DIY Attic Air Duct Protector/Bridge

When you buy a house you’ve gotta take the good with the bad. We already love this house but it needs some TLC. One thing I had to fix before it got worse was our air duct. It was in bad shape already, but even worse, every time somebody had to get to the attic above the kitchen they had to crawl over the already damaged air duct. This is the shape it was in when we got it:

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The duct is bent and collapsing in on itself and there are tears/holes in the tape patching it up because the only way to get across currently is to do this:

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Not ideal. Especially with the electrician and plumber coming in a few days, who both need access to the other side of our attic- they could end up damaging the duct even further. Time to use some of those engineering skills!! I decided to design and build a bridge that would protect the duct when people needed to get to the other side. I could not help getting fancy and planning it in my 3d program:

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Since I haven’t been able to get my garage fully stocked with power tools… yet… I got some help cutting boards from Home Depot. We chose the pink boards (get Katelyn’s hint in our previous post now?) because they were the cheapest and because cosmetics weren’t exactly at the top of our priority list with this project.

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When you get the boards home no need to cut, you can just start assembly! I started by building the legs that I would secure to studs in the attic on either side of the duct.

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I used L brackets in the corners for added stability. They were pricier than the wood itself, but definitely worth it to make our bridge structurally sound. Here you can see the legs for both sides of the duct, with the L brackets on the inner corners.

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Up in the attic, I started by securing a long support board to the studs in the attic floor along the front side of the duct. Then I used more L Brackets to secure one set of legs to the support board.

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Then I carefully crawled over and did the same thing to the other side. Once the legs were in place, I nailed 7 boards across the top of both legs to make the top of our bridge.

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I had to add some additional support because it wobbled some when I tested it out. I used some extra scrap wood and cut 45 degree angles on both ends and screwed it into the legs and base support (see picture below). I pre-drilled pilot holes to make those 2.5″ screws go in easier and prevent the heads from stripping.

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Nearing completion:

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I added similar supports to the legs at the back of the duct as well.

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All done! Now anyone who needs to can get around our attic without damaging our air duct anymore.

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Not sure if you can see it in the picture above but I also used a power sander to make sure the edges were smooth and splinter free. Also please note the face mask which you NEED if you’re going to be in the attic for more than 1 minute. Trust me.

Here is the budget breakdown:

  • 7x 2″x4″x92″ studs at $1.87 – total of $13.09
  • 8x Framing Anchor (L brackets) at $2.57 – total of $20.56
  • Lots of 2-1/2″ nails ~ $0.20
  • Lots of 2-1/2″ wood screws ~ $0.40
  • Sandpaper ~ $0.50

Tools/Misc

  • Hammer
  • Drill
  • Facemask
  • Oscillating sander (optional)

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Attic Prep Part 5- Insulation Situation - Evan & Katelyn - June 21, 2013

    […] see where I was stepping/scooting. Then I added a couple of the pink boards left over from our air duct bridge to give myself additional footing. This made it possible to actually move around and finally finish […]

  2. It's Curtains For Ya! Curtains! - Evan & Katelyn - July 3, 2013

    […] after getting our electrical problems fixed, getting a new roof, building a duct bridge in the attic, installing new floors, fixing a non-draining toilet, clamping a slow-leaking pipe, […]

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