Repairing Large Holes in Your Window Screens

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Estimated Time: 
about a half hour per screen
Holy Window Screen? How to Replace a Screen, Save Money and Keep the Bugs Out

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Holes in your window screens aren't just ugly, they're annoying. Mosquitoes, flies, bees will eventually find their way into your house and no doubt into your bedroom just as you're trying to fall asleep. Whether you're afraid of nasty bites that drive you crazy or West Nile Virus, a screen with holes is literally an open invitation to flying foes. The good news is that repairing holes in your window screens and even replacing the entire screen is relatively easy and inexpensive—especially compared to the cost and hassle of getting a new screen installed by a professional.

If the hole in your screen is larger than 3 inches but the frame of the screen is still in good shape, you can simply repair the hole.  On the other hand, if the tear or hole in your screen is large, or there are several of them to contend with, you may as well replace the entire screen.

Step 1

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Remove the screen from the window. This is usually done by loosening the screws on the retaining clamps that secure the screen in place inside the window sill. Remove the screen and place it on a work table at a comfortable height.

Examine the frame. Is it still square and strong? If it looks like it's in good condition on all sides, then start by removing the screen mesh from the frame. You do this by pulling out the splines, the grey rubber pieces that hold the screen mesh in place in the channel of the frame. The trickiest part is getting the first edge of the spline to come up from the channel so you can grab it and peel it back. It's easiest to do this with a screwdriver or a putty knife. Start in the corner, working the spline out slowly. Then carefully pull the spline up. Do this on all four sides, saving the splines if possible so you can reuse them later.

Step 2

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Cut a piece of new screen mesh that is a bit larger than the frame-ideally it should overlap the frame by about three inches on each side. Set the new mesh piece on top of the empty frame. As you position the mesh, keep the grids square with the frame itself, so your finished screen will have a neat, square appearance.

Step 3

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Now you can start using a tool called a screen-spline roller to push the edges of the mesh into the channel of the frame. You may need to use a bit of force to squeeze it in there. Then replace the splines, jamming them into the channel, securing the screen in place. Be sure to use the concave wheel of the spline roller.

As you complete one side, move on to the next, in a circular pattern until all four sides are complete. Don't worry about trying to make the mesh super-taut as you put it in place. The spline roller will pull it tight as it enters the splines.

Step 4

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With mesh secured by splines all the way around all that's left is to trim off the excess screen material. Use a sharp utility knife and work carefully along each edge. Do not nick the screen or you will have to start all over. Reinstall that screen into the window frame.

Flies, moths and other flying insects beware! The window screens are no longer an open invitation! You're ready to throw open the windows or doors and enjoy those gentle breezes, bug free.

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1 comment

29
Sep

I am trying to paint over an old screen door. I can't find any paint that sticks to it without going through. I have tried gesso and other primers, but they are not thick enough. have any suggestions?