When done right, an exposed ductwork installation can be the feather in a cap a contractor needs to show they have the skill and coordination it takes to land their next job. Make no mistake, exposed ductwork installations aren't easy. Add in fabrication, transportation and the actual hanging of the duct (without dents!), and it all sounds nearly impossible.

But then there are those exposed ductwork installations that make you wonder, who did this and how? We know that feeling, too. And so we've compiled a list of our five favorite exposed ductwork installations with hopes they will give you more answers than questions when it comes to completing your next exposed ductwork installation job. 

1. Tennis stadium's retractable roof requires spiral ductwork that moves

Tennis stadium retractable roof features spiral duct above

Triple S Air Systems, a member of the Sheet Metal and Air-Conditioning Contractors’ National Association based in Ronkonkoma, New York, worked with general contractor Hunt Construction, mechanical contractor F.W. Sims Inc., M/E Engineering, and Rossetti Architects for about four months designing the complicated system that included 76-inch diameter ductwork, with 2-inch rigid liner board that could flex 6-12 inches when the roof retracted. No one on the team, including journeymen with decades of experience, had  ever seen a similar project before.

2. HVAC ductwork gets splashed with color

ProCoat red ductwork

Linx Industries uses its ProCoat coated HVAC system, where a primer coat of zinc-rich epoxy is “baked on” to the outer shell of the ductwork, followed by a polyester top coat that protects the base coat and adds a glossy finish. 

The product is available for round and flat-oval ductwork up to 60 inches in diameter and comes in standard colors — black, red, blue, white, green and orange — and custom colors that are matched using the RAL color-matching system.

3. $1.5 billion Atlanta stadium makes wide use of spiral duct

Spiral duct in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta football stadium

Hanging spiral ductwork inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium would require R.F. Knox employees to work even higher — the facility is 305 feet off the ground. Field superintendent Matt Marshall, a longtime Knox employee, said you couldn’t be scared of heights and work on the arena project.

The large spiral “bowl duct” was to be installed 240 feet above the football field, just underneath the retractable roof. Flexible connectors would allow the duct to move 10 to 12 inches when the roof was opening or closing.

4. How spiral duct helped transform two multipurpose facilities

32-story Pyramid Arena

Dixie Metal Products supplied the rectangular and spiral duct systems that maintain the massive indoor environment. Over 350,000 pounds of single- and double-wall ductwork was fabricated to be either concealed or exposed in a manner that blended with the structure, such as artificial coral applied to the outside of the exposed duct in the bowling alley — an area that was designed to simulate an underwater environment.   

5. Streimer Sheet Metal Works: The benefits of spiral duct during building

Streimer Sheet Metal ductwork

Officials with Streimer Sheet Metal Works Inc. of Portland, Oregon, said they believe that spiral is the most efficient means of producing steel air-handling ductwork. Streimer has observed that product efficiencies for fabrication are as high as 3-to-1 as compared with rectangular duct.

One tube-forming machine can produce a variety of products, from less than 4-inches-diameter galvanized duct up to 5-foot-diameter stainless steel ductwork with flanges. Custom lengths are also simple to accommodate, and are much more efficient to produce than custom-length rectangular duct.