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Thread: Porch screen for the shop

  1. #1

    Porch screen for the shop

    I am to the point of putting screen on my porch of my shop. I am considering doing it myself using the SnapP aluminum extrusions.

    https://snappscreen.com

    The openings are about 9' wide which is my concern. I might have a lot of trouble getting a piece that wide straight and smooth. I understand from youtube videos that the only difficult thing is getting the first spline into the screen at the top in straight.

    Any advice or experience with screened porches is welcome.

    Thanks

    TW

  2. #2
    Where are you going to find screen that's nine feet wide? I use the Screen Tite stuff, sold by both Lowes and HD.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Wrenn View Post
    Where are you going to find screen that's nine feet wide? I use the Screen Tite stuff, sold by both Lowes and HD.
    Snapp sells rolls 120” wide. I think it is made by Phifer. https://shop.snappscreen.com/pool-patio-screen/

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Wilson View Post
    Snapp sells rolls 120” wide. I think it is made by Phifer. https://shop.snappscreen.com/pool-patio-screen/

    Having built screens in a previous lifetime, I find anything over four feet wide hard to work with. Most screen building tables are only five feet wide. Any wider, the builder can't reach the center of screen.

  5. #5
    These would be screened in place. The extrusion is applied to the framed opening and then the screen is applied using a spline to force the screen into a groove. The spline holds and tensions the panel. That is the way the aluminum extrusion is designed to work. But, even with no experience, it seems difficult. But clearly, the screen companies show panels much wider in their galleries. I am just trying to figure out how to do it. I am thinking of a three step process. First, cut the panel extra long so it can clamped straight and flat between two boards using screws. Next, attach the clamped boards above the opening allowing the screen to hang straight all the way across. Finally, roll the spline into the extrusion to secure the top. Then the screen can be trimmed and the temporary support can be removed. The splines in the sides and bottom can be inserted normally without any temporary support.

    There does seem to be a supply problem with the 120” screen. Snapp only has their heaviest screen, SuperScreen, in 120”. They used to offer screens with better visibility, BetterScreen and Ultrascreen, in the wider size but those are not listed now.

  6. #6
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    From my experience making much smaller screens (up to 30"x 60") I think that you'll want to figure out a way to evenly tension the screen material over the entire area before starting to roll the spine material into the grooves. Once the screen starts getting pulled into the groove, it will pull slightly from other areas. Having extra hands available to help hold things under slight tension might be key to getting a nice, straight lay to the finished screens.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Seng View Post
    From my experience making much smaller screens (up to 30"x 60") I think that you'll want to figure out a way to evenly tension the screen material over the entire area before starting to roll the spine material into the grooves. Once the screen starts getting pulled into the groove, it will pull slightly from other areas. Having extra hands available to help hold things under slight tension might be key to getting a nice, straight lay to the finished screens.

    Did you use polyester screen? I think it stretches more than aluminum making it easier to tension.

    Here is a YouTube of some guys who say they are first time, do-it-yourselfers installing a similar size opening. They are applying a little bit of hand tension ahead of the spline, but they seem to be relying on the spline pulling the screen into the groove for tensioning. They say not to get too much tension. Two people seem to work pretty well. My job is going to be trickier because the floor of the porch is 12’ off the ground. The builder said I could use his scaffold jacks and 24’ walk boards.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhJMu-eF8dM
    Last edited by Thomas Wilson; 02-12-2021 at 1:42 PM.

  8. #8
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    I can't help with the 120 wide screen, but I am huuuuuuuge fan of Snapp screen. As a matter of fact one of my home improvement projects is on their youtube channel:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=An021hbT428

    I cut the screen oversized...tacked it up a the top and in my case I was able to let the screen hang long...the weight of the screen helped hold it tight. To stretch the screen, I used some small scraps of spline to temporary tack the screen in place.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Mason-Darnell View Post
    I can't help with the 120 wide screen, but I am huuuuuuuge fan of Snapp screen. As a matter of fact one of my home improvement projects is on their youtube channel:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=An021hbT428

    I cut the screen oversized...tacked it up a the top and in my case I was able to let the screen hang long...the weight of the screen helped hold it tight. To stretch the screen, I used some small scraps of spline to temporary tack the screen in place.
    Good review. Thanks for the endorsement. Good idea on using short pieces of spline to tack the screen in place. I saw in the other video that I posted that they used quick clamps to hold screen in place at the top. I am getting my courage up to place the order.
    Last edited by Thomas Wilson; 02-12-2021 at 2:02 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    I screened 8 ft wide x 4.5 ft tall openings on our old porch, and my folks had a builder do very similar on their current (and very high end) porch... went great in both cases.

    After I installed all the tracks, my wife and I carefully cut the pieces of screen out in the lawn where we could ensure we got it right. We oversized by a couple inches on all sides (later trimmed after install). On the first piece, I snapped a couple chalk lines on the screen itself to help us keep things straight... that definitely did help, but we didn't bother with all the remaining pieces. We just took it slow and careful and got a nice tight fit.

    I will say.. in my opinion, hang the screen on a hot day as it seems to expand with heat a little bit. At least the screen we used years ago did. That way, on cooler days it goes from tight fit to really tight fit.

    The screen is so invisible once installed, even if you have a minor "droopy" area it's very difficult to see... but I think you'll find that it's easy enough to work with that you can avoid those issues.

    edit: +1 on quick clamps and/or small spline pieces as extra hands. But still, helpful if son/daughter/wife/neighbor/talented dog can be your sidekick.
    Last edited by Bob Riefer; 02-13-2021 at 9:54 AM.
    - Bob R.
    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

  11. #11
    Thank you, Bob. I am convinced I can do it. I am going to order materials Monday. It is chilly today but it will be changing soon here in Tennessee. I have to get the scaffold jacks installed and the extrusion screwed down. I will look for a warm day in March to hang the screen. I will hire one of the builder’s helpers to assist. My wife has a strong aversion to heights and there is no longer a talented dog to help. Daughters are sadly far away.

    I like the chalk line idea. I had thought about stitching a thread across the mesh as a guide for straightness. That would take forever. Chalk would be faster.

    TW

  12. #12
    Join Date
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    You might make a practice screen 9 1/2' wide first. You can then cut it down to 9'.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bender View Post
    You might make a practice screen 9 1/2' wide first. You can then cut it down to 9'.
    The channel that holds the screen has to be installed in a framed opening so I would have to make a frame, apply the channel, and screen it. The channel is the expensive part of the system. I will just learn on my first panel. The channel and spline system means I can just do a panel over if it is not tight. The channel can have new screen and spline installed many times. The screen and spline are inexpensive. I am expecting delivery of materials tomorrow. Job starts next week. It will be fun. I will post some pictures.

  14. #14
    Join Date
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    I tried one of those extrusion systems a few decades ago, but never got on with it. What I've done is figure on adding a 3/4" strip, screwed onto the outside of the framing members. I just use the screen, and a pneumatic stapler, stretching it as needed, after starting with one corner. The stainless staples go in that strip.

    I used the black aluminum screen, before they came out with the "pet-proof" stuff. I think it's been on our screened porch for at least 20 years, and is still okay.

    The strip allows you to take it off, and dispose of the screen remnants, and all the staples, when it comes time to change the screen. Then add another 3/4 strip, and go again.

    A wooden trim piece goes over the staples.

  15. #15
    The aluminum screen is purportedly a lot harder. I am using un-coated nylon. It is very light gauge and transparent which is why I chose it. If the channel does not work, I have made an expensive mistake. The suspense is building.

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