Floor vent covers may or may not decorate your Victorian home. It is absolutely possible that you possess hot water or steam heating systems, both of which provide reliable and comfortable heat. If that is your existing system, then it is definitely an excellent idea to continue to utilize them and stay on top of your annual maintenance such as visits from the hvac company for furnace tuneups as well as bleeding the air out of the radiators, which works it's way into the system over the course of the year. Furthermore, there is value in retaining the historical look of radiators. Naturally, if you have radiators then you don't have air conditioning. If you desire to add air conditioning in a situation such as this consider installing a completely separate system of utilizing two inch hoses that can be run through the interiors of standard stud walls. This keeps the vintage look of the interior intact and makes the hvac installers job much easier. However, if you've ever looked into this idea you may have found that the vent covers typically installed with these systems are, shall we say, sadly lacking in aesthetic charm. They are usually plastic and simply have a very unappealing look. However, we have very attractive wood and metal vent covers for exactly this situation. The standard woods are red oak and paint grade maple, but we also have a variety of additional woods available for various up charges. These types of vent covers usually just have a two inch in diameter round opening, but our slotted style takes this type of vent cover to a new stylistic peak, without causing any additional air noise. We also have some wonderful metal vent covers for this application in half a dozen different finishes. There is a good chance that they may need to have the openings in the floor rather than the wall or ceiling. If so, we can provide these as floor vent covers and in the case of a wood floor we offer wood styles in which the top of the vent covers are flush with the surrounding wood. Not surprisingly, these are referred to as flush mount, whereas the type that sits on the surface of the floor, wall, or ceiling is called surface mount.
Floor vent covers
The primary consideration in choosing floor vent covers is to select a design that is inherently strong enough to stand up to foot traffic. Many floor vent covers such as those found in big box stores have very flimsy faceplates, which simply do not hold up, and really aren't that great looking. Original floor vent covers in the Victorian era were often cast iron which not only look substantial but are very strong. There are are good choices such as cast bronze which is a winner when it comes to the lack of brittleness. Plus it looks great. Powder coated one eighth inch thick steel, or even thicker if necessary is another reliable choice and usually comes with the option of a number of attractive powder coat finishes.
Another traditional choice for floor vent covers is some type of wood. Usually existing wood floors are made from red oak, but it is not unusual to see white oak, or maybe even something like cherry or a combination of woods such as oak with inlaid or parquet flooring, often of mahogany or walnut. One major feature seen in old Victorian houses that had gravity heat originally is extremely large cold air returns made of wood that had square or rectangular openings. These are called egg crate style air returns. Nine times out of ten they were inset into the floor and resting on a ledge perhaps about one and one quarter inches below the floor surface. If you have any of these there is an extremely good chance that they are broken. The original joinery wasn't all that great in the first place and for some inexplicable reason they were often placed in a high traffic area and sometimes even at the bottom of the stairs where children would jump on them. We have great solution for these situations and we make some very tasteful and attractive matching floor vent covers that should merit strong consideration. We can even use two different contrasting woods for added interest. If that is something you would like to explore please call us for details.