How do I Replace a Screen?

Ken Black
Ken Black
Replacing a screen often requires a utility knife.
Replacing a screen often requires a utility knife.

The tasks required to replace a screen are no more complicated than many other home improvement projects. While the job may at first seem daunting, replacing screens, like any other type of job, becomes easier over time. The keys are to make sure you have all the materials and the time needed to complete the job.

The first step needed whenever you wish to replace a screen are some basic screen tools. A putty knife or flat screwdriver, a screen spline, screening tool, replacement screen, utility knife and perhaps some small clamps would be helpful in order to properly replace a screen. Once all the necessary tools are in place, there are a couple of other options for tackling the actual job.

The screen frame, or the part where it attaches to the structure, may or may not be removable. Removing the frame, if possible, is the easiest way to replace a screen. If not, replacing a screen in the frame is possible, but may make the job slightly more difficult, simply because it takes more work to move around the frame.

Once you've decided whether you can remove the frame, the next step is removing the actual damaged screen. This also includes removing the spline, the rubberized material that holds the screen in place. Once that is removed, using the putty knife or screwdriver, the channel it was in should be cleaned out as well as possible.

The next step required to replace a screen is cutting the replacement screen. Be sure to cut a size that is 2 inches (5 cm) wider and longer than the opening. The excess will be cut off later but cutting a size that is too small will mean you will likely need to start over with a new piece.

After the appropriate-sized screen is cut, the next action needed in order to replace a screen is to push the new screen into the channel using the wheel on the screening tool that is not grooved. Depending on the size of the opening, this may be easier accomplished with two people. Once the screen is loosely in place, the spline can be put into place using the screening tool, which has a grooved end just for such a purpose. The knife can then be used to cut off any excess.

The money required to replace a screen is actually very little, especially just for touch-up jobs. However, it can truly add to the aesthetics and value of the property. Most jobs can be done in under an hour, perhaps as little as 20 minutes per opening that needs to be rescreened.

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    • Replacing a screen often requires a utility knife.
      By: J and S Photography
      Replacing a screen often requires a utility knife.