Solar Screens and Repairing Solar Screen Material

The primary reason that people want to install solar screens on their home is to keep the sun out.  Depending upon what you call them, they can also be considered solar shades as well. While this is obvious, what isn’t are all of the other benefits to these types of screens.  We’ll touch on some of these here and also go into how you can repair a torn or ripped one. 

Like other types of window screens, these are really nothing more than a mesh material that has somewhat fine pattern to keep as much of the intense ultraviolet sun’s rays out of your home as possible.  This adds up to not only a more comfortable indoor space, as far as temperature goes, but also less cooling costs and a protection of your furniture and other items in the room. There are some that argue that the claims of how much heat is reduced are wildly over-rated by the blind companies, but there is no arguing that they reduce the amount of UV light entering your home.

It’s true, the ultraviolet rays have damaging effects on the fabric materials used in furniture and rugs.  If you have pictures or paintings on your walls, the sunlight can be damaging to these as well.  You might know that some of the outdoor furniture fabrics are now made with ultraviolet-resistant properties.  Sunbrella™ is one company that has really pioneered this advancement.

Well, a screen on your window will go a long way toward keeping the damaging rays out in the first place.  The reason we include a discussion about these window screens on our patio site is that they make great sense for a patio room.  If you’ve got a place you like to go to read or relax, the exposure depending upon the side of your home can be too extreme to enjoy at certain times of the year.  These can greatly enhance your level of comfort in those rooms for longer stretches of time and seasons.

One of the most critical exposures on your home to consider these types of screens is the south and west exposures.  These are the ones that will get the brunt of the summer sun’s intensity.  The southern wall will have a longer exposure period and can heat up drastically during the longer summer days.

Their purpose is clear, but what about other features?  The mesh screen is ‘porous’ enough to easily allow you to see through it from the inside and still allows for some added privacy from outdoors.  Most times, these screens appear black or a dark brown color from the outside.  Some HOAs will give you a hard time about these, but you can usually win your case. You may need to show samples of the screens in place. They are fairly unobtrusive and don’t stand out much apart from the windows themselves.

Repairing or Replacing Your Solar Window Screens

solar screens_repair

A tear like this is best replaced not patched

If you get a tear or rip in your screen from degradation over time or from cleaning, you can probably repair it yourself.  If the tear or rip is large enough, you might be better off just replacing the screen entirely.  The process does require some tools, however.  Mostly, you’ll just need a spline or splining tool.  It looks like a small pizza cutter and is used to roll the rubber or vinyl spline into the grooves in the screen’s frame.  You can purchase the new screen material at your local home improvement warehouse.  You may be able to reuse your old spline material.  If not, you can purchase that again as well.

photo credit

If you can use your existing material for measurements, that is ideal.  If not, simply measure the frame and add about ½” to all sides to account for the depth of the spline track.  You will just trim away any excess and cutting it too short simply will not fit.  Once you’ve cut your screen to size, lay it flat over the frame – keep the screen material stretched taught – and begin using the spline roller to put the spline back into the groove, pressing the screen material in place.  You’ll want to do this firmly but not excessively, as you may tear your screen material.  Once complete, repeat this step on all four sides.  Trim off the excess around the frame and you’re ready to put your new solar screen back up.

The type of screen you’ll find today is typically a vinyl or other type of man-made or synthetic material. Metal is another option, more common in the past. Metal is more often used for the smaller mesh window screens that are used in the hung window region. When your window is open, these screens prevent the insects from coming in your home. The screen material come in rolls that can be cut to your specific needs. If you’re ordering them for the first time, all you’ll need to do is have the window blind representative measure and even install them when they come in. Installing them only takes a few hours and can be done in a variety of ways. Some are mounted directly to the frames of the windows, others are screwed through the stucco of your home into the framing. The use of little brackets hold the solar screens in place. They can be easily removed to clean the windows or for the repairs mentioned above.

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