Description: This is bright metal screening in virtually endless lengths (100-foot rolls) and in widths of 24 to 48 inches.
Buying information: Aluminum screening is strong and easy to see through. It also reflects light better than any other screening, making it relatively opaque from the outside in daylight. It is available in a couple of gauges. For most uses the finer-gauge wire (called 18x16) works fine. If children are in the area and you want the screening to be able to take extra punishment, install the heavier screening (18x14). In addition to being available by the foot, screening also comes in precut rolls, but this is more expensive. A typical length for packaged material is 6 feet, and it comes in various widths up to 48 inches.
How-to hints: With the right tools, installing aluminum screening is a good job for the beginning do-it-yourselfer. The main tool is a screening tool with a convex metal wheel on one end and a concave wheel on the other. One wheel presses the screening into the groove on the screen frame and the other presses the spline, which holds the screen in place. Spline comes in various diameters (you must get the diameter that fits the grooves in the screen frame you're working on) and in smooth or ridged form. Smooth is faster to use (good if you have a lot of screens to do) but ridged is less likely to slip out of the groove in the frame.
To make the job easier, use small C clamps; they hold the screening down on one side while you work on the other. Use a sharp utility knife to cut screening, changing blades as needed, and wear gloves to protect your fingers against cut screening edges.
You may be able to use the old spline that holds the screening in place at the edges by first washing it in warm, soapy water to clean and soften it. Otherwise you can buy new spline in five different diameters; take a piece of the existing spline with you to the store to get the proper size.
Old-fashioned screens with wooden frames are also simple to rescreen. Fold over the screen at the edges and staple it in place. It's usually better to use new molding strips.
If you are right-handed, it's easier if you do the right side and top first. If left-handed, do the left side and top first.
To keep the screening taut so it won't "belly" in or out, warp or bow the screen and staple the screen at the top, stretching it across the inside of the bow; staple it at the bottom as well.
When the clamps are released, the tension of the frame will pull the material taut. It can then be stapled at the sides and the moulding strips can be attached.
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