Drywall surrounding vent no longer supports screws;


Screws that normally fix the vent in place can't do their job anymore. The drywall has crumbled to the point that the tapped hole for the screw lacks a boundary with the duct. (Picture attached.)


  • The cutout for the original vent larger than necessary, forcing the screws to be closer to the duct than is optimal?
  • The original installation should have used some sort of plug so that the threads of the screw didn't compromise the integrity of the drywall so easily?

How would you:

  • (a) go about fixing this?
  • (b) prevent this from happening in future installations?

The issue, in an image:

Vent hanging partway out from ceiling

Best Answer

My default fix would be just to put in some type of anchor. Given the damage and the fact this is on a ceiling, I'd be inclined to use a screw-in type anchor, because they hold on to a larger area and would deal better with some damage.

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If that couldn't work, the next thing I would look at would be getting a new surface to screw into.

Normally the method is to use a backing board, which is basically just a small piece of wood -- perhaps 3/4" x 2" x 4" -- to screw into on each side. Unless the vent can be moved easily, this will be difficult.

In this case I'd actually construct some "wings" using some sheet metal to wrap around and over top of the drywall, which the vent would then screw into. They'd anchor into the vent itself.

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