27 April 2010

Screen Dreams

Home improvement projects are not necessarily my forte, but sometimes duty calls and I am thrust upon a new task. To my delight, these tasks are most often given to me by my lovely wife. One such project has been on my 'to do' list for some time, and I recently completed it; with Valerie's help, no less. To be honest, though, there is nothing like the satisfaction of a job well done; especially if it is hard earned.

Our front porch has eleven removable panels. We have a set of glass panels, and a set of screen panels. I install the glass panels during the winter months, and install the screen panels for spring, summer, and fall. It is a nice option to have, as the screens allow for a nice breeze on the porch in the summer. Unfortunately, most of the screens became rusty over the years, and they really looked unattractive on the house. They looked so bad I didn't even install them last summer, and just kept the glass up year round. The porch got so uncomfortably hot last summer; we really didn't spend any time out there, so we decided we had to do something about those rusty screens.

Figuring it would cost a small fortune to have someone re-screen them for us, I looked into doing the project myself. Upon analyzing the screen panels, it was clear to see how they were assembled, and it was pretty basic. The screen frames are made of wood, and a piece of screen is just stretched across the opening. A small piece of trim is nailed into place to cover the edges of the screen. It seemed easy enough to disassemble the frame, remove the old screen, apply the new screen, and reassemble the frame. Once we had our game plan, we headed to the hardware store to get supplies.

Anxious to get to work, I got started on the screens as soon as we got home from the hardware store. I placed a screen panel on our picnic table and began taking off the trim. The trim came off without any problem, and I then proceeded to take off the old screen. Removing the old screen proved to be more difficult, but I was able to do it without much trouble. After the old screen was removed, I stretched the new screen over the panel and began nailing it in. I put a nail every two or three inches and pulled the screen in order to keep it tight. Once the new screen was on, I cut off any excess and hammered the trim back on. One down, ten to go.

It took me a little less than an hour to get that first screen finished. The work wasn't difficult at all, just time consuming. In order to cut down on the time it took to finish a panel, I recruited Valerie to do the dismantling for me. She happily obliged, and we were a force to be reckoned with. She would get the old screen off in about the same amount of time it took me to get a new one on. It was a great system.

It took us two days to get it done, probably a total of eight hours of work, and the porch looks wonderful! It was definitely worth the effort, and it is so nice to feel the breeze on the front porch again.

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