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How to Fix a Window Screen

Window screens can get punctured or torn, but as long as the frame is in good shape repairs are easy and can be done in a few minutes. Here’s how to make your screen door or window look good as new.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Select screen material

The most popular replacement screen material is fiberglass, the type we're installing. Its flexibility makes it the easiest to use—if you make a mistake, you can take it out of the frame and try again. Aluminum screen is sturdier, but you only get one chance. The grooves you've made with the screen rolling tool are there to stay. A third type of screen material that's popular is sun-shading fabric. It blocks more sun, which means less load on your air-conditioning system and less fading of your carpet, draperies and furniture. It's also stronger than fiberglass and aluminum screening, so it's great for pet owners.

All three materials come in gray or black to match your other window screens. You can also get shiny aluminum as well as sun-shading fabrics in bronze and brown tones. Know the size of your window when you go to the home center. It will sell pre-measured rolls to fit nearly any opening size. If your screen frame is taller than 36 in., it should have a center support to keep it from bowing in once the material is in place. Newer screens usually come with this support. If your long screens don't have a support, you can make one out of aluminum frame stock. It's located near the screening supplies in most stores. The aluminum stock can be cut with a tin snips and trimmed to fit.

Replace the screen

Get the tension just right when you fix a screen.

Get the tension just right when you fix a screen.

Pro Trick For Proper Screen Tension

If the screen tension is too loose, the screen will sag, but if you pull it too tight, especially on larger door and window screens, the tension can actually bow in the aluminum sides. Here’s a simple way to get it just right. After rolling in the screen on the first two adjoining sides, place a brick or similar heavy object in the center of the screen to create the proper amount of slack. Then continue installing the fabric along the third and fourth sides of the screen frame. Remove the brick.

Video: How to Replace a Door or Window Screen

If you have a damaged window or door screen, you don't need to buy a new frame. Rick Muscoplat, an expert at The Family Handyman, will show you how to replace a screen with a new screen and simple repair

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

    • Cordless drill
    • 4-in-1 screwdriver
    • Utility knife

You'll also need scissors, an awl and a screen roller.

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

    • Screen
    • Spline
    • Wood stop block
    • Brick

Comments from DIY Community Members

Share what's on your mind and see what other DIYers are thinking about.

1 - 6 of 6 comments
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June 24, 8:36 AM [GMT -5]

themerchar --- Thanks for the tip on custom-built replacement screens! I have been looking for just such a place. I will be ordering 5 screens quite soon, for windows that have never been screened but need to be.

May 16, 1:02 PM [GMT -5]

I have tried the retail replacement search for my window screens, and can never find the right size. The DIY kits are ok but are difficult to cut smoothly. I ended up ordering a complete screen replacement at this site: www.screenitagain.com. They came within a few days and fit perfectly. I highly recommend!

August 22, 10:17 PM [GMT -5]

I am using flat spline . Any ideas on how to install it??? I cant get the spline to stay in the groove

June 08, 12:07 PM [GMT -5]

I have a few screens with no metal piece , what can I do to make a screen holder thing ?

February 20, 11:30 AM [GMT -5]

You can buy all necessary parts at Home Depot.

September 02, 10:23 AM [GMT -5]

This is good information but how do you replace a screen if the frame is in bad shape? Where can you get or make replacement frames?

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How to Fix a Window Screen

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