Screen Porch Spline Method Questions
I am about to screen in my back porch. I am interested in using the spline technique rather than the million stables technique. This forum seems to have the most information regarding that technique and I have read through many of the discussions on here, but I still have some questions as well as others that were spawned from reading this forum.
First the background: The screen porch is about 12’ x 10’ with a concrete floor and the gable roof already in place. The brick house makes up the back wall and half of one of the side walls. There are already 6×6 posts at the two outside corners holding the roof up. Before discovering the spline technique, I was originally planning on going with a typical 2X4 framing set up. I was going to have a top plate and bottom plate with vertical 2×4 every 3’ and a horizontal 2×4 about hand rail height. I would still prefer to keep this basic setup rather than construct separate window frames as some discussions on here have done. I want the least amount of wood blocking the view as possible and I can always come back later and switch to the frames down the road since the framing will be in place. I already bought a bunch of treated 2×4’s and I am letting them dry out so I can prime and paint them before construction. Here are the questions I have.
1. From the discussions I have read, there doesn’t seem to be an exact spline groove width to spline ratio, and it was suggested to try a bunch. I am planning on using a 1/8” kerf blade on a table saw to do most of the grooving since the 2×4 aren’t up yet. I can easily take a short piece of 2×4 with a groove in it to a hardware store to try some different splines. How tight should it fit? Do I need a piece of the screen as well when trying different sizes?
2. What depth should the spline groove be?
3. What is the minimum distance the grove should be in from the edge of the 2×4? This is important because with my planned set up there will be two groves in 1.5” on the edge of the 2×4. ¼” seems too small and ½” would only leave ¼” in between the two grooves. Thoughts or suggestions?
4. I was leaning towards aluminum screen because it is very windy where I live and we have small children that might accidentally push on it. Does using the spline technique keep the fiberglass screen tight better or should I stick with aluminum? If the treated 2×4’s are primed and painted, will I still have a problem with them discoloring the aluminum screen? It seems one discussion on here mentioned that this technique was more difficult with aluminum screen. Would the pet screen be the best option? I just don’t want it sagging due to wind.
5. With the horizontal 2×4 hand rail, is it better to attach the screen to it making an upper and lower panel? Or run the screen from top plate to bottom plate not attaching it to the handrail? I can see the plus of attaching it for later repairs that probably are more likely to happen below the railing. It would only require fixing that portion but I didn’t know if I was missing anything else.
6. Finally, with the spline method do you need excess screen to pull on to get it tight? The 12’ side is only a few inches under 12’. With the staple method I was worried about going with 36” screen because there wouldn’t be much extra to pull on. With the spline method do you still pull on the screen or does the spline do all the work? Can I get away with 36” screen on this side?
Sorry for the lengthy post. I appreciate all thoughts and suggestions. This forum has already provide me with lots of good information