Does anyone have advice on painting aluminum window screens?

by RIgal
My aluminum window screens are about 30 years old. They have become unsightly because the screens (not the frames) are turning chalky white (unevenly). I've been told at HD that I can't just replace the screening myself. They have to be sent back to the manufacturer and doing that is too expensive for my budget right now. So I want to try to spruce them up by painting them . Does anyone have advice on how to go about this project? I have 30 screens.
Many thanks.
  11 answers
  • Gail Salminen Gail Salminen on Jan 13, 2015
    @RIgal perhaps you could try power washing them - on the ground - or scrubbing with a metal cleaner. I am not sure I would suggest painting as regardless of spray or paint on it will result in plugging up the holes in the screen. That would mean a lot of time to poke them out again Good luck.
  • RIgal RIgal on Jan 13, 2015
    Thank you, Gail. I tried powerwashing and scrubbing with TSP last summer but neither helped to restore the screens. I believe that the change is due to oxidation that has changed the aluminum.
  • Lisa Gorley Lisa Gorley on Jan 13, 2015
    We have a HD here and you can buy kits to make your own screens. You just cut the aluminum to size and there are corner pieces to hold the pieces together to make the frame. Just attatch the new screen in the channel and viola! Maybe replace a few at a time. We have replaced several of ours over the years....
  • Lisa Gorley Lisa Gorley on Jan 13, 2015
    I think whoever you talked to at HD was feeding you a line because I have bought replacement screen and spline (the rope that goes in the channel to hold the screen) at our HD and to remove the screen and repaint the frame, then put back together isn't that difficult...and shouldn't require you sending them to the manufacturer....hope that helps!
  • Larry Lou Larry Lou on Jan 14, 2015
    Our home is 36 yrs old and believe you me, we've replaced many a screen from HD or ACE or other places. I went with a little darker screening due to living in central AZ and the sun is a killer certain times of the day in the summer. Good luck with your endeavor :)
  • Eleanor Mcnealley-cain Eleanor Mcnealley-cain on Jan 14, 2015
    Use an old man's hat brim cut & nail on to 3x3 inch board, use small pan, dip & press lightly across pan lid. paint screen like doing a wall.
  • I think the guy at HD was misinformed. Re-screening is not all that hard. While you may have metal screens which ideally are the best, they can be a challenge to someone who has never replaced them. Being in RI your not really concerned about the heat causing the screen to fail, while down south where its much hotter metal screens really last much longer. In any case most hardware stores do rescreening as do many glass shops. Check them out. In any case I would use a good vinyl screening material. If you decide to go it alone, its not that hard. There is a spline material which is nothing more than a thin rubber string that has tiny edges all around it which is pressed into a grove that fits the screen and spine tightly. A spline tool which is a pizza cutter type device has a grove down the middle of its blade that allows you to push the spline material into the grove. You remove the existing screen and spline with a sharp knife and a awl. Simply lay the new screen carefully over the frame allowing about an inch overlap and push the screen down into the grove using the spine and tool. do opposite sides so the screen does not get out of square to much. Once all the spines are in place simply use a sharp knife and carefully cut off what sticks out beyond.
  • Carolyn Carolyn on Jan 14, 2015
    otherwise, rustoleum spray paint, done from a distance may work, outside in yard
  • Addam Holder Addam Holder on Jan 14, 2015
    ^^ Rustoleum spray paint
  • RIgal RIgal on Jan 14, 2015
    Thank you to all who sent advice. As soon as it warms up here in New England, I'll take the screens outdoors and start painting.
  • Yilliang Peng Yilliang Peng on Mar 24, 2017

    Thanks for the information on painting aluminum! We have an aluminum barn out back where it holds all of our equipment, but we are tired of the same old silver color. We never knew that you needed to consider so much when painting aluminum -- we might just hire someone to help us out with it! Thanks again! ;