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A Step-By-Step Guide on Replacing Foundation Vents

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Foundation vents allow air to circulate within a structure. It also minimizes moisture damage within the crawl space by letting air in and rise through the house. However, foundation vents could make a home even colder during the winter season because of the added air circulation. To insulate heat, consider closing the vents using vent covers.

Because of everyday wear and tear, foundation vents will start breaking down, the screens will corrode. At this point, you’ll have to replace the corroded screens. This will keep small animals – such as squirrels, birds – from being stuck in the vents. Usually, the screens are nailed into a frame. However, you’ll have to chip off some concrete to pull out the screen. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to replace the foundation vent screens:

You will need:

A cold chisel
a hammer
a pry bar
1 ½ galvanized roof nails|
mortar mix
trowel
a small bucket

Step 1: Removing the Screens

If the vent screen is set on a concrete frame, get a cold chisel and a hammer and start chipping the concrete. With a little effort, it should come right off. If the screen is set on a wooden foundation, get a pry bar and gently pry the vent screen from its edge. You can also pry the nails holding the screen in place with the pry bar. Tap the bar behind the heads of the nails until the screen pops right out.

Some vent screens are secured using four screws on all four sides. Just remove the screws to lift the old screen out.

Step 2: Replacing the Vent Screens

Know that vent screens come in various sizes. That’s because there is no standard size for foundation vent screens. Once you removed the old screen, go to your local hardware store and get a replacement with the same exact size. After getting the replacement screen, go back to the place you’re working on.

Clean the remaining concrete in the opening using the chisel. Then, set the new screen in place. The screen should sit flush against the frame. With 1 ½ galvanized roof nails, start securing the frame in place. You have to drive the nails through the flange around the perimeter of the screen and right into the frame. Hammer all four sides with galvanized roof nails.

If the vent screen is secured with four screws on all sides, simply place the new screen flush against the frame then secure all sides with the screws.

Step 3: Patching with Mortar

If say, the foundation vent has a wooden trim and it has to be replaced, do so. If you chipped the concrete to remove the vent screen, you’ll have to patch the edges of the screen with mortar. Mix the mortar according to instructions on a small bucket. You want a stiff mortar mixture, not a loose mix. Using a trowel, start applying the mortar around the perimeter of the screen.

To keep the edges clean, feather out the edges into the concrete foundation. Leave the mortar to cure for two to three days. After the mortar hardened, you can go back to paint the foundation vent screen.


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