How To Replace Old, Torn Window Screen Fabric With New Material

Posted on: 30 November 2015

Torn window screens permit bugs to enter and aren't able to provide the type of protection you need during times when your windows are open. This is why you need to remove old, torn window screen fabric and replace it with new material. The job is easy for the prepared do-it-yourselfer, so keep reading to see what you will need and how to do it:

Tools and materials needed

  • Window screen fabric - The fabric, or wire mesh, is available in a variety of materials, including plastic, fiberglass and metal, as well as color shades. Metal fabric is generally more expensive than other options, but it is also the most durable and is more resistant to ultraviolet light and insect damage.

  • Roll of screen spline - The rubbery, rope-like spline comes in various diameters, so be sure to match your current spline with its replacement. Take a small snippet of the old spline with you to the hardware store or home improvement center when selecting new spline.

  • Spline roller - This handy tool enables you to evenly and reliably push the spline into the groove surrounding the edge of the screen frame.

  • Utility knife - Be sure to use a new, sharp blade before attempting this project, as dull blades will tear the fabric rather than make neat, even cuts.

  • Duct tape

  • Flat-blade screwdriver

Step-by-step procedure

1. Tape the window screen to a flat surface - Lay the window screen on a large surface, such as a table or concrete patio, then tape it down using strips of duct tape. Be sure not to tape the screen itself but only the edges of the frame.

2. Remove the old screen fabric - Using a flat blade screwdriver, pry up the old spline and then pull it from the groove with your fingers. Once the spline is removed, the screen fabric should easily be removed from the frame, but use the screwdriver if needed.

3. Clean the spline groove - After the screen fabric has been removed, use the flat blade of the screwdriver to scrape the interior of the groove to remove any residue that has accumulated. It doesn't need to be perfectly clean, but be sure to scrape away anything large enough to keep the spline and screen from fitting the groove.

4. Lay out and cut the fabric - Roll the screen fabric out so that it covers the screen frame completely. Adjust the fabric, so the wire mesh is aligned with the frame's vertical and horizontal dimensions. After you have positioned the fabric, cut along the edges of the frame, but leave about two inches of extra fabric on each side.

5. Install the new spline - Once the fabric is positioned and cut, poke one end of the new spline into the groove adjacent to a corner. Next, while holding the spline and pulling it just taut, but not too tight, use the spline roller to push the spline into the groove. Keep laying and rolling the spline into the groove until you reach the next corner, then use the screwdriver to tuck the spline into the corner.

Repeat the process of laying, rolling and tucking at corners until you have made it all the way around to the starting point. Cut the spline off with your utility knife and tuck the end into the groove.

6. Cut the excess screen material - The final step is to cut away the overhanging screen fabric. Position your utility knife at a 45-degree angle and make a slow incision just above and along the spline. Be sure to apply enough pressure to cut the fabric, but don't damage the spline or frame. Pull away and discard the excess fabric, then inspect your screen one more time to be sure the new fabric is properly positioned and securely fastened.

If you need to replace your window screens, contact a window manufacturer such as Valley Glass Inc


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