Save Money: Make Your Vents New Again

There’s always something to do “At Koko’s Place”. I have a project list that seems to never end. One of those projects was addressing the vents; floor vents, wall vents, ceiling vents. I’d stare at the chipped-rusted vents daily…not out of being neurotic, but because I’d see them at least twice a day vacuuming. I knew I’d eventually get to it. What I didn’t know was that it’d take me ten years to do so!

Here’s what I did to make my vents new again. Oh, before I continue on the how, I wanted to mention that I looked into buying new vents. There were white ones, and metallic ones, and the same brown colored ones that mine were. The prices ranged from $8 to $15 dollars each. I have 24 of them and well that’s a lot of money. Also, my vents weren’t damaged, they were just chipped and rusty. My conscience wouldn’t allow me to toss them. What else could I do? The obvious answer was to paint them, so I did.

Now…here’s what I did…


Sparing you a ton of pictures…this is an example of what they all look like.

If you are a DIY’er, I’m sure you’ve researched how to remove rust. There are many ways to do so. One of them is soda pop method. I thought I’d give it a try. I mean, if it saved me from having to sand each one by hand, I’m in!


I don’t drink soda, but I happen to have been given a gift basket with this in it.

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Supposedly you let the object sit in the cola and it eats away the rust.

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This is what it looked like days later. It did eat off some of the rust, but not all, and the metal seemed to have bubbled, so sanding was still a must. I decided I wouldn’t be continuing this cola method.

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I lightly sanded all over the vent and took more time to sand the rust places clean.


For the slots…I wrapped sand paper around a tongue depressor/wooden stick…anything flat to get between the slots will work…butter knife…ruler…piece of cardboard…

After I sanded, I washed the vents with soap, and rinsed, and dried them well. I set them in front of a fan to make sure they dried thoroughly.

Oh, I forgot to mention that before I did all of that, I went to my local Home Depot to get the paint. I didn’t know what color I wanted to spray them, I just knew I didn’t care for the color they were.


My paint guy suggested this type of paint. He said this had great coverage and would be durable. I needed durable since most of the vents are on the floor. He said this paint would be a great choice. I was stoked that it was a paint and primer in one! I like the metallic bits in the paint. Helps to hide imperfections in the metal too! Win-win.

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I let my paint guy choose the color. I’ve been getting his advice on paint for a decade and he hasn’t let me down! It glitters! Shiny! Swoon!

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This pic was taken during the day. I love the color!


Before…(Vent from downstairs bathroom).

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After! (Vent from living room).

What do you think of the before and after?

What I took away from this project: 1. You can’t skip good old fashion sanding. I don’t enjoy doing it, it’s just one of those things you can’t get away from. So, unless you know of an easier way of getting rid of rust… 2. A good paint is essential for a good outcome.

Pros on this Rust-Oleum Universal Advance Metallic Spray paint:

1. As I mentioned above, the metallic hides flaws and if there were no flaws, I’d still use it because the metallic feature is just so pretty and just so cool, don’t you think?!

2. I like the spray nozzle. It’s comfortable and simple to use. Just shake well, point and go at it! I was concerned about getting to the many slots and angles of the vents, but I found that the type of nozzle on this particular spray can, really handled the job well. No sore finger (if you’ve done a lot of spray painting, you know what I mean). I found doing short bursts the best way to get it covered. I did three coats and made sure that I allowed it to dry to the touch in between coats. It was a nice warm day and it was dry to the touch in about 15 minutes, but I waited an hour. After the last coat was on and dried to the touch, I stored the vents in the garage for a week to make sure they were fully cured before installing them.

3. The finish of the paint is really smooth.

4. I like how fast the paint dried (to the touch).

5. As for durability, it’s holding up super well. I vacuum right over them at least twice a day.

Cons on this Rust-Oleum Universal Advance Metallic Spray paint…

1. This isn’t a really a con, but it’s the only thing I can think of…having to take off paint with mineral spirits. I know, it’s not really a con. This paint is oil based and as you know, oil based needs mineral spirits to take off.

I’m thrilled with the outcome. This project was easy… time-consuming (because I waited several days for a good hard cure), but easy. This saved me money too (Insert cheer here*).

Look out rusted shower curtain rod…you’re next! Rust-Oleum Universal Metallic Advanced Paint and Primer in One is a paint I will use again.

I don’t regret the color, but as the project continued, I was thinking about other colors and it could be a fun way to add a “pop” of color; like orange, or turquoise, or rose gold… If you do this project, a “pop” of color could be super awesome! 🙂

If you have vents that need a face-lift, this could be a fab solution for you. Thank you for reading!

✿ Peace, Koko ✿





43 thoughts on “Save Money: Make Your Vents New Again

  1. Koko, you’ve done it again❗️ Great idea to save money and have your vents look Ike new. Also, I had heard for years that cola will remove rust from metal surfaces, but I had never tried it. Now, I don’t have to, since you just did. Maybe it’s not a “bad” method, but it certainly doesn’t seem to be as good of a method as I had heard. Thanks for trying that and reporting the results.
    Awesome outcome to a great project idea❗️

    Thank you for sharing, and have a fantastic weekend❗️❗️

    • I’m glad you found this post helpful. What a difference this project made to the look of the house. It instantly makes the space look clean and fresh! And now I don’t have to grumble every time I see the dingy rusty old vents! Thanks for reading. Your comment made my day! Take care! Koko 🙂

  2. Dropping the vent in cola (What a waste of perfectly good soda! 😉 ) reminded me of an experiment I learned when I was a kid. If you scratch the surface of a penny and drop it in a container of vinegar, it will eventually hollow out the metal inside the penny. You can even watch it very slowly happen (Or, at least, bubbles from the chemical reaction) once it really gets going after a day or two…

    • Don’t ya love science?! I’ve always been fascinated with stuff like that! Well if you were near, I would have gladly have given you the soda. It’d been sitting in my pantry for months! Keep on keeping on! Have an awesome day! 🙂

    • What a difference a can of spray paint made! Thanks on the curtains. The fabric is just right weight for that part of the house. It let’s just the right amount of light in! The sun is out here, so I’m going to catch some rays! I hope the sun is shining where you are. Have an awesome day!

    • I oooh and ahhh over them. Silly but true! 😉 Thank you so much for all the “likes”. I know how busy our lives can be and that was so thoughtful of you to spend so much time on my blog. Take care! 🙂

  3. What a lovely outcome!

    I’m curious as to why you have so many vents? As far as I’m aware, I only have one vent in my house , though I could do with a second to remove condensation from my bathroom more effectively.

    • Thank you! I’m glad I’m finally done with them. What a difference it makes! Vents are what I call them…it’s where the heat and air conditioning come out of… 🙂 At Home Depot they refer to them as “floor vent registers”. And the ones on the ceiling or wall are referred to as “ceiling/sidewall vent register”. I should have been more clear. Thank you kindly for commenting. 🙂

      • Yes, no radiator. We have what’s called a heat pump. And we have air-conditioning. They come out of separate units, however both come out of the same vents. I take it, you have a radiator for heat? How do you like it?

      • Yes, I have radiators. That’s all I’ve really experience – apart from gas fires (in the U.K.) and an air-con/heater in China.
        Out of the three I like central heating with radiators the best. And now I’ve had new double glazing put in, I hardly need any heating at all 😊.

    • Yes, that’s what we all need…more to add to the list! Hahaha. Well, I am glad I could help. 😉 It really makes the room look finished. I never would have thought it until I did it. Take care Jo. Stay warm! And, happy fall!

  4. We are remodeling our office on a budget and I was just thinking about how I need new vent covers. These look awesome! I’m going to try it out. Thanks for the idea!!

    • Yay! I hope you give this a try. A bonus is, you can pick a really cool color. You can blend them in or give them a pop of color! Good luck with your office. I’m sure it’s going to be gorgeous. Thank you for stopping by.

  5. My Dad uses WD40 to remove rust, he did my old bike spokes with it. But you did a great job. I’m renting a room in a big old house now and the microwave is manky I wish I knew how to get that rusty bubbly stuff on the roof of it cleaned so I could use it!

  6. What a great DIY project 😊. I love the darker color as it has to hide the dirt and dust. I also love the idea of adding various pops of color to them. One though I bet s nail file would be great to get in between those grates.Thanks for sharing.

  7. This is brilliant! I use Rust-Oleum pretty frequently for projects, but a vent refresh is one that hasn’t occurred to me yet. I’ll have to try that particular finish—it’s beautiful!

    • I was hesitant at first on the color (wondering if it will “match” look right) and I believe it does! I have light wood floors as you can see and other wood colors and mixed metals…that color really looks good IMO. I trusted my paint guy at the local store near me. He was right! 🙂 I can’t believe it took me this long to do them. Seriously…what a difference in the overall look. Lovely to have you here. Thanks for looking and commenting. Hope your day is off to a fab start! 🙂

  8. I love this, Koko! You are so creative––and good for you for sanding, even though it’s not your favorite thing to do. The metallic adds a majestic quality to the look too. 🙂 I appreciate how you bring a blessing to each project you do (I got this out of your About page, and also it is evident here.)

    All the best,

    • Your lovely comment made my day! You wrote it with such thoughtfulness and care and I want you to know I really appreciate it. This came at a perfect time. Thank you for your kindness. Have a wonderful weekend.

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