The Basics of Ductwork Fabrication

Ductwork fabrication is the process of creating a system for conducting heated or cooled air throughout a home, business or industrial setting. The system is responsible for transporting huge quantities of hot or cold air, so it must be carefully designed and fabricated in order to perform properly and safely. Choosing a qualified sheet metal contractor to perform ductwork fabrication is an essential decision for a homeowner or commercial/industrial facility owner that wants to eliminate costly leaks and maintain their energy efficiency.

The first step of ductwork fabrication begins with the cutting of flat pieces of sheet metal using plasma cutters or laser machines. Then, the pieces are bent into ductwork shapes. Rectangular ducts are made by bending two pieces of flat sheeting together. The forming can be done using either roll-forming or brake presses, with the latter being used for longer bends and more precise angles. Once the ducts have been formed, they are joined together using welding or riveting. The joint is also sealed with mastic or tape to prevent air leaks and condensation.

Some ducts are insulated to further reduce air leakage, which in turn reduces energy bills. This is a common practice with commercial HVAC ducts, but can also be done on residential jobs. Insulation also helps to quiet the ductwork and reduce noise levels in a building. The final touches on a duct include coatings or paint to protect the duct from corrosion and other damage.