How do you replace a torn window screen? (with pictures)

Posted in Home Improvement on June 15, 2018

Repair those unsightly broken screens and keep the summer bugs out of your hair.

  1. Remove the old rubber splines with an awl or thin screwdriver, starting from a corner. Some screens have metal splines; remove the same way, but carefully so you can reuse them.

  1. Lay new screening square on the frame, cut it so it overhangs all four sides by no more than 1". Clamp screening to one of the short sides of the frame.

  1. Roll the new spline into the groove starting at a corner opposite the clamped side. Pull the screening gently taut with the other hand. Try to keep the same strand of screening aligned with the groove all the way.

  1. Continue the spline around the corner. When the whole screen is rolled, push the splines into the corners with a screwdriver. If a bubble appears in the screening, as shown, remove the spline, pull the screen tighter, and reroll.

  1. Trim off the excess screening with a sharp utility knife.


As these photos showed, screening in aluminum frames is usually held in place with a rubber spline. Replacing the screening and spline is easy with the wheeled spline roller shown here; most hardware stores sell it for cheap.

It’s a good idea to replace the old spline while you're at it. Spline costs cents a foot. Bring an old piece along to the store, since it comes in several thicknesses.

Two kinds of screening are available: aluminum and fiberglass. Fiberglass comes in several colors, is more flexible, and a bit easier to install. But it's also a little more easily damaged or stretched than aluminum, which is slightly more expensive.

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