Basement Window Screen


Most of the windows in my house appear to be original, except for the big corner windows in the living room, which probably date from at least the 1950’s, and the vinyl casement window in the basement which in theory serves as an alternative fire egress.  None of the operable windows have screens (or storm windows either, for that matter).  I have some adjustable screens that I can use in the single-hung windows by opening the sash and placing the adjustable screen in the opening.

When the weather is hot, I would like to open the casement window in the basement at night to let cool air close to the ground come in and up the stairs, helping to cool the house.  (Opening a window on the ground floor for venting helps pull the air through, at least in theory.)  Prior experience with leaving that basement window open after dark has taught me that slugs and other critters like to crawl inside.

So today I set about building a screen for the basement window.  I measured the width and height of the window opening where I wanted to put the screen and made subtractions to account for the corner pieces.  After marking each length on the aluminum window screen framing stock, I used a hacksaw to cut them down to size.  After sawing, I used a file to clean up the edge a little, but the plastic corner pieces will take care of that for the most part.  My makeshift worktable was a bucket of laundry detergent, which was not particularly stable, but was the best option on hand.  After assembling the frame and making sure it fit into the opening, I moved upstairs to the kitchen / dining floor, where I had more room to work.

I rolled out the screen (I used vinyl, but they still make aluminum), cut it roughly to size, and then set about rolling the screening spline and screen into the groove in the aluminum frame.

After I had the spline pushed in all the way around, I used a utility knife to trim the excess screen.  About three-quarters of the way through, I managed to slice my thumb with the knife.  Of course, I have the world’s thinnest blood, so even a small cut is a gusher, but this one was pretty deep; it was something out of a horror movie.  After doctoring myself up, I finished the trimming, and headed downstairs to install the screen.