Do you want to learn how to install a range hood vent through the wall?
Most range hood vents are installed by using hole saws or reciprocating saws but if you have brick you may also need to use a hammer.
I invite you to also read my guide on how to install wall mount range hoods that details how to install the range hood itself. And if your range hood needs to be installed on an interior wall, you can read my guide on installing range hoods on interior walls right here.
In this guide, I will go over…
- How to cut out the range hood vent hole
- Connecting the vent piping with tape
- Inserting caulking behind the hood cover
- And how to deal with an uneven surface
Let’s get started…
What's In This Guide?
Installing A Range Hood Vent Through The Wall
To install a range hood vent through the wall, you will need to use either a hole saw, reciprocating saw, or a mini circular saw to cut through the wall. If you have a brick or stone wall, you may even need to use a hammer to get through.
Prior to installing the exterior hood cover, you will have to connect the vent pieces with aluminum tape, and secure it to the hood collar. After securing the vent pipe to the hood, you will simply need to screw in the exterior hood cover to the wall and apply silicone caulking to prevent air and water leaks.
If you have any questions about the building codes for range hood installations, you may be interested in seeing my guide on range hood venting code requirements.
For more information on these steps, keep reading…
Step 1. Mark The Range Hood Vent Hole
The last thing you want to do is cut into an exterior wall only to discover that your vent hole location was off. You should determine the best location for the range hood and vent that is centered over your cooktop.
And don’t forget that range hoods should be between 24 and 36 inches above the cooktop or range.
Make some measurements, do a dry fitting of the range hood, and mark with a pencil on the wall where the range hood vent should go.
Step 2. Cut A Small Access Hole
Before you fully cut the vent hole, it’s a good idea to cut a small access hole of just an inch or two somewhere in the vent location. With a small access hole, you can verify that you won’t be cutting through any gas piping, water piping, or electrical piping before you proceed with a hole saw (or hammer through brick).
You may also discover that there is a wood stud or some structural member that is in the way.
If you see any electrical wiring, hopefully you can easily push it out of the way or reroute it. But if there is any gas piping or water piping, you may need to find a qualified contractor to properly move the pipe.
For a structural issue, you will probably either have to contact a qualified contractor or you will need to reroute the vent.
Be very careful before modifying a structural exterior wall. And if you have to reroute the vent pipe with an elbow, try to keep duct runs as short as possible to maximize air flow.
Read Also: How To Install Under Cabinet Range Hoods?
Step 3. Drill A Pilot Hole Through Wall
The easiest way to line up the hole from the inside and outside is to cut a pilot hole straight through the middle of the range hood vent. You can do this with either a long wood or metal drill bit.
Many times it is not possible to cut the range hood vent hole completely from the interior — so you will need to do half on the inside and half on the outside.
But it is near impossible to mark out the vent perimeter on the exterior wall without a pilot hole drilled from the interior.
A pilot hole will allow you to mark the perimeter, and stay aligned with the cut.
Also, if you are using a hole saw for the cut, many of these hole saw bits come with pilot drill bits in the middle. But these pilot bits aren’t for completely cutting through the wall (they are too short) but they simply help the hole saw get started and aligned.
Read Also: What Are The Best Under Cabinet Range Hoods?
Step 4. Cut Through Wall
After marking the vent hole, and drilling a pilot hole completely through the wall, you are ready to cut the exterior wall.
How you proceed with this step will depend on whether you have a round or square vent duct and if you have a hard exterior wall surface such as brick or stone.
If you have vinyl siding, you may be able to cut the hole completely from the inside. But if you have brick, you will have to do some of the cut on the inside, and then some of the cut from the exterior. You will probably also have to use a hammer to get through the brick after cutting some perimeter holes.
Here are the two main methods of cutting the wall for a range hood vent…
Method #1: Drill Multiple Small Holes On Perimeter
There are two basic ways of cutting the range hood vent hole. The first method is to drill multiple small holes on the perimeter of the vent.
Depending on whether the vent is square or round, you will drill 7+ pilot holes on the perimeter of the hole which will give you an outline of the vent. You will then use either a reciprocating saw or mini circular saw to cut out the vent hole — simply connecting the ‘dots’ from the drill.
If the exterior wall has a brick or stone veneer, you will probably need to use a hammer to push through the stone.
When cutting from the interior, you can skip this step since it is just drywall, and you can use a mini circular saw or reciprocating saw to cut directly on the vent outline.
Method #2: Use A Circular Hole Saw
If you have a round range hood vent, you have the option of using a hole saw to drill through the exterior wall. Hole saws are basically circular or round drill bits with a hollow center. These hole saws allow you to quickly drill out a hole for a round range hood vent.
Some hole saws also have pilot drill bits in the center of the hole saw. The pilot drill bit allows you to center the hole saw, and it helps get it started cutting.
You probably will need to cut half of the hole from the inside, and the other half starting from the outside.
Step 4. Install The Range Hood Vent Cover
Once you have cut the wall hole and put through the vent pipe, you will have to install the exterior hood cover. The vent cover is what prevents rain, pests, and air infiltration from going inside the home.
Exterior hoods have either round or square flaps that open when the range hood is on, but the flap closes when it is turned off.
First you will have to connect the end of the vent pipe to the collar of the exterior hood cover — you can use aluminum tape to secure it. You can use screws to connect the vent pipe, but they aren’t supposed to protrude more than 1/8 inch into the duct.
After securing the pipe to the hood, you will need to use screws to fasten the hood the exterior wall. Before you completely screw in the hood, make sure to thoroughly caulk behind the hood cover to prevent air and water leakage.
How To Deal With Uneven Siding
If you are installing the range hood vent through siding, it will be difficult or impossible to get a tight seal on the exterior vent hood. Basically, since the siding isn’t perfectly flat, it will be hard to properly install caulking in-between the hood and the siding.
To solve this problem, you will need to cut out a square portion of the siding, and insert a square piece of wood or PVC. In the middle, you will need to cut out a hole for the vent to go through.
After you have screwed in this wood backing, you will have a flat surface to install the range hood vent, and to properly caulk behind it.
Step 5. Adding Insulation
Before you completely closing the wall, you may want to stuff some insulation in between the vent and the wall cavity.
You can either stuff some loose fiberglass insulation, or you can insert some expanding foam in a can such as GreatStuff.
Read Also: How To Pick The CFM For Your Range Hood?
Installing a range hood vent through the wall isn’t necessarily for the faint of heart, and you may come across multiple problems as it is installed.
If you have a stone or brick veneer, it will make it even more difficult. You will probably need to cut out some perimeter holes with a drill bit, and then hammer through the brick.
In addition, you may open up the kitchen wall only to discover that you will need to move some piping, make a structural change, or use a flex pipe to route around it. That is why I always recommend cutting a very small access hole (just a few inches) so you can peek into the wall before cutting out a large piece.