Attaching Screen to Doors

Advice on screen door fabrication techniques. June 11, 2010

What is everyone's favorite way to affix fiberglass screen to a custom screen door? If you can provide sketches that would be appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)
From contributor D:
We do it pretty much like the majors. Select your aluminum frame material width and height to match profile (sticking) size, and color specified. Then miter the corners and fit in the plastic corner connectors or screw them together. Then stretch the screen over the frame. Then push in same color vinyl bulb into the groove around the perimeter on top of the screen, like stepping on it all the way around. Use scissors to trim off the excess. Large screens we cut first to size and double over around the edges, just to get a tighter fit, and you'll need to use a block of wood instead of your fingers to press in the bulb. Then just put your framed screen into your opening and shoot stops to hold it in.

From the original questioner:
Thanks contributor D. I definitely like to consider myself in the minor leagues when it comes to windows and doors. I wonder if anyone out there has had success letting the screen into the wooden door frame itself. Or is this a bad idea? If you have done this, is there any one method that is better than another?

From contributor Z:
I would make sure that the screen will be easily removable/repairable.

From contributor R:
I'm doing six in the shop currently. I'm no expert, but here is how we got the best results. These doors have a large rabbeted area, basically full height, with stop material cut to cover the outside edges and three muntin bars. We tried working it with two people keeping tension and a third nailing down the stop strips (not nailing the screen itself). This worked pretty well, but is obviously labor intensive.

Next was to cut the screen as big as the door frame, and use hand clamps to hold it while the stop strips are added. This worked really well. The clamps are released in sequence as the stops are applied. Laying the stops into the rabbet with the screen being held by the clamps added the right amount of stretch. This method also only needs one person, but you do need to lift the door off the bench. Do not use the larger spring clamps! There is too much pressure, so you risk leaving marks. I used the type of clamp that ratchets closed with only hand pressure.

From contributor B:
At our shop we often install screen in a wood screen door. We use spline to hold the screen in. The stiles and rails are rabbeted on the inside edge 5/8" wide by 1/4" deep. You have to stop the rabbets on the stiles and then square them up after assembly. We use a 1/8" router bit to groove the bottom of the rabbet. We use a large collar on the router base to hold that groove about 3/8" from the edge. We cut a piece of screen about 3" too large in both dimensions and lay it over the door opening. Then you force that spline through the screen into the grooves using a spline tool which is basically a thin roller. Do the top and bottom first, then the sides. If your stiles are flimsy put a spacer stick between the stiles before you install the spline. When you are done, trim the screen and tack screen mold into the rabbet. Try this on a sample first.

From the original questioner:
Thanks, contributor B. That is exactly how I ended up doing it, and it looks great. Very clean look.