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Old 07-15-2013, 12:42 PM   #1
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Plexiglass Screen Protector and Door Sizes

So, I finally got around to installing sheets of Plexiglas over the lower part of the door screens to prevent the dogs from damaging the screen. I know this has been discussed before, but it really was easy and inexpensive. Measure, cut, slide it in place, done. And the real fun part was to peel the paper backing off the Plexiglas of course!

For those who are going to do this, make sure you use a good quality, HIGH tooth count blade in your saw. This will ensure the cut edges of the Plexiglas are nice and smooth. If the blade doesn't have enough teeth, the edges will get dinged up and be rough.

I'm also glad I measured twice. The two doors on my trailer are different sizes. One of them is 2" wider than the other.
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Old 07-15-2013, 01:11 PM   #2
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There is an inexpensive sheet plastic knife you can get at the same place you bought the plastic. Scribe several times and snap.

Red Devil 1170 Plexiglass Cutting Tool - Amazon.com
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Old 07-15-2013, 01:25 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by herk7769 View Post
There is an inexpensive sheet plastic knife you can get at the same place you bought the plastic. Scribe several times and snap.

Red Devil 1170 Plexiglass Cutting Tool - Amazon.com
I don't know what your results were using this tool, but it has mixed reviews.
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Old 07-15-2013, 01:30 PM   #4
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Actually the tool I used I could not find.
It was a buck, I think, and worked great.

Looked a lot like this one.

Plaskolite Cutting Tool for Plastic Sheets-1999999A at The Home Depot
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Old 07-15-2013, 02:38 PM   #5
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I didn't think about snapping it. If that produces good results, a utility knife should also do the trick then. I'll give it a shot on my next project.
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Old 07-15-2013, 04:21 PM   #6
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I didn't think about snapping it. If that produces good results, a utility knife should also do the trick then. I'll give it a shot on my next project.
A utility knife is not the same!

The blade in the Plexiglas knife is reversed (more like a plow). You drag it toward you and it digs a furrow in the plastic. Since you are pulling it it stays in the groove and you don't need to worry about losing fingers. The groove is wide and allows a clean snap.

A utility blade will be near impossible to control, will not cut deep enough without a million draws and the cut will not be as straight so lots of "planing" with a block plane. Also a good possibility the Plexiglas will shatter when snapped and my do THOSE cuts hurt.
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Old 07-15-2013, 10:44 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by herk7769 View Post
A utility knife is not the same!

The blade in the Plexiglas knife is reversed (more like a plow). You drag it toward you and it digs a furrow in the plastic. Since you are pulling it it stays in the groove and you don't need to worry about losing fingers. The groove is wide and allows a clean snap.

A utility blade will be near impossible to control, will not cut deep enough without a million draws and the cut will not be as straight so lots of "planing" with a block plane. Also a good possibility the Plexiglas will shatter when snapped and my do THOSE cuts hurt.
That makes sense. I don't have one in front of me to see, but I was browsing the reviews of one of those tools and I read a couple reviews that said a knife worked just as well. Your explanation does make a lot of sense though. I'll keep this in mind for when I need to cut some panels again. Thanks,
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Old 08-28-2013, 04:58 PM   #8
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We replaced the screen with plexi glass also. Hubby got tired of the dogs pushing out the screen. Works great!
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Old 08-28-2013, 05:04 PM   #9
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I couldn't find the plexiglass cutter at my Home Depot, so a utility knife it was for me. BUT- I was only cutting straight lines for a bottom panel on my door.

I clamped a metal yard stick on top of the glass to my workbench and then used a utility knife against that. I cut a good 15-20 times before attempting to crack the edge. Worked nicely.
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Old 08-28-2013, 05:15 PM   #10
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This is the first mod I did after getting my MH home. I had a class C previously and the dogs tore out the screen. Like the OP, I used a small 6" circular saw I have had for many years, with a fine tooth blade. After cutting, I used a propane torch to clean up the edges. Gotta be quick with the torch, but it works great.
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Old 08-29-2013, 06:50 AM   #11
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A fine toothed plywood blade mounted backwards in my table saw works great for straight cuts. I've used a utility knife backwards to score and cut smaller sections. Scoring works much like a glass cutter.
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Old 08-29-2013, 08:46 AM   #12
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Do you think I can use good sized drill bits to make holes in the plexiglass panel to let the air flow in.....I will only be using the panel to keep doggie from the screening.?
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Old 08-29-2013, 09:01 AM   #13
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Do you think I can use good sized drill bits to make holes in the plexiglass panel to let the air flow in.....I will only be using the panel to keep doggie from the screening.?
My inlaws built a water filtration system for their ponds by doing something similar with sheets of thick plastic. He used a drill press for it and drilled a grid of 1" holes to let water to flow through. The drill press gave him more control to get everything lined up nicely (he can be "particular" ).

Same idea for the acrylic and door.

The two biggest challenges are:
1) go slow to keep heat down - I imagine this stuff melts pretty easily
2) getting them aligned so that it's "pretty" was a challenge
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Old 08-29-2013, 09:33 AM   #14
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Do you think I can use good sized drill bits to make holes in the plexiglass panel to let the air flow in.....I will only be using the panel to keep doggie from the screening.?
You can buy adjustable screen guards that fit over your screen to keep little hands and pets from breaking the screen.
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Old 08-29-2013, 09:42 AM   #15
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You can buy adjustable screen guards that fit over your screen to keep little hands and pets from breaking the screen.
We looked at them- both the ones at the RV store and options from Home Depot. The one at the RV store wasn't "pretty enough" for the wife. And the Home Depot ones were too big.
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:40 AM   #16
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I know this takes all the fun out of it for some of you guys, but Lowe's will sell you the plexiglas and cut it to your specified size for free. They had several thicknesses to choose from when we did it.
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:49 AM   #17
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i originally put a piece of lattice over the screen,but i didn't like the look of it. instead of plexiglas,i used pet proof screening on our rv entry door. only tool i needed was a screen roller. i used this screening on our patio door at home. so far our 3 westies have not been able to damage it at all !
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Old 08-29-2013, 11:55 AM   #18
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i originally put a piece of lattice over the screen,but i didn't like the look of it. instead of plexiglas,i used pet proof screening on our rv entry door. only tool i needed was a screen roller. i used this screening on our patio door at home. so far our 3 westies have not been able to damage it at all !
I used the 'pet resistant' screening and my little 'bullheaded' Chiweinie was able to tear it out, that is why I need the plexiglas.
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Old 08-29-2013, 11:59 AM   #19
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My inlaws built a water filtration system for their ponds by doing something similar with sheets of thick plastic. He used a drill press for it and drilled a grid of 1" holes to let water to flow through. The drill press gave him more control to get everything lined up nicely (he can be "particular" ).

Same idea for the acrylic and door.

The two biggest challenges are:
1) go slow to keep heat down - I imagine this stuff melts pretty easily
2) getting them aligned so that it's "pretty" was a challenge
Thanks for the hints....I wouldn't have thought about it melting.
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Old 09-06-2013, 10:55 AM   #20
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This stopped the grandkid from pushing the screen out of my Cardinal.

The white plastic is a flourscent light defuser.


Aluminum angle is in opening and held in place with 3 screws upward into door frame. Defuser is cut to fit opening and slid up behind angle.


Bottom piece of aluminum is held in place with stainless screws and cap nuts.
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