Window Screen Repair: Do It Yourself

Replacing Damaged Window Screening

Damaged window screens can detract from the appeal of your home or business.  They can also be an unwanted entrance for bugs, birds, and rodents.  This problem can be remedied very easily and very economically.  All that is needed is a few tools, some replacement material, and a little time.


Screen fabric   (either aluminum or fiberglass to match your existing screens)

Screen spline  (get the diameter to match the screen fabric-fiberglass uses a little bigger spline)


Spline roller (looks like a miniature double-ended pizza cutter.  Approx: $3)

Utility knife

Flat head screwdriver


Replacing damaged window screening

  1.  You’ll want to start by removing the window screens from the window frames.  There are usually two little tabs on the bottom of the screen frame to help lift them out of the track that holds them in place.  Lift on the tabs until the screen frame clears the bottom track.  Gently pull the bottom of the screen toward you and pull down to clear the top track.  You will later reinstall the screen in just the reverse order.
  2. Find a large, flat, sturdy surface to lay the screen on.  One side of the screen will have a channel with a rubber tube-like piece around the edge of the screen fabric—this is the spline.   Pull the spline out of the channel to release the screen fabric (a flat head screw driver may be needed to help remove the spline).  Make sure the channel is clear of dirt and debris before continuing.
  3. Using scissors cut a piece of new screen fabric that is approximately 2” wider and 2” longer than the screen opening.  Measure out enough new spline to go around the entire channel in one piece and then add another inch or two. 
  4. Center the fabric over the screen opening.  Beginning in one corner, insert the spline (and screen) into the channel while keeping the fabric taut. It easier to do a little by hand and then come back over with the spline roller to force it completely into the channel.  It takes some pressure to force the spline into the channel, so you may want to have a partner keep the screen taut while you use both hands to guide the roller.  The spline roller has one wheel with a small groove in it.  This is the end you will use to insert the spline.   
  5. Slowly, being careful not to slip off the spline and rip the fabric, make your way around the channel.  When you get to a corner, you may need to use the flat head screwdriver to work the spline into the channel. 
  6. Once the spline is completely inserted and the screen is straight and taut, use a utility knife to carefully cut off the excess fabric and spline.  You are now ready to reinstall the screen on the window.
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