How to make a screen frame

Garage screen door.
Garage screen door.

As the final stage of building our garage sliding screen door its time to build the two screen frames and install the screen material. This didn’t cost me anything… well, ok, for you purist out there, it did at some point in the past. I had bought material to make the screens for our sunrooom and the scraps left over I did not throw out. So, it didn’t cost me anything EXTRA.

 

Figure 1 shows I started with some scrap pine to make the frame. A simple butt joint with one screw. Drilled and counter sunk first to prevent splitting. Then I went digging to see what materials I had left over.

Figure 1: Screen material.
Figure 1: Screen material scraps.

Next was to make a test cut on a scrap block of pine to imitate what will occur on the pine frame (Figures 2 through 6). First thing I wanted to see was if the kerf cut from the blade on the table saw was wide enough to accommodate the screen and the screen ‘rope’ that would get pressed in place to position the screen.

Figure 2: Testing the kerf width
Figure 2: Testing the kerf width
Figure 3: Pressing in the screen
Figure 3: Pressing in the screen
Figure 4: Screen in the slot.
Figure 4: Screen in the slot.
Figure 5: Starting to roll in the rope.
Figure 5: Starting to roll in the rope.
Figure 7: Testing looks good.
Figure 6: Testing looks good.

Now its time to make the frames. I started with making the kerf cuts on the tablesaw. (Figure 7)

Figure 7: Kerf cuts on the frames
Figure 7: Kerf cuts on the screen frames

Installing screen is relatively simple. Two things to keep in mind, you want the screen to be fairly straight and you also want it to be fair flat. A loose screen just looks sloppy.  So the first side (doesn’t matter which side you start with) is the easiest one. You only have to be concerned about the screen staying fairly straight (Figure 8).

 

Figure 8: Installing the first side.
Figure 8: Installing the first side.

Next we move to the opposite side and install the rope (Figure 9). Its important to note that you should not tug on the screen while installing the rope. Just so long as its fairly flat. Its the 3rd and 4th sides that will pull the screen tight.

Figure 9: Installing the second side.
Figure 9: Installing the second side.

Now I install the 3rd side (Figure 10) which pulls in the screen somewhat. You want to leave a little bit of slackness to remain on the screen because installing the 4th side will take care of that.

Figure 10: Third side installed.
Figure 10: Third side installed.

So now we are at the final side. Again, you don’t have to tug on the screen to make it tight and flat. You can just pull with light finger pressure while pushing in the rope. When done, a nice flat screen (Figure 11 and 12).

Figure 11: Flat screen
Figure 11: Flat screen

 

Figure 12: Screen ready to install
Figure 12: Screen ready to install

Oppps… one more thing, I need to trim the excess (Figure 13).

Figure 13: Trim the excess.
Figure 13: Trim the excess.

NOW I am ready to install the screen :). All that is needed is a couple coats of deck stain (my go-to choice for painting outdoor wood) and we have a new sliding screen door for the garage.

 

Screens ready to install.
Screens ready to install.
Sliding screen door installed.
Sliding screen door installed.
Garage screen door.
Garage screen door.

 

 

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