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Old 06-24-2012, 09:31 PM   #1
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Questions about old baseboard registers (with pics)


Hi, all. I have some questions about baseboard registers. There are several of these hideous things throughout the house, appear to be original from 1960s:




Our upstairs bedroom has two of them, one 24.5 (!) inches, one 30 inches long, facing each other, on opposite walls of the room, both covered in layers of paint. I thought the 24.5" register was a return, but when I cut it away from the wall, this is what I found:



There is no obvious intake opening. There does seem to be a duct running to the 30" register on the other side of the room, as seen in this close up:




Question #1: What am I looking at, what is the purpose of the register? Is there really an intake somewhere in there, or can I replace trim and fix the flooring?


Now, this is what I saw when I pried the 30" register on the other side of the room off the wall:




That is a 2x10 duct. Questions of adequate air supply aside (seems fine), my problem is that I want to get rid of the ugly register, but after scouring the web, I cannot find a single place that sells 30" registers. So I'm trying to evaluate my options.

Here's a close-up of the floor/baseboard trim I'd have to deal with:



As far as I can see, I have three options here:
1. Use the ugly old 30" register
2. Use a 24" register - for this to work, I'd have to replace 6 inches of trim & floor. Trim should be easy, but sanding/staining the floor and filling missing pieces will be a pain.
3. GF's idea - cut a bit of the floor away from the wall, replace the 2x10 duct with a 4x10 duct, and put in a flat wooden floor register (it may have to sit right next to the wall, which may not look good..). In addition, I would have to replace trim & refinish the floor around the register. I know this involves a lot of work and I'm not sure it's feasible/worth it, but I would much rather prefer the cleaner look of a flat floor register and a continuous trim to the toe-stabbing baseboard register.

Question #2
: Any other options here for me? What's the best way to go about this?

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Old 06-25-2012, 06:26 AM   #2
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Questions about old baseboard registers (with pics)


One option would be to sandblast the old registers, then paint. That won't change their style, but they will look better.

I suspect the one with the holes in the floor is a return, the 2x10 is a supply. Use 12 or 18" garden variety registers from big box or similar. They generally disperse the air better, in all directions. But using these means refinishing the floor, and patching or replacing the baseboard trim.

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Old 06-25-2012, 06:50 AM   #3
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Questions about old baseboard registers (with pics)


Quote:
Originally Posted by whiskers View Post
I have some questions about baseboard registers.
There are several of these hideous things throughout the house,
appear to be original from 1960s:
I have them in my house too.
They still make this style.
I've seen them online and even at Home Depot

Quote:
Our upstairs bedroom has two of them, one 24.5 (!) inches,
one 30 inches long, facing each other, on opposite walls of the room,
both covered in layers of paint.
That doesn't sound right.
Check the duct runs from/to the furnace for supply/return.

Quote:

Question #1
: What am I looking at, what is the purpose of the register?
Is there really an intake somewhere in there, or can I replace trim and fix the flooring?
Often... houses didn't have AC when new and no need for central return ducts.
When later adapted for AC owners and AC installers would do all sorts of odd things.

You'll need to start from scratch.
When you do this you'll probably end up increasing the return air...
and perhaps doing it in an entirely different manner.

Any carpentry floor/moulding work comes last
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Old 06-27-2012, 08:30 PM   #4
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Questions about old baseboard registers (with pics)


It appears to me that the first pic is a cold air return. The register was likely installed before the hardwood flooring was laid. I would guess that the flooring installer slid the flooring under the register, partially blocking the hole.
First, I would cut off the floor ends and allow the air to flow freely, back to the heating/ A.C. unit.
A creative carpenter could make a box to cover where the register was located. The box would have an opening for the air to flow. The opening would be perhaps louvered, for appearances sake!
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Old 07-02-2012, 11:54 PM   #5
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Questions about old baseboard registers (with pics)


Whiskers what did you end up doing with the baseboard registers? I have an older home as well, and feel that these baseboard diffusers are too old fashioned. I'd like to change them to a floor register. However, existing floor registers are too wide. Specifically, the trim or the top of the registers. The main box fits into the existing hole just fine, but the flange is too wide as these baseboard registers do not leave very much room from edge of opening to the wall.
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