How to Replace a Window Screen

Replace a window screen and save $$$ It’s easy to do yourself! All you need is a roll of window screen, spline, a spline roller tool, and this simple tutorial.

Replace a window screen

How to Replace a Window Screen?

I’m betting you’re here because you have a damaged window screen, door screen, porch screen or patio screen that you need to repair. Well, you came to the right place because I’m going to show you step by step how to replace a window screen!

You may also enjoy How to Build a Wood Window Screen Frame and How to Make a Screen Door.

Originally published May 24, 2016 updated May 14, 2019

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DIY Window Screen Frame

I recently had to make some repairs to a window at my house. The repairs changed the size of the window opening, which meant the old wood window screen would no longer fit, so I had to build a new window frame.

In other words, for this tutorial, I’m not technically replacing an old screen. Instead, I’m installing a new screen in a new wood frame.

The good news is the process I’m sharing with you is exactly the same as replacing an old screen in a wood frame or a metal frame. The only difference is I don’t have an old screen that needs to be removed first.

Please skate over to How to Build a Wood Window Screen Frame if you need to build a new frame for your home.

Installing a window screen frame into a window opening

When Should You Replace a Screen?

As I mentioned, I’m installing window screen mesh in a new window frame for this tutorial. But I have replaced other window screens in my home.

The most common reason to replace a window screen is when it becomes torn or develops a hole. Screen repair tape is available to fix small holes.

Another reason you may want to replace a screen is when the mesh becomes stretched. I’ve noticed the fiberglass screens on the south-facing side of my home tend to stretch the most.

My guess is the heat from the sun causes the fiberglass fabric to expand. Over time the screen seems to lose its elasticity and starts looking droopy.

The sun can also fade the black fiberglass material. The stretching and fading appear to weaken the fabric. Then it’s only a matter of time before the screen rips or tears.


How Often Should You Replace a Window Screen?

In my opinion, replacing a window screen is more about the need to replace it than how often it should be replaced. In other words, a damaged screen is an open invitation for insects and bees to enter your home.

In this case, you need to replace the screen (or patch it with screen repair tape) to prevent insects from entering your house.

However, if you want to be proactive, you can replace a window screen when it becomes stretched or faded. Replacing the screen can help to improve curb appeal and freshen up the look of your windows.


Types of Window Screen

The mesh or fabric is one of the first things you’ll want to consider when replacing a window screen. The mesh is what covers your window and keeps the bugs out.

Fabric comes in rolls of various widths and lengths based on the size of the window or door you want to cover. There are also a variety of mesh materials, including aluminum, fiberglass, and polyester.

Aluminum Screen

Aluminum screen is a versatile option that works for most screen projects. The advantage of aluminum is it’s sturdy, resistant to sagging, and less noticeable than other screen materials. Aluminum screens are available in a shiny metal color or charcoal.

While an aluminum screen is more durable, the drawback is that it can crease. And once it’s creased, it’s there forever.

Fiberglass Screen

Fiberglass screen doesn’t crease like aluminum, and it’s easier to install, but I’ve noticed that it can sag, become weak, and easily rip as it ages. Fiberglass screening is available in gray and charcoal colors.

Fiberglass mesh varieties include a screen that’s nearly invisible and others that prevent tiny insects from squeezing through the holes.


Pet Screen

Consider using a pet screening if you’re a pet parent. Pet-resistant screens are designed to withstand the weight and claws of animals. I used a pet screen on the screen door that I made for my friend Linda because her cats like to climb.


Window Screen Spline

Once you decide what type of screen to use, you’ll need a way to attach the material to the frame. For that, you’ll use a window screen spline. The round rubber spline fits into a groove in the frame and locks the screen in place.

Spline is available in a variety of sizes like .125″, .140″, .160″ and more. You need to measure your old spline, so you get the right size. Or you can take a piece of it to a hardware store or home improvement store and match it up to the new spline.

For this tutorial, I’m using .125” spline in my wood window screen frame.


What Tools are Needed to Replace a Window Screen?

  • Screwdriver
  • Scissors
  • Screen Roller
  • Utility Knife

Spline Roller Tool

A screen roller, also called a spline roller, is a simple tool with a wheel on each end. The tool rolls along the spline and pushes it into the groove.


Window Screen Replacement Kit

You can purchase window screen mesh, spline, and a spline roller tool separately, or you can purchase all of them together in a window screen replacement kit.

A window screen kit is a good place to start if you’ve never replaced a window screen before. You’ll need to be sure the kit contains a screen that fits your window opening and the right size of spline for your window frame.


Where to Buy Window Screens?

Store-bought adjustable window screens are available if you don’t have the time to rescreen your windows. Here’s a popular expandable window screen you can buy online and have sent to your home.


Steps to Rescreen a Window

  • Remove the old screen material
  • Roll out the new screen on the window frame
  • Clamp the screen to the frame
  • Start the spline in the groove with a flathead screwdriver
  • Use a spline roller tool to push the spline in the groove
  • Cut the spline when you reach the last corner
  • Remove the excess material with a sharp utility knife

How to Replace a Window Screen

Printed Instructions

Supplies

Tools

Step 1. Remove the Old Screen

Use a flathead screwdriver to carefully pry the old spline out of the groove and remove the old screen.

Step 2. Roll Out the New Window Screen

Roll out the new screen material on the window frame. The screen needs to be larger than the opening. You need the screen to extend past the opening on each side at least a few inches. Use scissors to cut the screen to length.

Don’t worry if the screen extends beyond the opening more than a few inches on each side. You’ll trim the excess later.

Rolling out window screen to rescreen a window

Step 3. Clamp the Screen

When you’re done replacing the screen, you’ll want it to be tight and free of wrinkles. It’s a good idea to clamp the screen to the frame gently to ensure that the mesh remains tight while installing the screen.

I placed the frame on my workbench and used my Kreg Workbench Clamps to hold the screen in place. You could also use spring clamps like these to hold the mesh to the frame.

Clamping window screen mesh to a window frame

Step 4. Start the Spline

Place the end of the spline in a corner and use a flat head screwdriver to push it into the groove.

Inserting window screen spline into a groove

Step 5. Roll the Spline

Gently stretch the spline in one hand and use downward pressure with the screen rolling tool (rolling it back and forth) to push the spline into the groove. Stop when you reach the corner.

📝 NOTE: You may have to temporarily remove or reposition the clamps to continue pushing the spline into the groove.

Using a screen roller tool to push spline into a window screen groove

Step 6. Turn the Corner

Push the spline into the groove on the next side with a flathead screwdriver. Continue along the remaining sides and corners of the screen using the instructions described in Step 5.

Using a screwdriver to push spline into the corner of a window screen

Step 7. Cut the Spline

Cut the excess spline with a utility knife when you reach the last corner.

Cutting the excess spline when replacing a window screen

Step 8. Remove the Excess Screen

Place the utility knife blade between the intersection of the spline and the groove and use the knife to remove the excess material.

Cutting excess window screen material


Final Thoughts

That’s all there is to it. Now you can replace a window screen, door screen, porch screen or patio screen!

Thank you for stopping by. If you found this information helpful, would you please pin it to Pinterest? Other DIYers would appreciate it and I would too! Thank you – Scott


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4 Comments

    1. Hey Keith – After I initially get the first bit of spline in, I stretch the spline with my left hand while keeping my left hand on the screen to keep it straight. Once you get the first side done and start on the second side the screen pretty much keeps itself straight. Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions.

  1. How do you actually attach the screen frame to the window frame? Are there special fasteners you use for that? I have a 1912 house with no screens at all in the wood windows now, and I am planning to make some. Some of my windows are double hung windows, but the upstairs are casement windows that swing inward. I’m trying to figure out how to install screens on both types, but especially the upstairs ones.

    1. Hi Hannah – There is specific fasteners for antique style window screens. On the outside of the house there typically would be “window screen hangers” mounted on window trim and at the top of the screen. Then mounted lower on each side of the trim would be “window screen wing clips” that would hold the screens in place. I thought this would look a little “clunky” on my 1850s house so my aunt came up with a great idea. She suggested I attach two screws on the top of the window screen (one in each corner). Then using a Forstner drill bit, drill two corresponding holes in the underside of the top trim piece. The screws slip into the holes and the screen is held in place on the inside using a hook and eye. This way there is no clunky hardware to distract your eye on the outside of the house/window.

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