How to Replace a Window Screen

Rescreening a window is easy. There are two types of screen available: metal and fiberglass. Rescreening with metal is slightly more difficult than with fiberglass (metal is not as flexible as fiberglass), but metal seems to stretch tighter, and it does last longer. However, where fiberglass screen material is not as strong as metal and often sags slightly once in place, it’s much easier to install.

In either case both metal and fiberglass install in exactly the same way. Replacement is pretty easy. Lay the screen spline-side up on a work surface and then follow these steps:

  1. Poke an awl into the old rubber spline and pull it out of its recess.

    The spline is the rubber gasket material located all around one side of the screen’s frame that holds the screen in place. You can buy a roll of screen spline at any home improvement store. Be sure it matches the size you currently have.

    When enough of the spline has been removed, you can pretty much do the rest by grabbing and pulling.

  2. Remove and discard the old screen.

    Work on a large, flat work surface. The kitchen table covered with an old blanket or a piece of cardboard works well.

  3. Lay the replacement screen centered over the frame.

    You can use the screen material of your choice; however, it should be a few inches larger than the screen to be repaired in both width and height.

  4. At one corner, use your fingers to press the spline material into the spline groove in the frame.

  5. When an inch or two of the spline is started, use the spline roller to steadily push the spline into its groove around the entire frame.

    A spline roller is a tool that is composed of a grip with a rolling wheel at each end. Keep the edge of the screen aligned with the frame and do one side first, and then the opposite side. Then do the top and finish with the bottom. Make sure to keep the screen taut. A helper may be in order here.

  6. With the spline in place, cut the end and use a razor knife to remove the excess screen material.

    Place the razor knife in the outside edge of the spline groove, pointing the tip away from the spline. Gently wipe the razor knife along the groove. It will easily cut away the excess.

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