The COVID pandemic has hugely impacted day to day life for all of us; especially in the workplace. Whether you’re dealing directly with customers daily in retail or in daily contact with co-workers in an office, it’s been hard to get back to business as usual. We know the strain businesses across the UK are going through; and with COVID screens costing from around £90 upwards, it can’t help to have extra costs as well as lower footfall. We have put together this short guide on how to build your own COVID protective screens. That way you can save money AND protect your staff and customers!
For our design we made a transparent, large COVID protective screen that would be perfect for separating desks or protecting a till area. We designed a screen that would be freestanding to allow it to be easily moved at any time and to avoid damaging any permanent fixtures in your business.
Read on below to find out how we did it and what you’ll need to make yours.
What you’ll need
- Cut to size glazing material of your choice
- Fine-toothed handsaw or jigsaw
- Measuring tape
- Scoring blade (optional)
Measuring your COVID screen
Before you begin, you’ll want to start by measuring out the size of screen you would like, preferably at the area you’re hoping to protect.
We chose a screen width of 800mm and height of 750mm, with two supporting feet of 240mm by 100mm, based on other large freestanding models currently on the market. This should be a good size for either separating desks or protecting a till area. You can even cut out an open area at the bottom for exchanging goods or money. If you’d like a screen larger than this, you may want to consider getting additional feet for extra support.
Once you’ve measured the right size for your screen, you’ll want to decide which material you’d like to use.
For our screen we chose to use Liteglaze Acrylic Perspex, used most commonly as secondary glazing. We chose the “Cut to Size 2mm” option for our screen which is only £25.29 per SQm, and the “Cut to Size 6mm” for the feet for extra support.
Acrylic Perspex is a great option for basic protective screens – most COVID screens on the market are acrylic Perspex, but you can also choose a slightly more affordable material called ‘Styrene‘. Styrene would also work, but unfortunately, it doesn’t come cut to size. That shouldn’t completely put you off, however, because you can easily cut and drill Styrene in the same way you can Acrylic Perspex (see more on cutting below).
If you’re looking for a COVID screen with extra strength and protection from impact (for example if the screen is needed in a manufacturing environment), you may want to consider upgrading your screen by using flat polycarbonate. It’s 200 times more impact resistant than glass at only half the weight and is already commonly used in protective materials in many hazardous workplaces.
Using the same measurements as we’ve used with our acrylic Perspex screen, using 3mm Cut to Size Flat Polycarbonate for the screen and 6mm for two feet, you can get an even stronger screen for just a little more investment.
Cutting & assembly
Once you receive your Perspex, all you have to do is a little DIY, and you’ll be set.
First thing you’ll want to do is to measure to the centre of each ‘foot’ piece (if using our measurements, this should be 120mm in). You’ll need to cut out space for the screen panel to fit in; we’d recommend trying to be as precise as possible, as you can easily sand to increase the space further later, but cutting too large of a space may be harder to remedy. Once you mark the middle of the foot, you can add millimetres in either direction to ensure the screen will sit properly in the centre (for our screen, which is 2mm thick, you would mark out a cut at 119mm and at 121mm).
You’ll then want to decide where to place the feet; for stability, we put ours 20mm in from either side. You can add additional feet along the screen as needed, depending on the width you’ve chosen.
For cutting the screen, remember you’ll want to make a cut wide enough for the feet (which should be a larger thickness of glazing for support) in our case we marked out a cut 6mm wide.
For stability, we’d suggest making each cut half the height of the foot (50mm in our example). We added an additional 1mm of depth to the cuts in the screen panel to ensure it sat fully flush to the surface.
Once you’ve marked it all out, you’re ready to start cutting.
Acrylic Perspex and Styrene normally only require a cutting knife with a scoring blade to cut through; you can simply score into the material until you’ve made an incision about half of the thickness of your sheet then simply apply pressure to break off a section cleanly. However, for the thin cuts required here, we would recommend using a saw, either a jigsaw or fine-toothed handsaw.
If you have a cutting knife with a scoring blade, it is beneficial to start by scoring on a flat surface following your markings against a straight edge, with the material held firm with a clamp. This will make it easier to saw accurately.
Once you’ve scored your lines into the material, simply use your saw to finish off the cuts. If using a handsaw, you will likely need to saw along your vertical markings and score along the small horizontal edge to cut the piece out. You can use a file or emery board to file down any areas further if needed.
Once you’ve finished cutting, you can simply slot together the feet and screen panels, and you’ll have finished building your COVID screen.
Need More Help Building Your COVID Screen?
You don’t needto be limited to our screen design above. You can use acrylic Perspex, flat polycarbonate or Styrene to build any COVID screen you like; from a hanging screen to full length and anything else, the only limit is your DIY skills! It’s far cheaper to make you own than to buy a premade option, and you can even use your savings to upgrade to stronger more protective materials and still save money.
Our advisers at eRoofs are always on hand to help in any way they can with your project, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with any queries you may have about building your own COVID screen – or you can call us directly on 0844 474 4444.
Last, but not least, if you’re looking to buy any materials for your protective COVID screen, remember eRoofs doesn’t just offer incredible prices on all glazing materials, but they also offer:
48 hour express delivery on many products
Cut to size options on many glazing materials
FREE help & advice – just call 0844 474 4444
*Prices correct at time of writing. They do not include delivery costs.