Metal screens are too tight in the groove

by Peter
(Fishers Island, New York )

I recently built a screen porch for my mom.

I made frames for the screens to match some existing ones that have a groove 1/8" wide by 1/2" deep.

Using .120 pvc spline I can easily roll fiberglass screens into these grooves. However we decided to use an aluminum screen which is thicker. Although I can roll the splines in with the aluminum screens, it takes so much force that the screens often tear against the edge of the groove.

Any suggestions for how to work with aluminum screen and splines? Also is there a smaller spline size than .120, that might be easier to force in to this small groove with the metal screen ?



Hi Peter, Interesting question !

0.120 inch pvc is about as small as manufactured spline gets.

I would try using different types of string or cord as spline. Thats what was used back in the the 1920's before all of this commercial stuff was invented.

Even electrical wire will work, solid or insulated, if you can find a suitable diameter. Just requires a bit of experimentation.

I would start with 10 gauge AWG (0.0109 inch diameter) solid copper and go up in gauge numbers until i found one that worked.

Just preroll the aluminum wire gently easing it into each groove before rolling the spline, cord, wire or whatever you end up using.

As for the aluminum wire, it is going to be difficult with a small spline groove like that. You will need a roller with a thin enough wheel so its not so wide it rubs on the screen side and slices though it.

My roller has a wheel flange about 1/16" thick and if I pull it away from the cloth side while rolling I can sometimes trim the excess aluminum cloth at the same time as I roll it.

But even I have to go slow and carefully to avoid cutting the cloth on the wrong side of the groove !

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Oct 14, 2015

by: Adrian

If its possible to staple the screen in , no harm in doing that.

Jul 02, 2015
Follow up
by: Peter

Thanks, I will try some electrical wire. Its I little pricy for a spline but cheaper than pulling everything apart and re-cutting the grooves.

Any down side to stapling the screen and covering the staples with lattice ?

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