Window Sunscreens


Well, my wife has been thinking, and that usually results in a Summer Project.  This time it was window screens.  As you can tell, the extension of screen life by spray painting and treating the screens several years back, bought us time but it was time to tune up the screens and upgrade the sunscreen material.  An added touch was to update the color of the frames to the beige color that is now in style.

We initially were thinking of having a company replace the screens, but when you get those quotes, it is amazing how motivating you can get to do them yourself.  After the eye-opening quotes, we evaluated the screens and knowing that a do-it-yourself mentality and a bit of know-how could decrease the cost of this update dramatically.  We set out to rebuild the screens that could be rebuilt, changing out portions of the frame that were damaged (recycling frame material as possible and replacing with new as needed), and re-screening them ourselves.  We updated the color by priming them with Kilz and painted the frames with a spray paint – Navajo White.   

There are several different screen materials to choose from, but we found one that wasn’t too dark and wasn’t outrageously expensive.  The width of 48” as a minimum because the majority of our 40 screens, yes 40 windows, required a width between 36” and 45” so this was a perfect compromise to maximize use of material.  Other tools needed:  a good box knife, plenty of box knife blades, a miter saw.  I’ve rescreened a few screens previously and knew that it was going to be a challenge for 40 screens but was a project that could be accomplished but with more professional tools then the spline setter I’ve used in the past. 


After locating the proper resources and tools; new spline tool, frame material (5/16” frame and 7/16” frame), internal aluminum corners for each frame size (5/16″ and 7/16″), screen material, spline (right sizes for both frame sizes), and paint. We were set to tackle the project.  I know the internal frame corners are a bit over the top, but it makes for a more professional look and besides, I hate the look of the plastic corners.  These and a properly outfitted miter saw and you get the same professional look at about a 6th of the cost.


To cut the frame material we used a miter saw set up with a fine-toothed carbide tipped saw blade.  I have not had problems with this blade cutting aluminum/wood door thresholds so I knew it was the right tool for the job of cutting frame material.              I do recommend that you wear safety glasses, proper pants, and long-sleeved shirt because the metal shavings can fly unexpectedly, and you don’t want an, “I told you so” moment to haunt you for a long period of time.  I also recommend cutting the frame from the spline side after allowing the blade to come to full speed and allowing the blade to progress through the material without forcing it.


The project came together very well.  After a few frames, the process of breaking down the frames, rebuilding them, painting them, and rescreening them became very rewarding.  As each screen went back into its window and the clean updated look refreshed the look of the house continued, it was rewarding to see the job done and the savings experienced.



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