$5 DIY Floor Vent Cover Update

2 Materials
5 Minutes

Not all upgrades need to break the bank. Updating your floor or wall based heat registers can make a major difference in the look of your space.

Why? Well, these registers are an eyesore.

When we were going through the spring One Room Challenge, Kitchen Remodel, I looked into getting wooden ones made that matched the floors. They were going to cost us a few hundred dollars which just didn’t seem like money well spent at the time.

(Check out this post for more detailed instructions and a few tips to make this even easier!)

Not only is it doable but you can do it yourself in roughly 5 minutes for $5!

The process is simple and quick.

Step 1: Get the grates and get them washed. Mine were gross, covered in dust and grime.

Step 2: Let the grates dry or towel dry them. I opted to make myself a coffee and let the sun do the work.

Step 3: I used Rust-Oleum Ultra Cover in Dark Walnut which is roughly the same color we stained the floors. Put a clean and dry grate in an empty cardboard box. This will keep the paint container. Paint away!

Step 4: Replace the grates into the floor and admire your handy work!

That really was easy, am I right?! The grates are a functional part of your home but they don’t have to be fully replaced at a high cost nor stick out like a sore thumb.


Resources for this project:

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Jenn Salsich

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Zella Morris
    Zella Morris
    on Jun 26, 2020

    Can this be done on wall register that cannot be removed?

    • Sherryl Sumner
      Sherryl Sumner
      on Aug 2, 2020

      Yours should be removable. It may have a special clip, hinge or hidden bolt depending on how old it is. When our last place had the HVAC redone they were going to replace the covers. One was really hard to get out and seemed impossible. It was just nearly cemented in from so much paint! Vent covers don't attach usually because the actual vents are built piece by piece. No two homes are alike and the walls/floors can all be different sizes. Our last home for example had different vent cover sizes for the bathrooms, bedrooms and such. The company ended up just not giving us new ones because they could not find a good fit. If you end up unsure you can ask an expert to look at yours to see how the come off. I would not recommend spraying any kind of paint directly into your ducts even if your system is off. Air still flows just from ambient pressure and you don't want to risk your system to the fine particles of paint. What you can do though is use painter's tape and surround the vent cover. Rust-Oleum does come in a car you can dip a brush in and just swipe it on. Be sure not to glob it on (drips are bad if you're vertical or horizontal) but also cover everywhere. I usually like to go with a primer no matter what project or if the paint has it inside and be sure to pick just the right paint for the surface you are doing. Good luck!

  • Mary
    on Jun 28, 2020

    If I put the grate into a box to spray paint it, after spraying the front & letting it dry, then doing the same to the back, what about the dial that is used to open and close the vents? Won't the paint prevent that from turning the vents open and closed?

    • Jenn Salsich
      Jenn Salsich
      on Jul 14, 2020

      I did not have this issue but I love the idea of petroleum jelly per above!

Join the conversation

2 of 21 comments
  • Michelle J
    Michelle J
    on Jul 17, 2020

    We did the exact same thing. We had purchased 2 high end covers and when we decided to sell our house, we just upgraded all the others with Rustoleum - including a plastic one. Now, they all look the same and cohesiveness helps buyers understand that we are consistent in how we treated our house.

  • Jenn Salsich
    Jenn Salsich
    on Jul 17, 2020

    That’s awesome! I love this quick and easy DIY that makes a serious statement

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