Getting Custom: Unique Installation of Retractable Screen System

Before the paint dried on Tom’s dream home, an elegant abode that offered a commanding view of a wide river, he decided there was one more thing he couldn’t do without: custom retractable screens for a large second floor porch that would provide an unobstructed view of the river while keeping the insects out.

This 375 square foot covered living area where the screens were installed is just off the Grand Room and will be used for entertaining guests and as a respite from the hustle and bustle of life. The solution he needed for this beautiful home and porch, which was supported by beautiful Greek columns and exquisite hardwood detailing, is screens that wouldn’t deter from the sophistication and styling of the home. To meet this goal he went with a recommendation to install a five screen custom motorized retractable screen system.

The screen he chose was a vertically retracting screen, Panorama™, one suitable for large openings such as this one and typically used on porches and patios. This unit consists of screen housings or canisters that are installed on a header above door and other openings, and rails that run vertically and attach to the sides of the openings; the screens move along these side rails and stay taut and inconspicuous while providing an impenetrable barrier to buzzing and creepy crawly insects.

The screens are fully automatic: a remote control effortlessly raises and lowers the units from the comfort of a lounge chair or couch. All the technology to program these units is housed in the screen canisters. The programmable units are hard wired into electrical outlets concealed inside the ceiling. The screen housing color was off white, chosen to match the surrounding woodwork and to nicely contrast the wood ceiling.
The installation was a challenge from the get-go, requiring a very technical, custom installation. The layout of this living area and columns was such that two of the columns were at a 45 degree angle to the other.
Normally, screen housings and side railings fit in nicely between vertical openings that run in a straight line or plane. However, in this case, the architect of this upscale home didn’t take into account that custom retractable screens would need to be installed in this outdoor living space, which sits just off the Grand Room of this grand home.

Call in the Carpenters

The first adjustment that needed to be made was to have the trim carpenters build a “false column” up against the wall of the home itself. This column didn’t support the structure, but rather provided the means to install the side railings for one of the openings. The installers could have installed angle brackets to support the railings on the side against the building, but it would have taken away from the ascetics of the home.
The next order of business was dealing with the 45 degree angles that existed between two of the openings. Normally, the railings, which look like rectangular tubes, are installed flush to a flat surface. However, since there wasn’t a flat plane between the two columns, the installers had to drill holes into the corner of the railings, as is shown in the photo. Also, prior to this installation, trim carpenters had to come in and tack a flat piece of wood in the center of the column on the side where the railings were going to be installed.

Call in the Electricians

In order to hide power cords and provide a means by which each screen could be powered off to service the unit or for programming purposes, electricians hardwired the units into electrical boxes directly above the screen housings. All five units were hardwired into one single outlet. An access hole was cut in the top of each screen canister to allow access to shallow depth rocker switches, one per screen. The screen housings were spaced about 3/8” from the ceiling so that the switches did not intrude in the screen housings, and hence the operation of the automated units. To allow for the unlikely event that the units would have to be reprogrammed, a small gap was left above the screen canister, which was large enough to insert a flat headed screw driver into to flip the switch.

The End Result

The challenge of this installation was to provide complete functionality of the operating system while maintaining the superior ascetics of the architect’s original plan. Stoett’s expert dealer, Working Space, in North Carolina made sure the screen investment would be installed to this high standard. Stoett has these trained dealers located throughout the United States and Canada so you can rest assured you’re getting a quality product along with a quality dealer and installer.

River Front Home Motorized Screens Lowering