Wondering how to replace a window screen? It’s easy to do! All you need is a roll of window screen, spline, a spline roller tool, and this simple tutorial.
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!
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Originally published May 24, 2016 updated May 14, 2019
DIY Window Screen Frame
I had to make some repairs to a window at my house. The repairs changed the size of the window opening. This meant the old wood window screen no longer fit, so I built a new window screen frame to fit the opening.
In other words, for this tutorial, I’m not technically replacing an old screen. Instead, I’m installing a new screen in a new frame. The good news is the process I’m going to share with you is exactly the same as replacing an old screen. 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.
When Should You Replace a Screen?
As I mentioned for this tutorial I’m installing window screen mesh in a new window frame. 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 we 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 to look 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 than how often they should be replaced. In other words, a damaged screen is an open invitation for insects and bees to enter our home.
In this case, we need to replace the screen (or patch it with screen repair tape) to prevent insects from entering our house.
However, if we want to be proactive we can replace a window screen when it becomes stretched or faded. This can help with curb appeal and freshen up the look of our windows.
Type of Window Screen
The first thing we’ll need to replace a window screen is the mesh or fabric. The mesh or fabric comes in rolls and there are several types of window screen rolls available.
Screening is available in both metal and fiberglass. Fiberglass mesh varieties include a screen that’s nearly invisible and others that prevent tiny insects from squeezing through the holes.
It’s even available in a pet variety. I used a pet mesh on the screen door that I made for my friend Linda because her cats that like to climb.
Window Screen Spline
Once we decide what type of screen to use we’ll need a way to attach the material to the frame. For that, we’ll use 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. We need to measure our old spline so we get the right size. Or we can take a piece of it to a hardware store or big box 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.
Spline Roller Tool
Next, we’ll need a way to push the spline into the groove. For that, we’ll use a spline roller tool.
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 Kit
We can purchase window screen mesh, spline, and a spline roller tool separately or we can purchase all of them together in a window screen kit.
A window screen kit is a good place to start if we’ve never replaced a window screen before. We’ll need to be sure the kit contains a screen that fits our window opening and the right size of spline for our 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 are a few options 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 utility knife
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How to Replace a Window Screen
Click here to download a free PDF of these instructions
Screen Rolling Tool
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 Screen
Roll out the screen on the window frame. The screen needs to be larger than the opening. We 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. We’ll trim the excess later.
Step 3. Clamp the Screen
We want the mesh to be tight to the frame when we’re finished replacing the screen. To be sure the mesh is tight it helps to gently clamp the screen to the 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.
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.
Step 6. Turn the Corner
Push the spline into the groove on the next side with a flathead screwdriver. Continue around the frame using the instructions described in Step 5.
Step 7. Cut the Spline
Cut the excess spline with a utility knife when you reach the last corner.
Step 8. Remove the Excess Screen
Place a utility knife between the intersection of the spline and the groove and use the knife to remove the excess material.
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