Sheet Metal Screws vs Rivets for Ductwork

Sheet Metal Screws vs Rivets for Ductwork

While finishing the ductwork for my dust collection system, I ran into a dilemma.  The sheet metal screws protrude into the ducting more than I was comfortable with.  I used the shortest screws I could find.  However, the length of the screws concerned me that chips might snag on screws and lead to bigger issues.

The alternative is pop rivets.  They look much nicer and protrude less into the interior of the ducting.  The only major drawback is that they are slightly more permanent.  In practice, they aren’t that difficult to remove.  Select a drill bit that’s about the same size as the rivet head and drill it off.  To install, simply drill a hole that’s the same size as the rivet.  Insert the rivet post into the gun, the head into the hole, and then squeeze the handle until the post snaps off.

All you need is a rivet gun and some pop rivets.  The rivets I used are 1/8-inch by 1/8-inch.

Rivets for Ductwork

In the end, I definitely prefer rivets for duct work.  Just make sure you’re comfortable with everything before installing them.

Stay tuned.  I’m about 95% complete with my ductwork and should have another post in the next day or two.

For the rest of the workshop build, check out the garage workshop build index.


3 thoughts on “Sheet Metal Screws vs Rivets for Ductwork

  1. huh, this is interesting…I have lived my life thinking rivets were these complicated things to install that required a tool on both sides of the material. Thanks for the enlightenment. Do you also seal the joints somehow with tape as well to keep the air loss to a minimum?

    • Brad, I was under that impression too. You can find pop rivets and rivet guns at just about any hardware store. They range from $10-$25.

      I am using silicone caulk at all of the joints.

  2. Pop rivets are very cool. In the history of time, those screws are NOT going to hurt your suckage. If you ever want to change a joint, you are going to really hate those pop rivets… Just my .02 worth…

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