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Old 01-21-2014, 09:52 AM   #1
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Storm windows for the screen door

We wanted to add storm windows to our screen door so we could leave the main cabin door open in cool or hot weather and also lets us enjoy the feeling of the Twinkie being more open. Of course this avoids slamming the tight fitting cabin door when going in and out so much as well. Our friend Roadtoaster had already done this and I followed his trail and advice on the installation. I got this done about a year ago and thought I would post it here since another friend recently inquired as to what to buy and the layout.

Here's our layout:
Used acrylic sheet attached with 6 clips on the top and bottom sections respectively. I found the thin acrylic very flexible and it had a curvature in it from the store which I used to my advantage to fit the curvature of the screen door.

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Here's what I bought:
- 12 clips from Lowes
- #8 - 1/2" long stainless steel sheet metal screws from Lowes
- One sheet of 0.093" thick acrylic 2' x 4' from Home Depot
The photo is showing a pack of the clips laying on top of the plastic. The photo is a bit confusing since both are laying on a table saw (you see the miter gauge slot in the photo).

The clips come with the machine thread screws which are #8 by 32NC threads. However I used #8 stainless steel self tapping sheet metal screws in lieu of the machine screws to avoid drilling and tapping 12 holes in thin aluminum sheet metal. The factory door frame is made using box sections so you only penetrate the front side of it when mounting the clips. This makes it hard to tap. Therefore the length of the sheet metal screws is also important so they don't bottom out on the back side.

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I cut the acrylic sheet to size in the table saw. I radiused the top section's corners with a band saw fairly close and then sanded them to fit. By the way, I found a paint can that matched the top corner radius and used that as a guide to mark the cut. I sanded the radius of the top section and the sharp corners as well. The sanding is quite easy. Fair warning - you take a chance of cracking the acrylic sheet on the table saw and/or band saw since it is brittle by nature. I have learned this the hard way many times over the years.

Here are two plastic polishes I use. You may not need them but I dropped one panel and scratched it during the fitting process but was able to polish the scratch out. That is a positive of acrylic in that you can polish it and it doesn't yellow with age. By the way, I polish the window guards on the Airstream with the Plexus, it is really good stuff. I also use it on our cars, motorcycles, boats, and such. (Tip: buy it at Amazon, it is available at motorcycle shops but at a 50% premium.)

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Hope this helps others avoid running to and fro hunting supplies and hardware like I did. The acrylic sheet I bought was from Home Depot because what Lowes had was too thin and I didn't want to make it out of the thicker material they also had due to the added weight to the light weight screen door. It gets enough abuse already!

Thanks to Roadtoaster for sharing the concept and his install with me at the Canopener in 2013. I like to replicate something that has been trialed and proven! He has a couple of other ideas that are in my work/modification plan as well but don't tell him cause he'll want high dollar bourbon in trade.

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Old 01-21-2014, 12:30 PM   #2
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This is a great idea! Thanks!!!
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Old 01-21-2014, 01:34 PM   #3
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Nice reminder!

acrylic - basic thing to know is that ammonia (Windex or any ammonia based window cleaner) is one of the two major causes of "haze." Your headlamp covers look like crap after 5 years because of sunlight and ammonia from washing the car and from everyone's windshield washer fluid. Driving in heavy traffic in the rain - everyone is using their washers as well as their wipers.

So your recommendations for cleaning the acrylic with a special product is excellent. Not a waste of money at all. As you noted it's great for the stone guards too!

Another source for acrylic at lower prices - sign shops and shops that make displays for stores. They have lots of scrap... and it wouldn't be unusual to find a couple of pieces big enough for a storm door. I even know a business that does nothing but replacement screens and storm doors for apartment complexes... I'd bet that would be a good place to look too.


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Old 01-24-2014, 10:21 PM   #4
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Correction - the SS sheet metal screws are #10 not #8.
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Old 01-24-2014, 11:14 PM   #5
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It is a good looking job and I plan to do something similar to my new 20' FC. What I did the second day I owned it was to remove the ugly (in my opinion) aluminum screen guards from the top and bottom panels inside. Unless you have dogs or little kids around I can see no value added by them and they block light and air when you have the door open and want ventilation.
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Old 01-25-2014, 07:56 PM   #6
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screen door panels

Being a close neighbor and buddy (cooking, drinking and otherwise) with the fellow who started this thread, I plied him with strong drink to help me make the panels for my screen door. I installed them today. It is a great idea (thank you Roadtoaster) and as Brother Al says the best modification you can make for under $50. I can imagine one would find them handy for enjoying light without trying to heat or cool the entire campground. Thanks fellows!
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Old 01-25-2014, 08:35 PM   #7
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Looks wonderful!
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Old 01-25-2014, 08:37 PM   #8
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Alumitater, could you please show pictures of the inside? Thanks!
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Old 01-26-2014, 01:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alumitater View Post
Being a close neighbor and buddy (cooking, drinking and otherwise) with the fellow who started this thread, I plied him with strong drink to help me make the panels for my screen door. I installed them today. It is a great idea (thank you Roadtoaster) and as Brother Al says the best modification you can make for under $50. I can imagine one would find them handy for enjoying light without trying to heat or cool the entire campground. Thanks fellows!
Very nice job Brother M.
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Old 01-29-2014, 11:30 AM   #10
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Has anyone modified that table in the U-shaped dinettes? I'm not a small guy, and that table is just too big. Since we'll probably never use it as a bed ...
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Old 01-30-2014, 11:03 AM   #11
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screen door from inside

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skatiero View Post
Alumitater, could you please show pictures of the inside? Thanks!
Sorry it took me a bit to post interior shot looking out....got a bit of foul weather down here. Hope this helps....really no visible difference from the inside....just holds the heat or cool in.
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Old 01-30-2014, 12:13 PM   #12
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Thank you for posting that, Alumitater! Great job-- it looks wonderful! Are the panels easy to remove and store when not in use?
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Old 01-31-2014, 08:39 AM   #13
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Quote:
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Thank you for posting that, Alumitater! Great job-- it looks wonderful! Are the panels easy to remove and store when not in use?
They sure would be, thanks to the great choice of the clips Brother Al made. Simply loosen the screws, rotate the clip and remove the panel. Then tighten the screws back down to hold the clips in place without the panel. Roadtoaster and Brother Al get all the design credit.....I just copied their good ideas.
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Old 05-18-2014, 06:06 AM   #14
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I'm going to have to do this! I hate having the door closed. Thanks!
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