Monday, June 13, 2011

How To: Rescreen Window Screens

Funny story – I told my dad that I replaced my window screens this weekend and he thought I meant that I went out and bought all new screens.  He was pleasantly surprised when I explained – no, I removed the spline and the old screen and then attached new screen onto the window screen frame. 

It started with some holes I noticed on a couple of screens – the small window in the kitchen above the sink had a ton of holes and the screen in the bedroom window had a huge hole that I made when power washing the windows a couple of years ago.

screenholes_athomewithhThis is the kitchen window. Notice ALL the holes – not good for keeping pesky bugs out!

I had bought some screen from WalMart on clearance a couple of years ago (after the disastrous power washing episode) however I never got around to fixing the screen.  While at Home Depot a few weeks ago I noticed they had a screen kit – it included everything you needed to rescreen 36”x84” of window: screen, spline and a roller – for the low cost of around $6. This single kit was enough to rescreen three screens in my house: the large office window, the small kitchen window and one of the back bedroom windows.

I had plans to wash the windows this weekend so I figured now was a great time to fix the screens. I started by gathering the tools I’d need: 


  1. Charcoal fiberglass screen (in kit)
  2. Scissors
  3. Spline roller (in kit)
  4. Utility knife
  5. Needle nose pliers
  6. Spline (in kit)

I figured it would be as easy as pulling out the black spline from the frame groove, ripping out the old screen, laying down new screen over the frame and then reattaching the spline. I was proven correct after a quick glance at the instructions (which I didn’t follow since I omitted the taping step – call me a rebel). The hardest part for me was figuring out how to remove the screen from the window since my screens didn’t have any pull tabs or any visual cue as to how to remove it.

1. The first step is to remove the screen from the window. If your window has tabs, they would be near the arrow in the pic below. In my case, I had to lift the screen a little and then shimmy it from right to left to determine which side had a spring. I didn’t realize that the screen even had a spring until I started pushing the screen back and forth (I wondered if I could just wiggle it out somehow) and I could feel the resistance on one side. Once you know which side the springs are located, push the screen as far to that side as you can so that the screen pops out of the track on the other side. You can then pull the window towards you to bring it into the house.



The spring – each screen had two springs on one side of the frame

2. The screen should be placed on a level surface so I chose to do this in my living room while watching The Rock. I laid a towel on my carpet since the screens were disgusting and I didn’t want to mess up my pretty new rug. :)

3. The next step was to pull out the spline from the frame groove. The spline is a rubber tube-like material that holds the screen in place (seen above between the screen and the white frame). I used a pair of needle nose pliers to initially pull up the spline from the groove and then just pulled it out by hand once I had it started.


4.  Once the spline has been removed, you can pull the screen away from the frame.


5.  The next step was to wash the frame. Mine had what looked like mildew in some places (my windows are pretty shaded by the trees I have) so I just washed them using Tilex Mildew Remover and then set them out to dry in the sun for about ten minutes. Of course you can skip this if you want to rehang a dirty frame but why do that when you took the time to remove the screen and rescreen it?  ;)

6.  I then rolled out the new screen over the frame and cut it from the roll using scissors so that there was at least an inch of overhang on each side. Don’t worry about cutting other edges to size since you’ll do that later.  You want at least an inch of overhang on every side in my experience.

7.  Take the spline roller and roll the spline and screen into the frame groove (either use the new spline from the kit or reuse your existing spline if it is still in good shape, which mine was) on all four sides.  The spline roller will have two sides – one has a smooth edge and the other is double-edged.  Use the double-edged side for this step.  As you roll the spline in place, it will pull the screen taut, which is why I found having an overhang of an inch helpful.  Cut the spline if needed after rolling all four sides.


8.  Use the utility knife to trim off any extra screen.



9. That’s it! Rehang the screen in the window track. In my case, I inserted the spring edge first and then pushed it as hard as I could to the spring side so that the other side could pop back into the track.


Like I said, the kit covered this smaller window as well as the large office window and a bedroom window. I used the extra screen I had bought two years ago to cover two more windows that had small holes. This was an easy project that took a little time due to all the cleaning/drying of the frames but it was well worth it. My screens look brand new!


  1. Wow this is really impressive. You did a great job. They look so nice.

  2. Thanks, Alicia! I was amazed myself at how well they turned out and how easy it was!

  3. Your windows look great and you make it sound so easy and stressless. I am going to try this tonight. I was willing to pay a local hardware store to do this, but was expecting them done on Sunday. They failed to tell me until today, the screen guy doesn't come in until Friday. Well, I will picking up my screens, and my prepaid money, and doing my rescreening myself. Thanks to you I think I can do it. Great Job!!!

  4. Oh, I forgot to mention I dropped off the screens this past Saturday.

  5. I never thought re-screening window screens is that easy. I was choosing between re-screening my window screen and buying a window replacement. Good thing I stumbled upon this.

  6. Very helpful illustration! Thanks for including the pics and the tool list.

  7. I'm glad you all found it helpful! Good luck!


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