DIY Friday – Replacing window screens

How to replace your window screens

Here’s a quick DIY post for you this Friday, replacing window screens.  When we moved into our current house last year there was a lot of work to do.  Over the last year we have been slowing finishing up all the remodeling projects.  For some reason when we moved in more than half of the window screens were completely gone and most of the others were full of holes and needed to be replaced.  This was one job we didn’t get to last summer so most of the summer we kept the windows closed and just let the A/C run.  Turns out that’s not a very budget friendly method of cooling your home!!

So this spring I was determined to get the new screens up and the old torn up ones repaired.  Turns out it’s really a fairly simple project.  Not a lot of brain power or technical knowledge needed.

Replacing Window Screens 1

Here’s a list of the tools and supplies you will need:

  • A hack saw
  • A small regular screw driver
  • A pair of scissors
  • A screen tool (should be available at any home repair store)
  • Eye Protection
  • A box cutter, utility knife or razor blade
  • Aluminum Frame Pieces
  • Screen Spline
  • Screen Corners
  • Top Tension Springs
  • A roll of window Screen
  • Screen Pull Tabs (optional)

The process is pretty quick and easy.  First you need to measure your windows.  Be sure to take the measurements at the portion of the frame where the screen is going to fit.  Most modern windows have a track that holds the screen in.  Older windows may need to have additional hardware to hold the screens in place.

Replacing Window Screens

Next transfer your window measurements to the aluminum frame pieces.  You need to subtract 1 1/2 inches from each measurement to account for the corner pieces.  So for example if your window is 40″ by 24″.  Then you would cut your pieces to 38 1/2 inches by 22 1/2 inches.  If you are also using top or side tension springs (see below) then you should also take off an additional 1/8 inch but only on the sides you are putting the springs on.

Replacing Window Screens 3

Cut the aluminum frame pieces with a hack saw being careful to keep the cut square.

Replacing Window Screens 4

Assemble the 4 pieces using 4 screen corners.

Replacing Window Screens 5

If you are using tension springs you install them before you put the corners together.

Replacing Window Screens 6

Next lay the frame out on a work table and roll the screen over the frame.  You want the screen to over lap the frame by roughly and inch on each side.

Replacing Window Screens 7

Cut the screen to length with the scissors.

Replacing Window Screens 8

Get a screen spline that is the appropriate size for you frames.  Start the spline in the channel in the screen frame using a small flat head screw driver.  You will also use the screw driver to press the spline firmly into the channel at the corners.

Replacing Window Screens 9

Using the screen tool roll out the spline into the channel.  While rolling the spline into the channel be sure to hold the screen tight and strait on the other sides.

Replacing Window Screens 10

This is kind-of a two person job, one rolling the other holding the screen tight and in place.  If you don’t have two people then you can use some tape to help hold the screen tight and in place.

Replacing Window Screens 11

Once the spline is in place, cut of any excess.  Then use your utility knife to trim off the excess screening.  Use the top of the spline as a guide and the outside edge of the spline channel as the cutting surface.

Replacing Window Screens 12

And that’s it!!  Replacing window screens is pretty quick and easy.  After doing the first one and getting the hang of it the rest only took me about 15 minutes each!  I had all the screens replaced in just a couple of hours.  If you already have a frame that is in good shape then just skip the frame building steps and simply put in new screens after removing the old ones.  Check the splines if they are still soft and pliable you may even be able to get away with just reusing the old splines!

This isn’t the cheapest project but it wasn’t too bad.  We ended up rebuilding 7 frames and then replacing the screens on another 7 frames for about $120.  But we will make up that amount quickly with the savings on our electric bill.  Instead of having to run the air conditioner in the late spring and fall, now we can just open the widows.  And in the hot summer months we will be able to open the windows at night to keep the a/c off then as well!

Was this post helpful?  If you have any other suggestions or questions please feel free to leave a comment!  I’d also love any suggestions for future projects you would like help with!

One Comment

  1. Connie at Bird and Seed May 25, 2014 7:29 am Reply

    Wow- 15 minutes! It looks kinda tricky to me- like making sure everything is snug & square. Way to go! Thankfully, our new house had complete set of screens in the windows- just about the only thing we haven’t had to fuss with!

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