A woman measuring a window
Light brown laminate flooring.

DIY Window Screen Replacement in 5 Easy Steps

How to Replace a Window Screen

Are you looking for a way to spruce up your house and its curb appeal? Replacing torn, beat-up and unsightly window screens can give the exterior of your home a much-needed, easy-to-do makeover, and your screens can regain their purpose of keeping insects and debris out.

Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to replace your window screen.

But first, here are a few signs of a screen that needs replacing:

  • The mesh is shiny rather than matte dark
  • Outside traffic and general noise level are louder than usual
  • There are large holes and rips

Taking Measurements

Before you jump into your project, you’ll need to take some measurements, so you know what to replace the old screen and parts with.

Screen spline is the vinyl cording that affixes the screening to the frame. You’ll be using a special tool called a spline roller (or screen mouse) that pushes the cording into the frame’s grooves. The roller will usually come with the cording in the same kit.

Spline cording goes by diameter measurements because it’s the thickness of the spline that will make everything a nice, snug fit. Get the measurement of the spline groove while it’s on the screen frame. There are plenty of handy charts online you can check if you aren’t sure.

Replacement Screening Styles

There are a few different types of screening to consider.

Pet screens: this type of screening is designed for a dog or cat owner in mind. It’s heavier-duty, equipped with more durable wiring that can withstand clawing.

Solar screens: solar screens block up to 90% of UV radiation from penetrating the inside of your home, making the internal temperature cooler and protecting your fabrics from fading from sunlight exposure. It’s a good purchase if your property is lacking shady trees.

Privacy screens: for homes on busier roads or homeowners who simply wish to keep out nosy passersby, there’s the privacy screen. The wiring is finer, making it more difficult for people to look in, but your visibility from inside the home isn’t sacrificed.

No-See-Um screens: buggier regions can call for this type of screening not just to keep bugs out but to repel. No-see-um screens are made of fine mesh and fiberglass, so you can still enjoy the fresh air without the bugs.

Replacing Your Screen: A Step-by-Step Guide

What You’ll Need:

  • Replacement screening
  • Spline and spline roller
  • Small flathead screwdriver or nail punch
  • Claw hammer
  • Scissors
  • Utility knife
  • Tape or small clamps
  • Staples or nails for wooden screens

Step One: Removing the Old Screen

  • Place the screen on your flat work surface.
  • Use your flathead screwdriver to pry the old spline from out of the frame’s edges.
  • If applicable (for wooden frames), use your claw hammer to take out old nails and your screwdriver to remove staples.
  • Throw out the old screen mesh.

Step Two: Cut the New Screen Mesh

  • Roll out your new screen mesh over the window frame so you can see how much you need to cut to fit. Pull the roll so there’s overlap across the frame’s grooves. You do want an overhang on this step because it will allow you to secure the mesh tightly.
  • Trim the screen with your scissors.

Step Three: Secure the Mesh

  • Use your spline roller to push the spline cording and the mesh beneath it into the frame’s grooves. A wooden frame will need staples or nails.
  • When you’re finished, your screening should be taut but not feel overstretched.

Step Four: Trimming

  • Grab your knife or your scissors and trim away the extra mesh that hangs over the frame.
  • Don’t cut the spline cording!

Step Five: Reinstalling the Frame

  • Pop your window screen frame back into place. Now you’re finished!

A Full Replacement or a Patch Job?

You can opt to replace your window screen or just patch it up. A full replacement is warranted when there are large tears or the mesh has become shiny from wear.

Patch jobs work for minor rips. All you need are pre-manufactured patches (they should be ½ inch larger on each side than the hole itself) and some glue. You won’t need to remove the screen to patch it up.