Okay, I know this DIY floor air vent cover isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s okay. This project wouldn’t have even been my cup of tea if it wasn’t born out of necessity.
You see, we have cats. 10 of them. And sometimes, cats can be jerks. And sometimes when cats are feeling especially jerk-y, they pee on things. Or in this case, they pee down things. Because that’s what our cats did- they peed down our floor air vents.
Now, I know that is really, really gross. So gross that I considered not sharing it and our subsequent fix on the blog. But you know I always try to keep things real around here, and I know if I’m having this problem, then there’s gotta be other cat owners out there that are having this problem too. So if I can help out some fellow feline lovers out there solve this very gross problem, well, I’ll take the chance that I might lose a few readers along the way.
Anyways, this problem started happening when we first moved into the house we’re presently living in. We didn’t have this problem in our old house because it didn’t have floor air vents, so we were mortified when we discovered our cats had taken to piddling down our nice clean air vents in our brand new home.
We did everything cat owners are supposed to do in this kind of situation- make sure there were enough clean litter boxes available, use feline pheromone diffusers, etc., which helped somewhat, but we would still have the problem from time to time. I finally decided to strategically arrange furniture to cover as many air vents as I possibly could, but there was still some air vents exposed. We looked around for floor air vent covers we could buy to solve our problem, but the only ones we could find that would remotely work were plastic and would surely break into a million pieces if they got stepped on. There was no way I was going to put up with this and have our house smelling like we have too many cats, even though we have too many cats, so we had to come up with a solution.
We made these to fit over the standard 4 x 10 inch and 4 x 14 inch floor air vent registers. Registers come in all different sizes, so if you don’t have the same sizes as we do, you will have to do a little measuring and calculating to get a good fit. We made these to fit snugly in the back and front so they wouldn’t slide around too easily, but made the length of cover 3″ longer then the floor openings to keep any pee from going under the sides of the air vent, which are open to allow air flow.
Now, I can hear some of you screaming at your computer screens: “But people are going to trip all over these!” Let me ask you this: how many times do you actually step on the floor air vent registers in your house? Floor air vents are usually installed in out of the way places and/or next to a wall. People naturally give a foot or so of space between themselves and the walls when they are walking around inside. And as long as you don’t make these close in color to the floor you”ll be using them on, they will be very easy to see.
- 10″ x 3/4′ Wood planks for the top of the air vent cover. They usually come in 6-8′ lengths, so you’ll need to do some math to figure out how many you’ll need depending on how many air vents you want to cover. We got these in Pine wood, but any kind of hard wood will work (softer wood might split if it does ever get stepped on, but I still think the chances of that happening are pretty slim).
- 1″ x 3/4″ Wood planks for the base of the air vent cover. These can be hard to find, so you might have to cut a bigger plank down to this size. When you can find them, they usually come in 4-6′ lengths, so you’ll need to do some math to figure out how many you’ll need depending on how many air vents you want to cover. We got these in Pine wood, but any kind of hard wood will work.
- 16 gauge 1 1/2″ finish nails
- Varathane wood stain in Weathered Gray (buy at Lowes)
- Valspar Chalky Paint in Kid Gloves (buy at Lowes)
- Valspar Sealing Wax (uncolored) (buy at Lowes)
Please note: I am sharing the type and measurements of the wood I bought so you’d know what I used for this project, but feel free to use other types/sizes of wood if you can’t find the same type/size wood at the hardware store or you have some scrap wood you’d like to use.
- Cordless Saw
- Nail Gun
- Palm Sander
- Paint Brushes
- Cloth Rags
Cut the top and sides of the wood to the dimensions to fit your floor air vent register. The measurements we used for the 4″ x 14″ air vent register are 17″ x 9″ for the top of the air vent cover (two pieces of 10″ x 3/4′ wood plank cut to fit) and 17″ x 3/4″ x 1″ for the sides of the air vent cover (two pieces of 3/4″ x 1″ wood plank cut to the 17″ length for the big air vents. The measurements we used for the 4″ x 10″ air vent register are 13″ x 9″ for the top of the air vent cover (two pieces of 10″ x 3/4′ wood plank cut to fit) and 13″ x 3/4″ x 1″ for the sides of the air vent cover (two pieces of 3/4″ x 1″ wood plank cut to the 13″ length for the big air vents.
Nail the two top pieces onto the two side pieces as shown above.
Now for the really fun parts! 🙂 Paint on some of the wood stain and wipe off the excess with a rag. Allow at least a couple of hours to dry before the next step.
Paint on the chalk paint and allow to dry for at least a few hours before the next step.
Distress with the palm sander. How little or how much you distress (or even if you even to it at all) is totally up to you! 🙂 Wipe off dust with a clean rag.
Paint on a coat of the sealing wax and wipe off any excess with a rag. There is much debate on whether you should wax before or after distressing; I always do it afterward because it protects the exposed wood as well as the chalk paint (and these are going to need all the protection they can get if my cats decide to pee on them; which they haven’t as of yet). 🙂
All our air vent covers done and ready to be put in the house!
I hope that this DIY floor air vent cover will be of help if you are having a similar problem with your cats as we were! So far our cats have been ignoring the newly covered vents, and it’s so nice to actually have them in use again, especially with the 100+ degree temperatures of our summers here right around the corner!
Thanks for stopping by, and let me know what you think or if you have any questions about this!