As some of you know, we have pets. Me, my wife, and our two girls . . . 3 cats, one dog and *ahem* zero fish (currently), and when I’m home, it always seems somebody is demanding something of me. Oh Wait! That’s another post.
I mean – it’s hard to believe that we’ve been in this house five years this April. And maintaining this house (like others) has presented its own unique set of challenges, least of which, this time — the added “activity” of two young children. Kids, you know, can be hard on a house. But so too can pets, and most specifically . . . cats.
And for those that have followed closely, you know I deal with the cats’ presence almost, continuously. I mean – I love ‘em, and the aging black one was even my contribution to this mix. But sometimes they can push me . . . push me to, well, the limit. (To read more about our furry little lovelies and *ahem* how to effectively remove cat pee odor from an area rug.
Indoor Outdoor Cats vs. Screen Door
Anyways, one thing about this house, and about my cats, that has driven me absolutely crazy is the repeated “disregard” for the (modified) T-bar screen door that is hung on our house’s side door. Our primary entrance. Over the years (and yes, our cats are inside/outside cats), they have torn up its screening, especially the lowest panel — the one closest to the latch. And I fixed it.
But surprisingly, they just tore it up again.
I mean – just from clawing innocently enough and asking to go in and out. I fixed it . . . again. The second (or maybe the third) time, I went instead with that impromptu, thrown-together pet door. (I couldn’t find an appropriate, well-constructed pet door designed for this type of screen.) Needless to say, they (those stubborn . . . [email protected]#$) didn’t use it. So . . . I fixed it again.
(Failed) Quick Fixes
You know, I would just remove the bottom “muntin” and would simply replace that small section of screen that had been damaged. Charcoal-colored fiberglas screen, stapled right to the door. But wouldn’t you know it, they tore it up again. So . . . I gave up.
Well . . . kinda. As a different plan of action instead, I headed to the metal sheet goods area of the home center and I bought a decorative grill. (You know the kind you’d typically associate with a radiator cover.) I cut it in half and screwed it to the inside of the door. Hey! That seemed to work!
But about that time, something strange happened. I noticed that my kids had gotten taller, and this one was on them. More than once, with a hand . . . and no one would step up and claim it, the top panel ripped from its stapling.
Enter Pet Screen
We lived that way for most of the past winter ( and you know that door was mostly closed). BUT when the warm weather hit recently, I had to do it. A full re-screening and this time going off a recommendation I got from a local hardware store. Pet Screen! As I understand it, a fiberglas netting but encased in a nylon coating. Stronger, more pet- and kid-resistant.
At about four times the cost of regular insect screen, this better do the trick. Below, I installed it:
Re-screening is actually a pretty easy DIY procedure, and especially since the only tools you really need are a screen/spline tool (like the one pictured, not like my hoopty one) and a utility knife. Materials: screen (typically in fiberglas or aluminum) and the spline used to hold the screen in place.
Note: Frame kits in various materials and colors are also available for windows and such. For more on working with these kits, see the guide I created for The Home Depot’s Pro Referral Network – How to Build & Install a Window Screen.
The biggest battle that I’ve found is actually the risk of over-stretching the screen. Pros and/or local hardware stores will actually place the frame and the screen (for say a window) on a contraption that will not only hold the workpiece in place but also provide for the exact right amount of tension.
With the heavier pet screen … on a wood door – not too much of a concern. I didn’t even remove the door.
A wood screen door happens to be finished with a trim detail called intuitively enough – a screen profile.
Thanks for reading. As mentioned, I have written about screens occasionally. Again with the Pro Referral Network, and while not exactly a wood door – How to Repair a Window Screen. For more info on Screen Doors, here is an article from Bob Vila – Choosing a Screen Door. ~jb