Do-It-Yourself Side Screen Awnings Installation

Do-It-Yourself Side Screen Awnings Installation
Do-It-Yourself Side Screen Awnings Installation

The urge to create something new and eye-catching on the blank slate of a home is powerful. As is the urge to save some money and maximize one’s efforts. Whether it’s a change to landscaping, a roof garden, or a casual seating area for customers, Side Screen awnings or drop screens are an ideal project for do-it-yourselfers because they make a very dramatic difference with relatively little effort.

The Planning Stage

A major part of installing an awning is finding the perfect place to fix it. Side Screen awnings are much easier to install than fixed awnings or canopies because they are only mounted on a wall – no need to dig post holes or put in a foundation or grounding – so they can be installed over existing pavements, patios, decks, hot tubs, and gazebos, as well as doors and windows. They are suited to any location where sun, glare, UV rays, or light rain protection is required.

A drop screen usually enhances an existing structural feature, such as a door or window, or as panels to enclose a porch, lanai, or gazebo. A drop screen requires a sturdy beam to mount to and possibly a door frame or post to fix the side guides too. After finding the location, simply measure the width of the area from side to side on the interior of the frame (for an inside mount) and add for the width of the side guides if mounted outside the window frame. Then measure the height of the screen, going from the inside (or bottom) of the top frame to the bottom of the threshold for the height; for an outside mount, and the size of the header box and bottom rail to the height measurement.

Finding an ideal awning location has a few other factors to consider.

o How much shade coverage is required?
o What the width of the awning should be, based on the shaded area. Add at least 12 inches to maximize coverage for sun and rain protection.
o How far out the awning extends (the projection), based in the shaded area. There is a natural slope to an awning, so the actual shade is several inches shorter than the full projection.
o How high to mount the awning. Because of the awning’s slope, the front of the awning is lower than the mounting position; this difference is the drop. The recommended drop is 3 inches per foot of projection. So, if the awning has a 12-foot projection, the drop is about 36 inches. To get a 7-foot clearance under the front bar, the awning has to be mounted at least 10 feet high.

Scout out a mounting place that is free of obstructions (no lights, gutters, wiring, or ornamentation) and has adequate clearance around any doors or windows. For screens, make sure that any doors swing away from the screen. For retractable awnings, make sure the awning can extend its full projection without running into a tree, patio, roofline, or fence.

Installation in a Few Easy Steps

The general installation process for both traditional awnings and drop screens is pretty simple: attach the correct number of mounting brackets using the appropriate fixing and insert the torsion (square) bar. The simplicity of installing awnings is what makes them ideal for do-it-yourself weekend projects. The exact installation steps, naturally, vary depending on the awning being installed (so always read the manufacturer’s specific instructions!), but these are the general processes.

For a drop screen:

1. Assemble the screen itself, putting together the roller (called the header box), similar to an old shade.
2. Install the mounting brackets at the top and around the door frame or the beam of the gazebo or porch.
3. Snap in the header box, making sure that the bottom rail of the screen is toward the inside of the room.
4. If there are vertical side guides, measure and cut them according to the height of the opening, and then screw them in place and snap them in position with the header box. If there are guide wires, turn the bottom brackets into place, and attach the wires to the cassette. Be sure everything is level and plumb.

One important note for drop screens: not every manufacturer has a do-it-yourself style, so make sure you don’t need a contractor before ordering the screen.