Lower Your Cooling Costs Using Solar Screening
By Chuck Lunsford
No matter where you live, but especially if you live in the southern tier of the country, installation of solar screens simply makes good sense. Some of the benefits include having up to 90% of heat being blocked before reaching window surface, instant energy cost reductions and carpet & furniture fading is greatly reduced.
Installing the panels is one of the easier jobs you can do around the home. There are a number of books and do-it-yourself videos available that make jobs like this go much smoother.
Solar screening is a unique woven mesh that blocks the sun's hot rays before they enter your windows. It is excellent for use on windows, doors and porches. Sun shading is made of strong, extremely durable, vinyl-coated polyester fabric. It was developed originally for use on outdoor furniture, and premium designs are resistant to mildew, fading and some pet damage. It only needs occasional cleaning with mild soap and water.
Let's talk about the tools needed. The task doesn't require many tools, but make sure you have what you need before you get started or worse yet are up on a ladder and realize you forgot a tool you might need. I used the following tools to complete my screening:
Spline (rubber gasket that holds the screen in the frame)
Spline tool (looks like small pizza cutter)
DO NOT FORGET THIS TIP! Make sure you use the right size spline. If you have an old piece then use a piece it or a piece of the frame if possible to your local hardware store and have someone help you get the right size. Using the wrong size spline may result in watching your hard work get blown away by the first stiff breeze!!
Blue painters tape (for holding the screen in place if you can't remove the frame)
Exacto knife or equivalent
Screen frame material (if you don't have or can't use existing frames)
Corner clips (if you have to create your own screen frames)
Turn clips (if your windows don't have screen tracks)
First we have to measure. This is fairly straightforward.
All screens and frames should be measured to the 1/8, 1/4, 3/8/, 1/2, 5/8, 3/4 or 7/8 increments.
Solar screens and frames cover the glass area of your window. The ideal measurement for the screens and screen frames would be the exact measurement of your outside window frame.
Once you have your measurements you can proceed.
Assuming you don't have existing screen frames.
Step 1: Cut out your frame according to your measurements. Don't forget to compensate for the corner clips. Typically these are 1/2" long on each side.
Step 2: Join your frame pieces together. Another good idea is to take the completed frame and match it up to the window it's being installed in. This lets you know if you measured and cut correctly.
Step 3: Remove the solar window screen from the wrapper.
Step 4: Roll the screen out flat on a level surface area.
Step 5: Lay over the frame. Cut out your piece leaving about 1/2" of excess on all sides...
Step 6: Simply roll the screen in with the spline roller.
Starting in the middle of the screen area is the easiest and roll back and forth until complete.
Step 7: Press the spline in the corners with a screwdriver and trim off excess screen and spline.
Step 8: Place new screen and frame over windows. If your windows don't have screen tracks then use turn clips to hold them in place.
There, if you followed those steps you should be done and have some nice looking solar screens to boot.
Chuck Lunsford is a successful Webmaster and publisher of JustGoDoItYourself.com He provides more tips and advice on accomplishing do it yourself solar screens
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