No More Mellow Yellow
Photos by the author
Restoring the original finish on a screen door slider panel using common spray paint brings back a fresh look and saves a little money.
Sometimes simple repairs — even really simple repairs — reap big rewards. As an example, the screen door slider panel in a well-cared-for Teton fifth wheel had turned yellow over the years, contrasting poorly with the clean, white screen door frame. This panel slides back and forth and provides access to the door lock/handle and the latch that releases the screen from the entry door. It’s a common configuration used on virtually all RVs. It worked fine — considering it was made with a thicker plastic material than the ones found in later model RVs — but it just looked terrible.
The fix was to paint the panel, which is a repair that’s easy but does take some time.
The first step was to remove the panel from the tracks in the screen door frame, which required careful flexing of the plastic enough to allow for the bottom edge to work its way out of the channel. You must be careful not to use too much force, or you’ll break the panel. Once out, it was inspected for cracks and any other damage that would render it unrepairable. Amazingly, other than the yellowing, the panel was solid.
Once the slider panel was removed from the screen door frame, it was inspected for cracks and any other damage, and the surface roughed up with 220 grit sandpaper and wiped clean with alcohol.
Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover combination paint and primer was used to spray the slider-panel. Multiple coats of paint were applied and allowed to dry to the touch (20 minutes) before reapplying.
You’ll need to paint the panel in an area where overspray will not be an issue and when the wind is calm — and make sure you protect surrounding areas from being unintentionally painted. We chose Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover in a rattle can (spray paint for those who don’t know mechanics’ jargon), which is suitable for plastics as well as metal and wood. Krylon Spray Paint is also a good choice; both paints can be purchased at local hardware stores or at Amazon. The Rust-Oleum dries to the touch in 20 minutes. For this project, multiple coats were sprayed on and allowed to dry overnight to make sure the paint would cure properly.
A makeshift cardboard “paint booth” was erected to prevent over spraying the patio. The paint was applied to one side at a time and turned to cover the lower ridges. Make sure there’s no wind and the ambient temperature is moderately warm when spraying the paint.
The paint was allowed to dry overnight to assure proper curing. Clearly, the original white finish was restored.
Re-installing the freshly painted slider panel in the screen door frame took a little finesse and care to not break the plastic.
The owners of this 2007 Teton have taken great care to maintain its appearance and were thrilled that the screen door no longer had an ugly yellow color. Total cost was $6 for the paint.
That’s all there was to it — like we said, really simple — and the panel looked fantastic when back in place. And since we didn’t have to buy a new panel, we saved 20-30 bucks.
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