Last Updated: March 27, 2019
Oh how bugs love to bug us! When we eat barbecue on our decks, flies buzz around our burgers. When we relax on our porches on warm summer nights, mosquitos silently bite our legs. And when we’re enjoying breakfast on our balconies, the hovering bees and wasps make us twitch. Fly-repellant sprays and candles never seem to work as well as we’d hope, and flyswatters can be nuisance. If you’re tired of dealing with bugs on your deck or porch, consider purchasing ScreenRail. This heavy-duty, aluminum railing system features a screen that prevents bugs from bothering you. To learn how to install ScreenRail railings, scroll down for instructions and a helpful video.
If you’re worried about learning how to install ScreenRail railings, don’t be! This system features a heavy-duty frame and easy-to-assemble sections, and you can use the simple instructions below to assemble and install the railings yourself. However, it is important that you follow the installation instructions you receive with your kit exactly. If you deviate from the instructions or use different tools or materials, the final product may not be safe, secure, and structurally sound. While the instructions below will help you understand the process before you purchase your kit, once you have the kit, use the provided instructions, as they include more detail and helpful illustrations and diagrams.
To get started, you will need to gather the following recommended tools:
- Tape measure
- Miter saw (with aluminum cutting blade)
- Screw gun (with #2 square drive bit)
- Drill (with 3/16″ bit)
- Non-scuffing mallet or wood block
How to Install ScreenRail Posts and Frame Rails
The first step in the process of learning how to install ScreenRail railings is to construct the posts and frame rails. These are the skeleton of the system, providing support and structure for the railing sections and screens.
- Determine the spacing of the vertical posts to match your desired widths for the screens. Typically it’s recommended that the spacing of the posts is equal (or nearly equal) for aesthetic reasons. In addition, narrower widths are recommended because they’re easier to install and less affected by wind.
- Add screen retention grooves to all of the vertical and horizontal perimeters that will hold a screen. The grooves should be on the side to which the screen will be attached.
- Measure the height for the posts. To allow for a post mount at each end, cut each post 1/2″ shorter than you would have.
- Attach the post mounts with the provided screws or another appropriate fastener that fits the surface you’re attaching them too (such as concrete anchors). The screw hole must be on the side of the post with the screen retention grooves.
- Cut each rail to the desired length, and attach each rail with stainless steel fasteners.
- Cut the rail covers to the same lengths as the rails. Be sure to cut off the end that includes the drilled hole (this hole was only important for the powder coating process).
- Cut the horizontal to the desired length. You have two options for this. First, if you want surface-mount rails, you could cut the rails to the exact length between the vertical rails or posts. Second, if you are using rail mounts, you could cut the rails 1/4″ shorter per mount than the distance between the vertical rails or posts. Either way, attach them with stainless steel fasteners on center.
- Finally, cut the screen rail covers to the exact length of the rails and snap them into the rails. Again, be sure to cut off the end that includes the drilled hole (this hole was only important for the powder coating process). When mounts are in use, cut the cover retainer hooks off.
How to Install ScreenRail Railings
Next, you’ll need to construct the railing sections. The railing sections support the screens, which will shield the enclosed area from bugs. To assemble the railing, abide by the following steps:
- Check that the plastic spindle retainers are in the railings.
- Cut the bottom rail to length; it should fit tightly in the section area. Allow 1/4″ on the end for each rail mount. In addition, make sure the screen retention grooves are positioned toward the side on which the screen will be installed.
- Secure the bottom rail using one of two options. First, if you want a surface-mount bottom rail, attach the railing securely to the floor or other mounting surface. Make sure the rail is about 1/16″ off the floor (using flat washers or other spacers) so that water may drain out, and drill two 1/4″ drain holes in the bottom rail. Second, if you prefer a rail-mount bottom rail, insert the mounts into the bottom rail. Attach each mount with stainless steel, self-tapping screws (which are provided with the kit).
- Position a ScreenRail beside the bottom rail with equal spacing between the end spindle holes and the vertical surfaces at each end of the section. Mark the rail and cut it to the exact length between the vertical surfaces/mounts.
- Insert the spindles into the bottom rail.
- Cut the top rail 1/2″ short if you’re using wall mounts.
- Lay the top rail beside the bottom rail with the holes aligned. Cut the top rail to the required length (Note: Deduct 1/4″ from each end if mounts were not used to install the bottom rail.)
- Place a rail mount on the end of each rail. Turn the holes for the attachment of the mount downward.
- Place the top rail on the spindles. Check that the screen retention grooves are facing toward the side to which you will attach the screen. Start at one end of the section, guiding each spindle into the hole in the rail. When all of them have been partially guided in, gently push down on the top rail. To ensure the spindles are seated completely, tap the top rail with a mallet.
- Attach the top rail with stainless steel self-tapping screws through the rail mounts.
- Install the mount covers over the screws.
How to Install the Screens
Now that your railing structure is in place, you can install the screens.
- All of the profiles have a leading edge and a trailing edge. Angle the spline downward and outward. Be sure to start with the top rail.
- Force the spline into the leading edge, which is always going to be toward the outside edge of the profile. It is helpful to have an assistant present to help you hold the screen in place. Press the screen into place using a spline roller. Repeat this process to install the screen on the bottom rail. After that, install it on the side rails. Keep the screen taut as you work.
- When the screen is in place, trim the excess spline and the excess screen. To complete the process, push the final spline tabs into place.
Now that you’ve learned how to install ScreenRail railings, it’s time to get started! If you haven’t yet purchased your ScreenRail, head on over to MMC Fencing & Railing. In our online store, you’ll find everything you need to create this classic and very convenient railing system. It’s available in twelve versatile finishes, and you can add a door to the system if you like. If you have any questions about ScreenRail or how to install ScreenRail railings, please give us a call at 1-866-931-5002 or click here to request a quote. We look forward to hearing from you!