How to Repair Old, Torn Window Screens

It’s about time to throw open your windows and enjoy the spring breeze!

But…it turns out your window screen has a tear and a couple of puncture holes. If you throw open the windows as planned, you’ll also be letting in dirt, debris, and insects. (Not exactly what you want, right?)

That makes now the perfect time to repair your old, torn window screens, so you can still get some use out of them this spring, summer, and fall.

Here’s how to do it!

DIY Replacing a Screen

Replacing a torn window screen rates as fairly easy on the DIY scale. It can be done as long as the frame is still in good shape. (If the frame is warped or bent, it’s time to get a whole new screen. You can buy one from your window’s manufacturer for the perfect fit, or you can build your own frame if you’re particularly into DIY.)

To replace your screen, you’ll need your materials:

  • Screwdriver (flat-head)
  • Box cutter
  • Screen
  • Screen roller
  • Tape
  • Spline 

Pro tip: there are different sizes of spline, so make sure you take a sample of your screen’s current spline to the hardware store before you buy a replacement.)

Here are the basic steps:

  1. Pry out the old spline with the screwdriver and toss it. (The spline can’t be reused.)
  2. Lay the screen out and your work station, and secure it so that it doesn’t bow when you install the new screen.
  3. Cut the screen material to the size of the frame, leaving about 1 inch of excess screen on each side of the frame.
  4. Cut off one corner of the screen at a 45 degree angle. (This is so the screen doesn’t wrinkle.)
  5. Beginning at that corner, use the screen roller to push the screen into the groove down one side of the frame.
  6. Holding the screen taut, continue to push the screen into the groove down the next side of the frame.
  7. Once you have two sides done, place a rock or other heavy weight in the middle of the screen while you finish using the screen roller on the last two sides. (This helps make sure that your screen isn’t too tight—which can cause your frame to bow.)
  8. Use the screen roller to push the spline into the groove over top the screen.
  9. Use the box cutter to cut off any excess screen above the spline. (A box cutter is needed here because it will get closer than a pair of scissors.)

Now you can re-install your screen in your window and enjoy that breeze!

Window Screen Maintenance

To keep your window screens in good shape (and to make it easier to see out of them!), we recommend cleaning them at least once a season. 

In fact, this is a good tip for the rest of your window’s parts: a good cleaning will make them last longer and will make the window easier to operate. (Fun fact: operable windows can get stuck open or closed because of dirt and debris.)

Need Help with Your Windows? Call Us!

If your windows are beyond a DIY repair, call Jack’s Glass. We’ve been helping homeowners repair and replace their windows for decades.

Our local, family-owned and -operated business has been helping Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky homeowners with their commercial glass, auto glass, glass shower and window needs for more than 70 years. Contact us today at our Elsmere, Covington, or Dry Ridge locations.