How to Install Drywall Around Heating Ducts


Never hang drywall directly on heating ducts. Ductwork cannot carry the load of a wall.

It's also critical to keep ductwork as airtight as possible to increase energy efficiency as you move the air you've paid to heat or cool. Therefore, you don't want to poke holes in it with drywall screws.

Framing around ductwork will give you a solid structure on which to hang the drywall and the space to insulate around the ductwork if necessary.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Framing lumber
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Screws
  • Drywall
  • Utility knife
  • Tape
  • Joint compound
  • Sandpaper
  • Measure the area of the ductwork and plan a wall to enclose it.

  • Frame the wall with lumber, spacing the centers of the boards 16 inches apart so that you can reliably predict the location of studs as you attach the drywall. You can build the wall on the floor and then raise it into position around the ductwork.

  • Secure the framing to the ceiling, floor and adjoining walls around the ductwork.

  • Cut the drywall to fit by scoring the front and bending the board away from your body at the score, pushing with your knee or hand. Use the utility knife to cut the paper on the other side of the board.

  • Attach the drywall to the framing by screwing through the board to the studs, using drywall screws. If you have a friend to help, have your assistant hold the drywall in place, pushing it tight against the ceiling. Flooring and baseboard trim will cover any gaps at the floor.

  • Nail or screw in corner beads to any outside corners to help strengthen them.

  • Use tape and joint compound in at least two separate layers to seal corners and gaps between pieces of drywall.

  • Allow the compound to dry between applications, then sand to finish.

Tips & Warnings

  • Whether you place insulation around the ductwork depends on whether your ductwork is inside or outside the conditioned space of the building. If there is insulation between the exterior and the ductwork, you probably don't need to add insulation in your framing before you hang the drywall. Consult with a professional insulation contractor if you have any questions.
  • Drywall will help reduce the noise from the ductwork as it moves air.
  • Always wear eye protection when working with hand or power tools.

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  • Photo Credit ventilation ducts image by Ragne Kabanova from
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