Duct Board vs Sheet Metal: Which One is Better?

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Ductwork is pretty important for your HVAC system. That's why it's essential you pick the right ducting product. Otherwise, you might regret your decision afterward. 

So, what are the main differences between duct board vs sheet metal?

Firstly, sheet metal has more strength and longevity than duct board. Then the airflow properties of sheet metal are much better too. However, it's much easier to work with duct board. Furthermore, you might have noise issues if you use sheet metal.

Now, this much info won't help you to come to a conclusion. Thus, we've provided the pros and cons of the two ducting products.

Therefore, please read along to make the right decision! 

Sheet Metal vs Duct Board: Quick Comparison

Now, let's start with the basics, shall we? 

Well, having a sneak peek will surely give you an idea about the two. Just how basic dissimilarities helps you to-

Identify which one’s better between Dutch and straight lap vinyl siding

So, let's take a look at how duct board and sheet metal are different- 

Duct Board

Sheet Metal

Stronger and has more shelf life.

Less strong and long-lasting.

Better airflow properties. Mold and mildew don’t occur if insulation is wrapped outside.

Airflow properties aren't that excellent. Mold and mildew can take place. 

Harder to cut.

Easier to cut.

Can create noise problems. 

Doesn’t create any noise issues.

Well, these are the important dissimilarities between the two. However, are they enough to judge the ducting materials completely? 

To be honest, it's best if you go through the comprehensive comparison. Because it’s much easier to make a decision if you have detailed knowledge. 

Duct Board vs Sheet Metal: Comprehensive Comparison

Now, it's time to dive into the details. And don’t worry! We’ve tried to keep it as simple as possible. 

Thus, hopefully, it won't be difficult to grasp which one is best for you. 

Duct Board 

Now, the duct board ducting contains fiberglass. Plus it’s a common choice for ductwork. However, it has both advantages and disadvantages. 

So, let's not waste time and check them out- 

Pros 

It's better to start with the good sides than the bad ones. Because we definitely don't want to scare you off! 

Easier to Cut 

Now, working with ducting products can be difficult.

But luckily, duct board is pretty easy for you to cut and handle. Because it's not as rigid as sheet metal. You can cut it in circles, squares, etc. 

Thus, if you're hesitating to start the ducting work, you can relax now. Because you have the duct board option to the rescue!  

Doesn't Cause Noise Problem

Now, who doesn't like a quiet environment? 

Well, duct board will give you a noise-free house. Because it absorbs the sounds that come from your HVAC system.

Therefore, you can relax and enjoy your time when you're home! 

Cons 

Well, unfortunately, it's time for you to know the downsides. Therefore, prepare yourself! 

More Restrictive to Your Airflow & Expensive

Already bummed out? 

Well, we wanted to maintain transparency. So yeah, this form of ducting doesn’t have the best airflow properties. 

Thus, dust and other particles can enter the exposed area of the insulation easily. Furthermore, mold and mildew will take place if dust stays trapped in that area.

Which is definitely not a good sign. Plus it's also a bit more costly than sheet metal. 

Weak & Doesn’t Last Long

Another downside of this ducting product is that it’s not that strong. 

The ducting structure is held together only by duct tape and staples. And this makes the whole thing pretty fragile.

Also, duct board ducting is quite difficult to clean. Because the tape residue can get weaker. And this causes the ducting to fall apart easily. So yeah, duct board isn’t long-lasting.

However, if your ducting work is done properly, you'll face fewer problems.  

So, will you connect duct board plenums to your air handler?

Or are you switching to sheet metal?

Sheet Metal

Now, sheet metal is one of the popular choices for ductwork. And if you didn’t know, galvanized steel is used to make this type of ducting. 

However, let's quickly go through its pros and cons- 

Pros 

Sheet metal duct actually has lots of advantages. That’s why it's a favorite among experts. 

Now, what are these advantages- 

Stronger & Long Lasting 

This ducting material is one of the strongest. 

As we've mentioned galvanized steel is used to produce this ducting material. Therefore, it's corrosion-resistant. And this makes its shelf-life much longer. 

By the way, galvanized nails are used to install new siding over asbestos too.

Good Airflow Properties & Cheaper

Now, the airflow properties of this ducting product are pretty good. Plus you can insulate this ducting product in several ways.

However, wrapping the insulation on the exterior side of the sheet metal is better. 

Why?

Well, because putting the ducting inside of your insulation can invite dust. Furthermore, trap it later on. Hence, as days go by, mold and mildew might start growing. 

And no one wants that to happen! 

Moreover, there's another plus point. The sheet metal not only has better airflow properties, but it's also cheaper!

Cons

Yes, we know the advantages are pretty awesome. But, you need to know the bad sides of this ducting material as well. 

So, let’s check them out- 

Hard to Cut & Insulate 

Now, it’s harder to work with sheet metal ducting than duct board. For example, it's quite difficult to cut and insulate. 

Because this ducting material is more rigid. Which is definitely a bummer!

Noise Issues 

We all know that some people can't tolerate too much noise. So, if you're one of them, you might be better off without sheet metal. 

Your HVAC system has different noise sources. And ducting is one of them. 

Now, HVAC mostly makes soft humming sounds when it’s running normally. However, you might hear loud popping sounds coming from your sheet metal ducts. 

As a result, you’ve to insulate the ducts with fiberglass insulation. Because this way, you'll be able to solve the duct noise issue. Otherwise, it can be quite hard to relax at your own home. 

Now, have you figured out which ducting material is more preferable for you? 

FAQs 

Question: How long does duct board last?
Answer: Well, duct board doesn't last that long. However, it still has a shelf life of 10 years. Furthermore, it can last for more than 15 years, if it’s installed properly.

Question: What is the cheapest ducting product?
Answer: To be honest, sheet metal is cheaper. It costs about $1.5-6 per linear foot. So yeah the price is pretty cheap compared to its performance. However, it can cost you more to work with it. 

Question: Which ducting material is more resistant to water?
Answer: Well, the answer is sheet metal. Because it's made with galvanized steel. Therefore, it is corrosion and water-resistant. Moreover, this makes it perfect for ductwork.

Final Verdict

That's everything we had on duct board vs sheet metal

Now, you might not want to work much with the ducting. In that case, duct board is the better option. Whereas, sheet metal is more preferable if you want a stronger ducting material.

So, which one did you choose? 

Good luck!

Scott Kelly