Thursday, October 14, 2010

Spray Painted Vent Covers

When we renovated our powder room recently and after my husband was finished I went to put the old, dingy, white vent cover back into the floor and thought it was ridiculous to replace everything in the bathroom including the floor and not replace the vent. So I went out and bought a beautiful oil rubbed bronze (ORB) vent cover and stood back and admired it. Yes, it was beautiful but I realized it was almost the exact color of the door handles I spray painted a few months before.

So I got a wonderful cheap idea...spray paint my horribly beaten up metal vent covers throughout the rest of the house! I would have loved to pull out the one I had just installed and returned it but it was in the vent really tightly and wasn't going anywhere.

I got out my ORB Krylon spray paint (personal favorite) from my huge collection of spray paints and removed the vent covers.
All our vents are on the outer walls of the rooms and don't get very much traffic so I did not sand them.

I started by removing the movable flappy thingies (yes, that is the technical term) used to close the vent.  To do this work on one side of the underside of the vent and gently push back the piece of metal that the two flap posts are inserted into. Once both flaps are removed from one side, they simple slip out from the other side.
I spray primed with gray spray paint first. Always spray the underside (or unseen side) first.  This will allow the top to dry without any marks.

Once the primer is dry, do three light coats of spray paint. Again, start on the underside and be sure to get in all the cracks.  Flip over and do the top with three light coats.

Once dry, install the flaps carefully back into the vent.  Mine could only go in one way so be sure the flaps can move and close the vent before installing them.
Before and After :

I have not had any chips on these as of yet and they look so much better.  All new vent covers for a $5 can of spray paint!



  1. Ok - I so love this simple "up-grade". I am so going to be obsessed with doing mine now! Add it to my project list!

  2. Thanks for this post. I need to do this because I haven't been able to find new covers. Now I just need to pick up the spray paint.

  3. Oh what a terrific idea...I have lots of ugly vents, but that's going to change. Thanks, and have a lovely weekend.

  4. Ive been meaning to do this to ours for awhile and we have HUGE ones in our old floors! Thanks for making an easy reference:)

  5. That's great! I did the same thing in one room ( but you've given me the inspiration to do the rest. Looks good!

  6. I'll never forget the look on my husband's face when I told him I was going to paint our cold-air returns- I thought he'd die!

    Those look BEAUTIFUL & now I'm grabbing a can to finish my bathroom's vent.

  7. I JUST FOUND YOU SITE AND I AM IN LOVE WITH IT!!! thank you for the tips like these, they are wonderful for people on budgets

  8. I am going to spray paint my vents after re-doing all of the floors on our first floor. This is genius and sooo much less expensive! Thanks so much for the tutorial and great pictures!

  9. We did our vent covers with flat black from Krylon and loved the results. We also sprayed inside the ducts that were visable from eye level for a cleaner look.
    We love your blog.
    Keep up the great work we need new ideas with pictures of how to do them ourselves!

  10. I just got my hardwood floors refinished and since the floor vents are out while the polyurethane dries, I will be spray painting today!! Thanks!

  11. This is such a wonderful idea! I am going to be spray painting all of our vent covers now. Thanks! =) Love your blog.

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  31. Here is a shorter method to spray paint doorknobs, vent covers, and other shiny metallic items... If you use the Rust-Oleum Universal All Surface Metallic Spray Paint and Primer in One, you DON'T have to sand or use a separate primer first. It comes in several colors, too. I used it to paint my doorknobs with no problems. They look great and were a lot less work than sanding and priming before painting. I just did 3 very light coats of the spray paint, and I was finished!

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  33. They look great! I can't wait to get the spray paints out for spring. Unfortunately, here in MN it's currently snowing and we're under a winter weather advisory for the rest of the week :( If you do notice the paint chipping with use, another idea would be to have your floor people make grates to match the flooring. When we had hardwood put in a few years ago they made custom grates that sit flush with the floor, the same wood and finish so they really disappear. I think they were only about $20 per register, and they are one of our favorite features.

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