How to install a cabinet base with a floor vent

Sometimes there are obstacles in your way when installing cabinets and built-ins.  Sometimes you move the obstacles and sometimes you work around them.  I’m building a window seat and there happens to be a floor vent under the window so I’ll be building a base that will direct the air out the front of the cabinet base.

How to install cabinet base with a floor vent



I’ll be building a stand alone base for this bench rather than a cut-out toe-kick.  Both explained in my Cabinet and Built-in Building Basics post if you’d like clarification.  My base is built out of 2×4′s.  I simply built the base frame to go around the vent.  I added another 2×4 directly behind the vent but apparently didn’t take a picture of that.

How to install cabinet base with a floor vent


I added a top layer of  of 3/4″ plywood and MDF that were scraps I had laying around.  I added this layer to build my base to the appropriate height that I needed to match my baseboards.  This step is not needed as long as your base cabinet has a full bottom that will trap the air and force it out the vent and not up in the cabinet.

How to install cabinet base with a floor vent

I will be adding a decorative toe-kick cover so my bench base 4″ narrower than the bench depth.   If you are putting a baseboard directly on your cabinet or bench, you’ll install the cabinet and then add your base with vent.  I’m taking care of that first since  the vent and baseboard is set back behind the bench.  I don’t like laying on the floor so I can see what I’m doing while trying  to nail things into place.  ;-)


This part is easy; set your base in place and mark where you need to cut out for your vent cover.  (Make sure you find a vent cover that will fit your baseboard), cut out a whole and secure your vent cover.

How to install cabinet base with a floor vent

Then install your baseboard.  (btw– it’s much easier to paint or finish this decorative base before installation as well.)  I caulked all around the base of the inside of my little air pocket so no air would escape anywhere but out the vent.  Probably not necessary since the air will take the path of least resistance but I like to be thorough.

How to install cabinet base with a floor vent

How to install cabinet base with a floor vent


You might think it’s necessary to have some sort of flex tube or extender to direct the air to the vent but you really don’t.

The air is going to take the path of least resistance…it’s going to flow through the air vent.  So now you can install your window seat, cabinet or built-in and get on with life!  :-D

How to install cabinet base with a floor vent




  1. Marie@The Interior Frugalista says:

    Awesome post! One of my concerns about adding a bench seat to our bedroom is that it would be going over a heat vent. This just gave me the go ahead with ours this Fall after our new window is installed. Thanks!

  2. Dana Denney says:

    Great post! Do you have any ideas on how to do something like this with baseboard heaters in the way?

  3. Good post Sandra!

    This is exactly what we are doing in our bedroom. Now I know how to get around the vent! Thank you.


  4. Looks great! We installed the Toe Ductor under cabinet ducting kit in our kitchen recently, and that works great as well.

  5. Thank you a million times for this blog post (and saving my sanity)! I’m brand new to the DIY projects and I have so much to learn. Thank goodness for my very supportive husband who’s taught me how to use his tools over the past few weeks. I’m working on building window trim throughout the house and decided I really want to build a window seat with some type of bookcase on both sides. I know I want to reuse my baseboards (5 1/4″) on the front, but didn’t know how to get my base the same height. Seems silly now after reading your post about adding the extra layer of plywood, but I just couldn’t see past the 1×4. I got this now!
    During the past month or so, I’ve started from the beginning and read (and reread) every single blog post trying to soak up as much information as possible. I do have a question about your Sawdust Diaries services. I was planning to sign up, but I work full-time so the consultation hours don’t work with my schedule. By any chance, is it possible to hire you to design a space (master closet that’s approximately 7′x7′ with 2 entrances) and put together a cut sheet without the weekly consultation?

    • Thanks Jackie. Glad you are finding some useful information here. :-D You can email me about the plans/design questions.

  6. This is exactly how we did it only we did use the 90 degree elbow because our AC needs all the help it can get…when we tore out the old cabinets we found that they hadn’t had the common sense to direct the air, as you did, so all the heat/AC would just get stuck under the cabinets. In the winter I used to have to open all my base cabinet doors & drawers to allow the heat into the kitchen! Our silverware was always nice & toasty, though! Lol

    • You mean they didn’t even cut a hole for the air? It was trapped in the cabinet? That’s crazy!

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