Window Sunscreens


Well, my wife has been thinking, and that usually results in a summer project.  This time it was window screens.  The Arizona sun can do a number on your screens.  As you can tell, 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 motivated you can get, to do them yourself.  After the eye-opening quotes, running about $50 to $100 a screen, we evaluated doing it ourselves. 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 beige color spray paint – Navajo White.  


1st Screen Completed
Box Cutter

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 the use of material.  Other tools needed:  a good box knife, plenty of box knife blades, and a miter saw.  I’ve rescreened a few screens previously and knew that it was going to be a challenge for 40 screens. I decided to purchase professional tools to reduce fatigue when splining the screens.  

We added these metal brackets so we could easily rotate and remove the screens for cleaning.

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.

Professional spline tool made it easy to put the spline in the frame without tearing the screen material and eliminated fatigue.
Internal Frame Corners

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 cutting the metal frame material.         

    I do recommend that you wear safety glasses, proper pants, and a long-sleeved shirt because the metal shavings can fly unexpectedly, and you don’t want an, “I told you so” moment to haunt you.  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.

Frames were painted with Navajo White spray paint.

The project came together very well.  After a few times, the process of breaking down the frames, rebuilding, painting, 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.  We were able to complete the entire house of over 40 screens for around $450.  The majority of the cost came from the screen material we ordered from Home Depot.

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