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Can Drywall Touch Ductwork? [Reasons & Solutions]

People apply drywalls to protect the ductwork. But sometimes, wrong installations to drywalls allow no air around the ductwork. That results in some serious damages that no one wants. 

Now, your concern is, can drywall touch ductwork? 

No, drywall shouldn’t touch ductwork. You have to maintain a 6-inch gap to make sure it passes some air. Installing the drywall with proper space is an important factor. The steps for proper installation of drywall is simple. However, there are some factors you should look out for.

This is only a scratch on the surface. If you want to know more drywall details, spare a minute and read along!

Let’s dive into the details!

Why Can’t Drywall Touch Ductwork?

Ductwork covers a large area in the basement or attic. One single leak can lead to leaky ductwork. Water dripping from the ductwork can damage your walls or floors. So,  

Ductwork requires proper maintenance. 

The entire ductwork stays cool because cold air passes from them. Leaks damage the ductwork and destroy the air-conditioner system. That’s why you need to maintain a gap between ductwork and drywall. 

Drywalls should not touch ductwork. If drywall touches ductwork, it becomes warm there. That’s when warm air enters the ductwork. Warm air destroys the insulation of ductwork. And if your drywall is touching ductwork, you have to remove all of it to fix the ductwork. 

Installing the drywall again is costly. That’s why people built wooden frames where they install ductwork. It allows you to easily remove them, so you can use them again. So that’s why drywall shouldn’t touch ductwork.

How To Install Drywall Around Ductwork In 4 Easy Steps

There are a few steps before applying drywall around ductwork. But first, you need some tools to do the job. 

Required Tools

  • Ladder
  • Drywall sheets
  • Pencils
  • Measurement tape
  • 24-inch drywall cutter
  • Drill machine with drywall tip attachment
  • Utility knife
  • 11/2 inch drywall screws

If you have the required tools, let’s get started-

Step 1: Measure The Amount Of Drywall 

Use your step ladder to measure how much drywall you need to cover it up. Remember, it’s not a one man’s job. So you need some people to assist you. 

You can also frame the ductwork and then apply drywalls on it. Mark a sheet for measurements using pencils.  Measure it from the corner to the closest edge of the duct. You will also have to measure it from the opposite edge of the ducts. Then mark these measurements in the sheet. 

Step 2: Create A Rectangular Area

You have to find a control point of the ceiling joist on one side of the duct. Start by measuring the edges from the centre of the stud. Also, measure the points from the opposite edges. 

After that, you will be able to create a rectangular area. You have to cut off the area to make sure it fits around to the end of the duct. Measure from the exact edge of the drywall and mark these points. The standard size of the rectangular is 8”x12”. 

Step 3: Cut The Drywall                   

Mark an outline for the rectangle. Now cut the drywall sheet using a 24-inch drywall cutter. Adjust the lines using a utility knife. Remove the rectangle section from the sheet. 

Step 4: Drill It With Drywall Tip Attachment 

Use your drill machine with a drywall tip attachment. Position the sheet against the wall. Make sure to use the controlled edge of the stud. Drill the sheets to align the edges of the rectangle part. Screw the drywall using 11/2 inch drywall screws. Make sure you keep a 6-inch space for the drywall and the ductwork.

Remember, check for leaks in the ductwork. If you find any leaks, you might have to insulate the ductwork again.  

These are the steps about how you will apply drywall on ductworks.

What To Do If Drywall Touches Ductwork?

If your drywalls are touching the ductwork, you have to fix it immediately. This is a costly process but you have to do it for the greater good.

Installing a soffit around the ductwork using woods is the best solution for it. It’s a bit of a complicated and time-consuming process. So, you can’t do this job alone. But let’s see how to install a soffit around ductwork-

First, measure the length of the ductwork using measurement tape. Use the nearest floor joist at the endpoints of the ductwork. Then you have to measure the distance of the ductwork from the floor. 

After measuring the heights and lengths, use wood to make a ladder. Soffits are also known as ladders. You have to take help from a professional carpenter to do the job. The ladder top rail ideal size is 2×4 feet. 2×2 feet is also the ideal size of the bottom rail.

Place the ladders on the floor to measure the ideal gap between them. Note the distance of the rails and make 2×4 wooden blocks to create the rungs. Clamp the pieces together and make sure the rungs are 16 inches on the centre.

Then drill the rungs and apply screws to them using a composite deck screw or a wood screw. Your ladder is ready! 

You have to make more than 30 ladders to cover the basement. So it’s not a one man’s job. After making the ladders, set the drywalls into them. 

The ladders will make sure there is enough gap between the drywall and the ductwork.


Question: Can insulation touch ductwork?

Answer: Yes, insulation can touch ductwork. You must use fibreglass insulation to make sure it’s not leaking. Make sure you snug it enough to prevent any leaks. 

Question: Should you insulate ductwork in the attic?

Answer: You should insulate the ductwork in the attic. If you stay in a dry climate area, you need to bury the duct. It will protect the ductwork from extreme temperatures. Make sure the ductwork stays in direct contact with ceilings or lower cords.

Question: How much does it cost to apply drywall in the ductwork? 

Answer: It costs around 2-3 dollars per square foot to apply drywall. So, it depends on the total area. Also, labour costs around 40-60 dollars per person. Material costs are also included.

The Endnote     

So that’s it! Drywalls cannot touch ductwork. But, you can install drywall directly against the ductwork with a 6-inch gap. 

Installing dry walls the right way is essential for the safety of ductwork. Hope you found the answer to your question: can drywall touch ductwork? Make sure to give a 6-inch gap between drywall and ductwork.

We hope you find this article helpful!