Happy New Year!…. a few weeks late. I know we havent’t posted this year, but we aren’t being lazy, we promise! We have been keeping ourselves busy and getting back into the swing of things. John and I completed a minor project that we just never got around to last year. We replaced our window screens. (Yup, this is super exciting stuff you guys.)
These are our gross old screens. Gross but cool, as they were custom built for our windows. However, because they are custom and located on the inside of the window and not the outside, they are more visible than most people’s screens. As you can see, the actual screen itself was the old thick metal kind and probably 50 years old. They did a really good job of just making every room feel dirty. Not to mention, we couldn’t really see out the windows because of how gross they were. After 9 months of staring at their grossness, they had to come out.
The hardest part about this whole process was removing the screens from the window frames. They had been painted over several times, and the paint had seeped into the cracks and basically glued the frames to the windows. So the first step we took, was running a razor blade through the old paint that joined the seams. We did this on the inside and on the outside of the window. Then we used the handy putty knife to pry in between the seams and loosen things up a bit. Finally we pushed up on the frame until it came loose.
Once the screen was out we used the putty knife again to pry up the wood molding that covered the screen edges. The molding was being held on with metal brads that made the removal relatively easy. After we exposed the screen edge, we tackled the task of removing what felt like 10,000 staples that were holding the screen tightly in place. We just used needle-nosed pliers to pull each one of the suckers out, and off came the screen!
Once all the screen removal excitement subsided, we moved on to sanding and painting all the frames. We figured the frames could use a bit love to remove the old built up paint. In this process, we discovered that the kitchen window trim has been painted 5 different times with different colors: Brown, creamy yellow, red, gray, and then white.
We love finding little tidbits about the former life of our house! After the sanding came the painting, and after the painting we finally got to attach the new screen!
We used a flexible fiberglass screen that we picked up at Home Depot. It provides great visibility and the mesh is super small to keep all those pesky bugs out. The screen process is pretty easy, and I thought it was fun. (But I can be a weirdo.) We cut out a piece of screen that fit the frame and then used the staple gun to attach. Our technique was to start with a staple at 12 o’clock and then pull taught (but not too tight) and staple again at 6 o’clock. Then we did the same from 9 to 3. From there, we just worked around working our way out from the middle of each side toward the corners, making everything tight until there were about 60 staples in each frame. (There is nothing magic about the number 60, it was just what worked for us.)
Here is an important lesson we learned. The Powershot Fastener Staple and Nail Gun is the biggest piece of garbage you can buy for $20. We had to return it twice. Even taking it apart and trying to fix it revealed that the inner mechanism is fundamentally flawed. This is a HORRIBLE product. do not even pick it up. Actually, do pick it up, then throw it on the ground and smash it so that nobody else has to waste their time with it. Get any other staple / nail gun in the store. We finally got the Arrow T50 R.E.D, some T50 staples and BN18 brad nails that did the job without a hitch. sorry about that… back to the post. The last step was to put the wood molding back on and use those new brads to attach the back to the frame.
Here they are, just like new!
We replaced the screens in the kitchen, laundry, bath and master bedroom. Unfortunately, this isn’t really the type of project that photographs very well, so you will just have to take our word it, as we bask in the new light unfiltered by old dirty screen.
Have you completed any projects that made a big difference to you, but no one else would notice it?