What you’ll need:
- Spline roller
- Flat head screwdriver
- Utility knife
- Popsicle stick
- Replacement screen
- Screen repair kit (optional)
- Wax paper
- A brick or similarly heavy object
- Rubber-based glue
No one wants to spend their summer covered in mosquito bites, which is why it’s so important that all your window screens are in tip-top shape. If you’ve noticed bugs or debris are making their way inside your home, it’s a good idea to check for holes or cuts in your window screen. Use this step-by-step guide for repairing or replacing a window screen in an hour or less.
Prepping to Repair or Replace a Window Screen
Photo: iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images
Before repairing or rescreening your window, make sure you know what kind of material your window screen is made out of (or what kind you’d like to replace it with). Most likely, it’s made out of fiberglass, which is the most popular material for screens. Other options include aluminum and sun-shading fabric.
You should also measure the frame to ensure you buy the correct sized replacement screen. Any screen material 36 inches or taller should have a center support to prevent bowing.
Finally, you don’t want to let any critters inside your home while you tackle this DIY project, so close the window in question while your screen is removed for repair.
How to Patch Repair a Window Screen in 3 Steps
If you’re only dealing with a small hole or slice, you can patch a screen very easily and quickly.
1. Cut the Hole Out
Place the screen on a secure, flat surface and, using a utility knife, cut a square around the damage. Don’t cut any wider than you need to, and if the damage is within half-an-inch of the frame, it’s best to replace the screen altogether, as the patch shouldn’t be flush with the frame.
2. Cut the Patch
Photo: noprati / Adobe Stock
Cut the new screen patch large enough to leave half-an-inch around the hole you just made. Sometimes patches are sold in rolls, but also come in individual squares.
3. Glue the Patch
Lay wax paper on the table, under the frame, to prevent any glue from getting on it. Some patches are self-adhesive, making this step super easy; simply stick the patch onto the hole. If your patch does not have self-adhesive, use rubber-based glue or Super Glue Gel to glue the outer edges of the patch to the screen. Spread the glue in a thin, even layer using a popsicle stick.
How to Replace a Window Screen
Larger tears and damage require the screen to be fully replaced. Luckily, rescreening is not difficult to do, and will save you $100 or more in professional labor costs.
- Pull Up the SplinePhoto: ucchie79 / Adobe StockPlace the frame on a flat, secure surface. Locate the spline—a plastic piece that runs around the perimeter of the window’s frame—and then gently lift it out of all four sides of the frame using a flat-head screwdriver. If it looks to be in good condition, you can reuse it after replacing the screen. If it looks brittle, you’ll need to replace it. Set it aside to bring to a hardware store to ensure you buy a new one that is the same size.
- Remove the Damaged ScreenNow that the spline has been removed, simply lift the damaged screen out of the window’s frame. You can either throw the damaged screen away, or repurpose it for a DIY craft project.
- Roll Out the New ScreenPhoto: ucchie79 / Adobe StockUnfurl the new screen material over the frame, and cut it to fit so it’s out of your way, leaving about two or three inches extra on each side of the frame. Using scissors, cut off the corners of the screen a little above the frame’s channel, so the screen doesn’t scrunch up in the corners of the frame.
- Secure the ScreenPhoto: ucchie79 / Adobe StockUsing the convex side of a spline roller, press the screen into the channel of the frame’s perimeter. Secure it in place by then pressing the new spline into place, using the concave side of the roller. Do this step one side at a time, starting with the first two sides.
- Add WeightTo prevent the screen from sagging or bowing, place a brick or similarly heavy object in the center of the screen before installing the last two sides of the spline.
- Trim the ExcessPhoto: graphixchon / Adobe StockCut away any excess screen material with a utility knife. Angle the knife towards the outside of the frame, and cut as close to the spline as you can. Position your new screen in your window frame and tell the mosquitos outside to buzz off.
DIY Window Screen Repair or Replacement vs. Hiring a Pro
Repairing or replacing a window screen is a relatively easy DIY project that shouldn’t take you more than an hour. But if you have several screens to repair, you should consider hiring a local window screen installation professional to save yourself time. The cost to professionally replace a window screen costs between $140 and $480 per screen, depending on the materials. Some security or solar models can cost as much as $1,000 to replace.
While planning this project, you may wonder about standard window sizes and the cost to buy screen materials.
What are standard window sizes?
There are many standard window sizes, and screens are sold in replacement rolls to accommodate those sizes. Here are the most popular standard sizes:
- 2 feet wide by 3 feet high
- 2 feet wide by 4 feet, 4 inches high
- 2 feet, 8 inches wide by 4 feet high
- 2 feet, 8 inches wide by 5 feet, 2 inches high
- 4 feet wide by 6 feet high
How much do different screen materials cost?
The cost ultimately depends on size, but roughly, here’s how much the most popular screen materials will set you back, per square foot.
- Fiberglass: $0.25–$0.50
- Aluminum: $0.35–$0.70
- Solar: $7.50–$15
- Security: $10–$25
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