One of the most common returns we receive concerning our floor registers, involves a customer who miss-measured.. They’ve measured the faceplate of their existing register or grille, and ordered using those numbers. This is incorrect for floor registers and grilles. It is an industry standard to measure your duct work or the actual hole in the floor. This blog explains just what a register is and how it differs from a grille, and how to properly measure and install them.
Register vs. Return Air Grille
The official definition of a register is “an adjustable, grill-like device through which heated or cooled air is released into a room.” A register most commonly has air coming out of it (whether it be cold air or warm air) and will have a damper to control the airflow. The damper would drop into the hole/opening in your floor, and have a movable plate for regulating the airflow usually by a visible knob the protrudes from the faceplate (this will vary by style of register). Other common names for a floor register include: diffuser, vents, air register, supplies, air outlets, etc.
A register is different from a return air grille. Floor return air grilles are used as a return or exhaust air inlets to ducts. Because air does not come out of the duct work, dampers are not included (because there is no forced air flow to control). Floor return air grilles will still have a small drop in area that will go into your floor opening, but there will not be a damper. There is not a wide selection of styles and finishes for floor grilles, and if you have a small enough opening (that matches floor register sizes) you could use a decorative floor register and leave the damper completely open. Other common names for floor air return grilles: floor grilles, floor returns, floor grates, etc.
How to Measure Floor Registers and Grilles
It is an industry standard to measure the actual hole/opening in the floor to get the correct size of floor register or grille that you will need. Take out the existing floor register, and measure the length/width of the opening in inches (all registers will be listed in inches). If your duct work/opening in the floor is 4″ x 10″, you’ll need to purchase a 4×10 floor register. It will not matter if you say the length first or the width first, example 10×4 or 4×10, when it comes to floor registers. Most floor register dampers will drop into the hole about 1 inch or so, so make sure you have enough clearance in your duct work for this. DO NOT MEASURE THE FACEPLATE OF THE EXISTING REGISTER!
A register/grille faceplate will differ from style to style and manufacturer to manufacturer. The packaging of the floor register or listing on a website, will have the opening dimensions. The faceplate dimensions should be listed in the description- but that will not be the main number identifier, nor will you likely find a replacement register/grille that will have the exact same faceplate dimensions. Standard floor registers and grilles will an even-whole number (measurement)- for example 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 etc. There are some registers out there that can work for 3″ opening sizes- but choices are limited. If you have lets say a 2″ x 11″ opening- you may want to try to extend the hole size by 1″ so you can get the standard size 2 x 12 register. Otherwise you may have to get something custom-made for your opening.
**Register listing on our website- Order by hole dimensions, but the faceplate dimensions will be listed for your reference.
Installation of Floor Registers and Grilles
Once you purchase a register or grille that is a match for your opening size, you may now install it. Hopefully you have left the previous (old) floor register in place (so nothing or no one could fall down in the duct work). Installing floor registers and grilles is a breeze compared to wall or ceiling registers – no drilling or screwing in anything. Simply take out your existing floor register, and drop in (damper first) your new register. The damper should keep the register in place. If you purchased a register, you’ll be able to control the airflow using the damper control.
Haven’t ordered a floor register/grille yet and need help on different styles and finishes available? Check back for an informative blog walking you through the different styles, finishes, and types of floor registers available on Installerstore.com, as well as custom-made grilles!