Refinishing the window frames & screens on a vintage Airstream

Our Airstream needed a major overhauling in the window department. The screens were yellowed and split. The fuzzy screen seal was peeling off. And the frames were dirty and flaking. And the supplies to do the job were actually quite inexpensive and made for some huge impact on how the trailer looked from both the outside and inside. Mavis looked fresh and clean after the overhaul.

 

Removable Screens

 

Supplies needed for re-screening Airstream screens:

+ New York Wire 33107 Fiberglass Screening, 48-Inch by 84-Inch, Charcoal
Two rolls of this covered all 7 windows plus the screen door.

+ Prime-Line Products P 7551 Screen Retainer Spline, .120-in(1/8-in), 250-ft Roll, Black
One roll was plenty for the job.

+ New York Wire 90610 2-Wheel Plastic Handle Screen Tool
I bought a metal and wood screen tool thinking it’d be better quality. However, I accidentally cut the screen with it whereas the plastic one never did.

+ Exacto Knife

+ Scissors

 

Here’s a video that gives you the basics on how to screen a window.

Cut the screen 2″ wider than where the screen fits into the grooves. You’ll need room for error in case of shifting. Trim the excess screen off with an exacto knife. Re-screening the screen door while it’s attached to the trailer is actually easier than you’d think. I did the whole door in less than 15 minutes. It’s a whole lot easier than removing the door. 😉 Have patience! Your first screen will be annoying and you’ll be a pro by the time you’ve finished.

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Frames

Supplies needed for refinishing Airstream window frames:

+ Sandpaper or this snazzy tool – BLACK+DECKER BDEMS600 Mouse Detail Sander
I ended up using this guy on a lot of projects. I don’t know how I ever lived without it!

+ Valspar Project Perfect Spray Paint in White Flat
It took 3 cans to cover all of the screens with two coats.

+ Fuzzy Seal
I used four 8″ strips per window. Also, I searched and searched for a more affordable alternative because I was too stubborn to spend this much over seven windows. But I spent more time and money on stuff that just didn’t work and just didn’t fit or stick. So I highly recommend just getting what belongs on the window!

+ 3M 08001 Yellow Super Weatherstrip and Gasket Adhesive Tube – 5 oz.
Use this to affix the fuzzy seal. It is extremely smelly and even flammable. Use it outdoors.

+ Scissors

 

This part is pretty easy. The Mouse sander does all the heavy lifting. Then lay all of the frames out on a big drop cloth (before you screen them!) and spray them. It took two coats to get ours covered evenly. When you attach the fuzzy screen seal, make sure to push the pile together. Once the metal arms pass through a few times it will part the seal. So if you start with the seal butted up you’ll have a better seal and no bugs can squeeze through.

 

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Knobs

Supplies needed for refinishing Airstream window knobs:

+ Easy Liquid Sander Deglosser from Jasco
It took just a quick pass over all of the knobs to prepare them for paint.

+ Valspar Project Perfect Spray Paint in White Gloss
It took 1 can to cover all of the knobs.

+ Double-sided tape

+ Cardboard or some other painting surface

 

Once you prepare the knobs with the Liquid Sander, let them dry for a half an hour or so. Line a piece of cardboard or some other panting surface with strips of double-sided tape about 6 inches apart. Stick the knobs to the tape – this keeps them for sliding around when getting sprayed with paint. Paint away from all angles. They’ll need two coats to shine like new. Voilà!

 

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Fixed window frames

Supplies needed for refinishing Airstream fixed window frames:

+ Easy Liquid Sander Deglosser from Jasco
It took just a quick pass over the frames to prepare them for paint.

+ Valspar Project Perfect Spray Paint in White Flat
It took 1 can to cover all of the knobs.

+ Drop cloth
Protect the Plexiglass during painting

+ Painters tape

 

Our Airstream had two skinny windows at the front of the trailer that have fixed window frames and Plexiglass windows. The frame material is kind of plastic-y so latex paint wouldn’t be a good option for them. Once you prepare the frames with the Liquid Sander, let them dry for a half an hour or so. Then seal off the window with a piece of a drop cloth and prepared it for spraying. Two coats covered it beautifully and now it looks as good as new!

 

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Sheena

Sheena

Sheena is a free-spirited adventurer who designed and renovated a 1975 Airstream in 2016 and travels the US with her husband and mohawk-sportin' poodle. She's a business owner, self-taught carpenter, blogger, yogi, professional photographer and a lover of the outdoors and healthy living.
Sheena

2 Comment

  1. Fantastic information. So helpful! Do you remember what grit of sandpaper you used on your sander? Thanks so much!!

    1. Thank you! I got the “fun pack” of mouse sander pads and I used one or two over the finest grit. Sorry, I can’t remember the exact number! Hope that helps!

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