Here in South West Florida screens are a must. We have beautiful weather during the winter months that allow us to keep our windows open to enjoy the fresh air. Anyone who resides in the SWFL area also knows that not only do we have beautiful weather, we can also have an enormous amount of bugs. Whether it is a window screen, lanai screen or pool cage screen you need to make sure they are all up to par to keep the bugs out.
What to look for when checking your screens.
First, the obvious, holes. If you have a hole in a screen then the screen is obviously not doing its job. A small hole can lead to bugs creeping in. You also want to check the edges of the screen. There can sometimes be a rip caused by wind along the edge of the frame and is not always noticeable unless you gently push on the screen or the window blows. This normally is an issue with pool cage and lanai screens but can also happen with normal window screens. Also, as screen ages it may become dry rotted, which makes the screen very stiff and brittle. When this happens to a screen, the screen becomes very susceptible to damage, you can easily push your finger through a screen like this when a new screen with flex and push out as you press your finger against it.The next thing to look for is the spline. The spline of is the rubber material that keeps the actually screen material in the frame of the screen. The spline may be dry rotted causing it to slip out of the frame. We have come across screens in the past that have had the spline missing from one side of the frame.
Next, you want to look at the frame of the screen. For pool cages and lanais, damage will be quite obvious do to the size of the frame materials. On a window screen, you want to make sure the metal frame is not bent. If it is bent it won't fit into the window properly causing a gap. Also, the corners of a window screen are normally a plastic bracket that connect the two sides of the screen. The will dry out and crack with age preventing the screen from sitting properly within the frame of the window.
How to repair these issues?
For those DIY'ers out there, screen repair is definitely a project that you can attempt. It's fairly easy once you get the hang of it and you can by materials at most hardware stores (ie Home Depot, Lowe's, etc.). Here are the items you will need for repair a screen:
- Screen: It comes in different materials, colors, and density of mesh, so make sure that you buy the proper screen to match other panels or window screens.
- Spline: Like screen is comes in different types. There is a flat type (typical of lanai or pool cage screening) and a round type (typical on window screens).
- Roller: A roller is a tool that aids in the insertion of the spline. There are different types but anyone will do.
- Frame Work: For window screens you may be able to find this at a local hardware store. For pool cages and lanais you may have to order it from a aluminum shop or find a local retailer. Frames can be different sizes and colors.
- Razor: You will need something to cut the screen after you have inserted it into the frame. A sharp blade definitely works best.
Window Screens are fairly easy and safe to do. You want to lay a piece of screen over the frame. Do not cut the screen to size (you can cut out a small panel to make it easier to work with). You will trim it to exact size later. Once the screen is laid over the frame it is time to insert the spline. Simply take a piece of spline, bring it to the corner of the screen, and roll it into the channel. Do one side of the screen, then the two adjacent sides, then the opposite side last. Here are a few tips to make it a little easier: Make sure that you don't pull the screen to tight our you will bend the frame of the screen. Also, be careful when pushing the spline into the frame, it is possible to rip the screen if you are not careful. And the best tip I can give you is to look at the mesh pattern of the screen. Make sure that it is as perfectly parallel to the frame. This will help you keep the bubbles out of the screen.
Pool cages and lanais can be a little more difficult for some people. The higher and larger panels make it more difficult to get the screen in properly. You may be able to get it in but it may not be tight and may have some bubbling in the corners. It is best to have two people working together on these type of panels and proper safety equipment if you have to work on higher or roof panels. It is always recommended to use a professional for this type of screen repair.
Repairing frame work can be a little more difficult. You need to have the proper equipment to make precise cuts. Window screens are obviously easier than pool cages and lanais but do take time and precision. Work on a pool cage frame can be dangerous. A broken piece of framework can cause instability within the structure. It is always wise to inspect your surrounding before beginning work on this project and make sure that you are up for it before you start the project.