Don't Let the Bugs Bite!
Cleaning Aluminum Screen Doors
My son (10 months old) loves to stand at our screen door, and look outside. However, he has a bad habit of pushing on the screen with his little hands while standing there, and has made a few tears in the screen. The screen isn't the metal kind, I think it's made of nylon. He loves to stand there and look outside so much; I hate to make him stop. However, I also don't want to see him go tumbling headfirst out the door because the screen let go. Does anyone have any frugal, but effective ways to repair my screen?
Get some hardware cloth. Actually it's mesh, but quite strong. I have cats that sometimes try to climb the screen. I got some hardware cloth and stapled it over the screen. I can still see out, but no more tears. This is not unattractive and has lasted several years.
They make screen guards for this very purpose! The screen guard fits on the outside of the screen door and attaches securely. You can find them at any hardware store. They are not expensive. Just be sure to take the width measurement of your door with you!
I had a similar problem with my dogs pressing against the screen of my sliding glass door and eventually ripping it out. Nylon screen can be purchased at Wal-Mart if you want to replace the whole screen. The nylon type of screening was much easier to replace than the metal screen and I believe it costs under $10 for the screen and a rotary type tool to push it into the doors/windows grooves. You may also need to replace the rubber "cord" that holds the screen in the groove. After removing the screen door from its track, it took about 30-45 minutes, a large flat surface (my deck), and a few scuffed knuckles. But, it is much better than trying to buy a new screen door.
Next, I purchased a metal (or plastic if you prefer) grid designed to prevent cats and dogs from ruining a screen. It screws on, covers the width of the door, and is about 20-24 inches high. You can decide how far up the door that you need to place it. You will want to prevent the child's hands from pressing through your screen, but still allow him to see out. I had to try two different kinds before I found one that works well with my sliding door. Make sure your door will slide open with the grid where you want it before you attempt to screw it on. You may have to put it on the outside depending on what your door is like.
I don't have a solution to repairing the screen, but I do have a solution to baby pushing his hands on it.
I'm sure Angela has a baby gate or two lying around. I'm assuming her screen door is on the 'outside' of the doorjamb. If she just puts a baby gate across the doorjamb inside the door, it will keep the baby from further damaging the screen while still allowing him to look out.
Another solution would be to put his playpen inside the door and let him stand in the playpen while looking out. Of course, this would mean he's not as mobile, but it would also stop the screen damage.
Lace up tears in your screen with dental floss. It's strong and easy on the eyes.
The netting for screen doors can be purchased at Home Depot and you can do the repairs. There are different grades of netting to accommodate any problem. I had a cat that used to break my screens with his claws until I got the heavy-duty netting.
We have a screen door with the glass on the bottom. You could see if your screen door is the kind that is interchangeable with the top glass until you can fix it.
Related Links: all-about-screen-doors.com - how to fix storm doors and window screens.
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