This guide focuses on frame systems and procedures for affixing screen mesh to the frames and discusses the benefits and drawbacks of each.
• Adhesives are effective when using wood or metal frames. They’re the only option when using metal frames.
• Common adhesive formulations include two-part epoxies, two-part urethanes, and cyanoacrylates. All three systems can be called two-part; two feature a base material and a catalyst, and the other comes with an adhesive and an activator that is used to make the adhesive cure instantly.
• Urethane and epoxy adhesives consist of a base adhesive that requires a catalyst. The catalyst accelerates the curing and improves the hardness of the adhesive. The mixed adhesive and catalyst has a pot life, which will vary depending on the formulation and manufacturer. Cyanoacrylates consist of ethyl cyanoacrylates, which have a good strength characteristic, fair solvent resistance, and compatibility with most materials.
• Catalyzed adhesives are available, including formulations for just about any application, mesh count, frame type, and environment. Viscosity is important because it influences how well the adhesive penetrates the fabric to reach the frame.
• When mixing catalyzed systems, adding more catalyst will help with the chemical resistance but it will slow down the reaction time of the adhesive. Normally, the two-part epoxy systems are tack dry in 5-20 min but are not fully cured for 24 hr.
• Methods of adhesive application are personal choices. Use the one that’s best for you or suggested by the manufacturer.
The alternative to the stretch-and-glue process for attaching mesh to rigid frames is to use retensionable frames. These frames became extremely popular because standard polyester mesh fabrics were unstable in terms of maintaining consistent tension levels. With the advent of newer low-elongation (LE) fabrics, the benefit of retightening mesh is no longer as important, but these frames are still very useful. Retensionable frames area available in drawbar and roller configurations.
As their name implies, retensionable frames allow mesh to be retensioned. They use no glue, and they can be fitted with new mesh relatively quickly without the use of chemicals.
It takes some skill to get consistent tensions with these frames, and the process usually takes a little more labor to stabilize the fabric, but the results are usually worth it.
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