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Bathroom toe kick registers...


Richard Moore
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Is it allowed to simply place a standard cabinet over a floor duct and then install a normal register in the toe-kick without any connecting ductwork or additional insulation, etc? I thought this was normal practice, but, in any case, it's not something I usually check for (that may change).

I've got a client "complaining" that her make-up is melting in a drawer unit (solid bottom but I really don't know how the register is hooked up). New home. I'm doing a "twin" in the same subdivision tomorrow and will be making a house call after. One thing I'll check is whether both homes are the same, but I'm really unsure what would be considered wrong. Any input (code or improvements) appreciated.

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I personally don't think it is an acceptable practice. The space under the cabinet is part of the air supply ducting and the materials probably do not meet the required flame spread rating for supply ducts.

A few years ago, I inspected a new French Chateau reproduction that had the same arrangement under a large built-in entertainment cabinet. The clients had me meet with the AHJ that issued the CO to discuss this and many other items I discovered. He refused to make the builder correct this installation.

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It's one of those practices that is just about universal, but cheap & stupid. My personal standard is I tend ignore it if the plenum is clean & there is adequate air flow; everyone does it, no one thinks it's sub-standard (but me), and I don't really see any harm in it.

That does not make it right.

Your case is an example of when one ignores or overlooks seemingly obscure issues, there's always someone down the road to complain about it. I've got a few of these in my history; nothing to hurt anyone, but the customer doesn't like it. When complaints like this occur to me, I usually end up reporting on it in the future.

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I have written the bath and kitchen register disconnect for last 10 or so years. Regardless of what is common practice, what is your client's expectation? What does the cabinet maker say of the practice? Does the disconnected condition lead to premature deterioration? You could go on and on with why it is wrong. You could have a two hour discussion about it and still not be able to find it on the plan.

It is likely the second most common flaw in new construction and the one that is quite difficult to correct. We all know why it happens and it ain't the cost to do it right. Poor supervision and two diff trades. I have even seen it marketed as an upgrade - "warm cabinets for towels".

I think you should write it everytime you see it.

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Turns out there was a "heat shield/deflector" installed. Crude but better than nothing. Trouble was...well, see the photo (the shield has been pushed aside by me).

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif 051224B040cropnote.jpg

88.33 KB

Addendum issued for the builder to fix. Towel warmer option...LOL!

Thanks all and Merry Christmas, etc.

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