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Hey, you're in the home improvement zone--YOUR HANDYMAN ZONE!

Windows and Components Category

Improvement Project:

How to replace the screening of a window screen (with a metal screen frame).

Tools / Materials (See Below for Applicability):

  • Screening sheet (usually screening is sold in rolls of 25, 50, and 100 feet)

  • Screen spline (vinyl, usually comes in 25, 50, 100, 250 and 500 feet)

  • Screen spline tool/spline roller

  • Carpenter's knife

  • Awl

  • Nail

  • Screwdriver


Every once in a while, you may find yourself with a torn window screen, usually due to child mischief.  Replacing a metal-frame window screen shouldn't be an arduous task.

Caution: Of course, when dealing with sharp objects, such as a carpenter's knife, make sure you take precaution.

Replacing a metal-frame window screen can be done in a few steps, and here's how:

  1. Lay the screen on a flat work surface.

  2. With either a sharp object, like a nail, or the preferred tool of an awl, pick at the existing vinyl spline so as to remove it from the metal frame.

  3. With the spline removed, carefully pull off the existing screening.

  4. Unravel enough of the roll of screening so as to cover the metal frame, allowing at least an inch and a half of such screening to overlap around all the edges of the frame when it is correctly aligned over the metal frame and is about to be cut to such a size.

With a carpenter's knife, cut the new screening to size as laid out on the metal frame, making sure, again, that at least an inch and a half overlaps around all the edges of the frame.

  1. Using a screen spline roller's convex-wheel side, roll this newly cut screening into all the channels of the metal frame, all the while maintaining a fair amount of tension on the other side of the screening in the process so that ultimately the screening, overall, is rolled into place, in the correct alignment as the screening was laid out in step 3.  (It is important to not over-tighten the screening when rolling it into the channels of the metal frame because this may cause the frame to slightly bend out of shape and not conform to the original shape as before in order to effectively keep out insects.)

Important note: If you use fiberglass screening, such screening must be rolled into the channels of the metal frame along with the vinyl spline at the same, so steps 5 and 6 are effectively combined into one action with such a fiberglass product.

  1. Having rolled into place the screening all around the interior channel edges of the metal frame, secure this rolled-in screening with the rolling of the vinyl spline, using the screen spline roller's concave-wheel side. Use a screwdriver to help insert this spline as needed, in addition to the roller, especially at the corners of the metal frame.

  2. Once you are done with the insertion of the spline, you are now ready for the final task: Using a carpenter's knife--aimed to cut outward from the frame edges--cut the the excess screening that overlaps the edges of the metal frame. Once done with the cutting, reinstall the metal-frame window screen on your window as it was previously installed.

That's what it takes to replace a metal-frame window screen.

Ed the Handyman


Your Handyman Zone Team


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