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How to Repair a Window Screen

Hits: Date:9/26/2011

How to Repair a Window Screen

If there's a hole anywhere in a screen, a mosquito will find it ... and then you! Short of replacing a damaged window screen entirely, you can try several quick fixes that will keep the little buggers out until you have time for a proper repair. Stores offer rescreening services, but you can easily do it yourself and save some money.

Quick fixes for small holes
1 Flatten any wires that stick up around the hole and realign the screen wires as best you can with any small pointed tool, such as an awl, nail, needle or tiny screwdriver. Spread clear silicone caulk or epoxy adhesive over the tear.

2 To make a patch, cut a small square of screening with shears; remove three or four strands of wire from each side. Place the patch on a board so the ends of the wires overhang, and bend them down to a 90-degree angle. Repeat for all sides. Place the patch upside down on a hard surface. Remove the screen sash and lay the damaged area of the screen over the patch. Press down on the screen so the bent wires project through, and bend the wires over with a wood block (see A).

3 Use wire strands removed from a piece of screening to "darn" between the sound strands and across the hole. (No needle is required; your fingers will do the job.) Turn the screen over after each "stitch" to bend the wire flat.

Replacing a screen installed in splines
1 Remove the screen sash.

2 Use an awl or nail point to pry out one end of the vinyl spline that holds the screen in the sash's channels. Slowly pull out the spline and then the screen.

3 For large or flimsy screen frames, tack some 1/4-inch (6-mm) plywood stops into your workbench so you have one centered on each of the frame's inside edges when you place the screen over the stops. This prevents distortion of the sash as you roll in the screening.

4 Lay new screening over the sash so it overlaps all sides by at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) and cut it with shears.

5 If you are using aluminum screening, roll the screen into the channel on one side of the sash using the convex wheel of a screen roller (see B). Press against the center of the screen to keep it from shifting. To avoid cutting the screen, roll lightly at first, and then more firmly to press in the screen in stages. Roll in the spline (see step 6) before rolling in more screening. If you are using fiberglass screening, skip step 6 and roll in the screen and spline simultaneously.

6 Starting about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in from a corner, press the spline into place with your fingers as you roll it into the channel with the concave side of the roller (see C). Roll lightly at first to avoid stretching the spline and to maintain control. For fiberglass screening, roll the screen and spline into the channel at the same time.

7 As the spline approaches each corner, use shears to make a diagonal relief cut from the outside corner of the overlapping screening to the inside corner of the sash.

8 Work your way around the screen frame. As you roll one side, hold the opposite side of the screen slightly taut.

9 Use the tip of a screwdriver to press in the spline at each corner (the round roller can't roll right up to the inside corners).

10 Cut off excess screen with a sharp utility knife when the spline is all in (see D). To avoid accidentally cutting the screen, angle the blade toward the outside of the frame; cut slowly and steadily.

11 Reinstall the screen sash.