Any home owner living in the Southern United States can reap big pay back by installing exterior window solar screens. But the pay back is even greater when the solar screens are made and installed by the home owner. And, making them yourself isn’t as difficult as you might think.
Solar screens installed on a home enhance the home’s street appearance, cut the sun’s UV rays entering the home and in so doing provide both cooler indoor temperatures and less sun fade damage to the home owner’s furnishings.
By stopping heat transfer through windows, solar screens are an efficient energy lowering warm weather window treatment. They can easily be installed to your home and a bonus benefit to having them is the daytime privacy the screens provide.
Anyone looking in from outside can’t see in, while anyone inside looking out can see clearly. That means during the day privacy blinds don’t need to be closed.
• Remove existing bug screen
• Measure the exterior window frame
• With measurements in hand shop home improvement stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s for materials
• When choosing screen fabric, you will find that it comes in different width and length rolls ranging from standard window size dimensions to bulk rolls
• Many stores carry a number of colors (though the standard is black) and two density blocker types, allowing you to choose the light control you want – Extra sun blocking or medium sun blocking.
• Screen anchoring ribbed spline which is sold by the roll
• 3/8″ to 1″ frame in 24 gauge aluminum strips come in 4-ft., 6-ft., and 8-ft. lengths and like screen fabric, often comes in more than one color choice
• Weather resistant plastic screen frame corners to secure frame corners. The kind that slip fit into the end of screen frame
• Dry wall screws to attach corner inserts to window frame
• Hack saw
• Ribbed spline roller
• Utility knife
• Screw driver
Cut metal framing to cover entire exterior window size and secure the corners with plastic screen frame corner clips. Cut screening with an overlap of 1-inch all around for securing into metal frame. Lay screen frame on flat surface and lay screen fabric over frame. With screen roller, working slowly, insert screen into metal frame groves. Once screen is secured to frame, use utility knife trim excess screen from edges.
Attach screen to window frame by using existing screen slot that held bug screen, this method allows easy removal during cooler months or for window washing. A more permanent means is to drill screws directly into the home window frame and attach solar screens.
Choosing this approach makes the screens less easy to remove, but resistant to coming off in severe wind. Caution must be used when attaching screens directly to window frame. Be careful not to drill into glass frame air seal.
Solar screens are a long term investment, but not to be considered a one time purchase for the long term home owner. The solar screens are exposed to harsh weather and extreme sun, thus they need to be replaced about every ten years. When replacing existing solar screens the upside is that the cost is only half the original investment.
By using the existing frames new solar screen fabric and ribbed spline will be all that is needed and the old screen material can be used as a template for cutting the new replacement. Use a screw driver to lever old screen fabric from frame.
If you have an existing sliding glass door screen and want to convert it to a solar screen, simply remove the existing screen and replace with solar screen fabric, again using the old screen as a template to cut the new.
With energy costs rising and the focus more and more on going green, isn’t it time you install solar screens on your home, cutting the cost in half by making them yourself? At the same time you will reduce window glare – preserve views – limit solar heat gain.