They probably add a touch of charm to your home's classic windows. However, the old wooden screens may be in need of a face lift. You would more likely prefer to restore them or rebuild them than replace them with factory-produced aluminum screens. Sprucing up the appearance of your old wooden screens or making new ones is not that complicated.
Replace the Screen
Old wood doesn't necessarily mean rotted wood. The frames of your wooden screen may be nearly petrified from years of drying and curing in the environment. This means that your wood frames may be very strong--stronger than new wood.
Check your wooden screen frame for durability. Are the joints tight and solid? Are the nails or fasteners in good condition? What is the condition of the paint finish? If you find that your wood frame is solid and strong, then just replace the screen.
Lay the old wooden screen flat and remove the trim that covers the screen's edges. Use a flat-head screwdriver to pry up the trim. Work the screwdriver all around the frame and carefully set the trim to the side. Pull out any old staples and discard. Remove the old screen and discard it as well. Brush the surface clean.
Spread the new screen over the frame, making sure there's enough material overlapping each side. Staple the end of the screen to one end of the frame. Stretch the screen across the frame using a screen anchor or by bowing the sides of the wood frame, then staple the screen across the opposite end of the frame. Staple the sides of the screen, then release the frame so that the screen is pulled taut. Cut off the excess screen around the edges. Reattach the trim around the screen edges, countersinking the finishing nails so that they do not show.
Build a New Frame
Your old wood screen makes an excellent template for a new replica. Measure the length, width and thickness of the wood used to make the frame. Choose pine, cedar or another wood that will last for years. If your old wooden screen is made of 2-inch framing wood, then purchase an adequate amount to build your new frames.
Think about how you will join the screen's corners. You can simply meet the two pieces of wood at each corner and screw them together, or if you're skilled at joinery you can use dowels to hide the wood-and-glue supports that connect the frame. Once the frame is complete, allow it time to dry before sanding.
Paint to Last for Years
Once your new screen is attached to your frame, give it a durable paint finish. Cover the screen with newspaper and tape and paint the frame using your home's existing exterior paint, or use a color that complements it. Choose a long-lasting exterior paint that will not crack or peel in the extreme heat or cold. Allow the frame time to dry, then set it into your window.
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