to fit it into the adjoining piece. The metal pipe ductwork joins with small sheet metal screws. Another common use is as a branching addition off larger rectangular ductwork.

Rectangular Duct

  • Rectangular duct is made of 30 gauge galvanized metal. Commonly used to run ductwork between rafters or floor joists, rectangular duct is available in various lengths. The sections join with sheet metal screws. It is the most difficult to construct in an existing building.

Flexible Duct

  • Flexible duct is a flexible round duct material, made so that sections will bend or angle in almost any direction. It is the most common type of ductwork for use in existing buildings because of its versatility. It consists of an accordion-type plastic liner that is surrounded by insulation. It can be difficult to seal and can be inefficient if not installed correctly. Plywood or sheetrock "boxes" often enclose the flexible ductwork to aid in efficiency.


  • Before beginning the installation of ductwork, one should check the county or city building codes to make sure which type of ductwork is required in the intended situation. Some building codes may require a professional specifically trained in its installation. In addition, certain heating or cooling systems may require that specific types of ductwork be installed.

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