My standard screen door was built in three sections — the same as most other screen doors. Top and bottom were screened, and the center had a blank panel and a sliding door for access to the main door handle.
Well, I noticed after a while that the center blank panel had two issues. First, it was completely opaque, and when we wanted to have that “light, airy” feeling, it was kind of visually in the way. Secondly, it was made of metal, and had an obnoxious tendency to contribute to “road rattle.” During a big-projects lull, I decided to do something.
I went online (Amazon is wonderful), and found a small 12×24 sheet of clear acrylic plexiglass. The existing metal panel resided in a groove that was just about exactly 1/16″ thick, so that’s the thickness of plastic that I ordered.
When the plastic arrived (I think it was about $12 or so), I checked the fit in the groove and it was perfect. So I cut the plastic to size (fine-tooth saber saw), and bent/pried/yanked the old metal out of the door. The plastic sheet fitted perfectly, but it was loose enough to have a rattle of its own. This was handily fixed with a tiny bead of RTV.
I found some white U-channel edge trim (thanks again Amazon) and finished off the exposed edge of the acrylic. The finished product looks good, but it certainly won’t take the abuse that a metal panel will. We will treat it gently.
Now my screen door is much more “welcoming.” It sounds like a small thing, and I guess it is, but for a cheap, quick project, the new look was well worth the minimal trouble.
Greg Illes is a retired systems engineer who loves thinking up RV upgrades and modifications. When he’s not working on his motorhome, he’s traveling in it.
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