Screen saga

Bugs aren’t really a big problem up here at the Bar B. Oh, there’s the occasional black widow spider and if you want proof, just open the trap to the crawl space. Thanks to a neighbor’s horse, I get the occasional black fly and horse flies.

It’s one of the blessings up here that mosquitos don’t find 9,000 feet quite to their liking so window screens aren’t a big deal. The thing is windows invite any type of visitor through open, unscreened windows.

Thanks to the previous owner’s dogs most of the screens up here were totally destroyed. Those too high for the dogs to reach fit poorly and most had holes. When I first looked at this place, the screens were strewn about the back yard like chew toys.

I’ve not had much luck finding craftsman to work on the house but I do have good contacts on Facebook. I posted in the Conifer community page a request for someone to do screens. I received two replies: Ace Hardware and Glass West in Marshdale.

As instructed, I called Ace Hardware in Bailey and asked for Stephanie. She told me to measure my windows, bring them the measurements and the screens would be in the neighborhood of $36 per screen.

Now I can just feel the ‘What?’ over paying someone to make screens. They’re easy, right? Just get the measurements, buy the frame pieces in the size you need, buy screen and that funny roller tool to install the screen, build the frame and ‘voila! New screens. Not so fast, there chief.

The caveat with Ace is that if you measure the screen wrong, hey you get to come back with the correct measurements and pay for a second screen again. My house isn’t perfectly square, a fact my son-in-law constantly reminds me of when he’s doing carpentry work around here.

Now I’m not an uninitiated novice when it comes to specific and exactly measurements. In another life I was an apprentice electrician and exact measurements were part of the job. One of the journeyman was kind enough to show me the tiny world of 1/16″s without any judgement. Hey, I didn’t get any classes in Tape Measure 101 in high school so how are you supposed to know? So, a kind ‘no thanks’ to measuring it myself in a house that’s ‘crooked.’

I stopped by Glass West and met with the owner. A long-time resident of Conifer, he said he’d stop by and measure the windows, make the screens and I could pick them up in two days. The cost? $130.

With great precision he called two days later and said the screens were ready.

I brought them home and tried to install the first screen in the mudroom window. No go. I’d say it was exactly 1/16″ too large. A little tap, tap from my trusty rubber mallet and still no go.

I tried the other screens and without fail each screen was 1/16″ too large.

I called Glass West and he mumbled something about measuring things too tightly. He remade the screens.

He wasn’t there when I picked them but his wife said there was no charge for the remake and no charge for the one screen I bent the shit out of and is now laying in the yard like a chew toy.

I came home, said a prayer and tried again.

No go.

I had to use a rubber mallet, screwdriver and a wide range of swear words to get the screens in the frame. The big window in the bag took the most, um, force but it grudgingly obliged and went into place.

Now screens are supposed to install from the INSIDE. These screens almost require two people – one in, one out to make them fit. The screen that needed me to climb a ladder received special abuse along with a pretty good whack from the rubber mallet. It fit like a glove.

Here’s my advice on screens – take into account that houses settle. I think those perfectly-square measurements are for houses built 15 minutes ago. Also, ask what color the screens will be. Silver frames on a brown house look stupid. Brown frames blend in and don’t distract from the other more obvious flaws of the structure. Also, ask what kind of screen they’ll be using. Most screens are made of a mesh fabric that’s easily cut. Metal screens are more durable and though they cost more, they’ll last longer. Especially if you have dogs like the previous owner. These screens wouldn’t last ten minutes with over-eager dogs. The thing is I can now replace the screen with metal mesh because for me the hard part was getting the frame to fit right.

Apparently, the screen guy had the same problem.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: