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Fix a Torn Window Screen Fast and Easy!

Window screens can be easily ripped or torn on accident. Household animals with long nails can sometimes do damage, or if any object scrapes up against the screen, it’s likely to get damaged. Thankfully, as long as the frame is undamaged, screens are fairly simple and inexpensive to fix yourself. With the right tools and materials, you can fix a screen in less than an hour for about $20 or less.

Choose Your Screen Material

There are many different types of screen material you can choose from, from sun-shading screens to basic insect screens.

Here are some of the most common types of screen material:

  • Standard Fiberglass Window Screen is flexible, economical, and easy to install. It does not cease, dent or unravel, which makes it easy to install as replacement screen material. This is the most popular screen replacement material, especially for beginners because if you make a mistake, it’s easy to take out and try again.
  • Aluminum Wire Window Screen is strong and durable insect screen material that resists rust and will not sag. A protective finish prevents corrosion and strengthens the weave.
  • Tiny Insect Mesh is great for keeping out tiny insects such as no-see-ums, gnats, sand flies, fruit flies and other annoying bugs. Great for patio, porch and pool enclosures.
  • Pet-Resistant Screening is much stronger than regular insect screening, and is ideal for screen doors and other areas that need extra protection and strength. Excellent for high traffic areas where pets come and go.
  • Solar Screen material is ideal in rooms that get lots of sun. This type of screen can take a load off the air conditioning, and can help prevent fading on carpet or other fabrics. Solar screens can block up to 90% of the sun’s heat and glare, yet still serve the purpose of an insect screen.
  • Most screen materials come in gray or black, and sometimes shiny aluminum or bronze and brown. Once you know which material and color you want, be sure to measure the window size to know how much material is needed.

Other required materials and tools that are needed is a flathead screwdriver, scissors, utility knife with new blade, new spline, spline rolling tool, wood stop block to keep screen from moving, cordless drill and screws.

How to Replace the Screen Material

Fixing a screen yourself is easy, inexpensive, and a relatively quick process.

  • Step 1 – Remove the torn screen (on the frame) from the window if it hasn’t been removed yet. It usually pops out, or is held by clips. Place it on a large flat surface.
  • Step 2 – Pry out the spline (the narrow rubber cord that is between the screen mesh and frame) with a narrow flat head screwdriver or awl. Throw it away, old spline can crack and break over time. Remove the old screen material.
  • Step 3 – Secure the screen frame so it won’t re-position while you replace the screen material. You can place small wood blocks along the inside of the longest sides of the frame and secure them to the work surface.
  • Step 4 – Lay the new screen material over the frame. It should overlap the frame by 3/4 to 1 inch. Cut a small square from each corner to prevent the material from bunching where the edges meet.
  • Step 5 – Begin installing the new spline in a corner, pushing it over the new screen material. Use the screen rolling tool to push the spline and screen material into the groove, and continue all the way around the screen. If wrinkles or bulges appear, remove that section of the spline and re-roll.
  • Step 6 – Once the spline and screen is covering the entire frame, it’s time to trim the excess screen material with a utility knife. Cut with the blade on top of the spline and pointed toward the outside of the frame. It’s important to use a brand new blade- a dull blade will only pull the material, not cut it.

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