Repair a Screen


Damaged window screens can sometimes be repaired; screens with major damage probably will need to be replaced.

If a fiberglass or metal screen has a small tear, repair it easily with clear silicone adhesive. Just dab it over the tear and let the glue set. Several coats may need to be applied to completely seal the hole.

Metal screening can also be "darned" with strands of scrap screening. Unravel a strand or two and, using a sewing needle, weave the strands into the undamaged screen.

For larger holes, consider applying a patch. To make a repair of this type in metal screening, first square off the hole's edges using a utility knife. Then cut a piece of scrap screening about 2 inches larger than the damaged area. Unravel a couple of strands on each side of the patch and bend them at a 90-degree angle. Fit the patch over the opening, inserting the strands through the screening. When the patch is adequately positioned, bend the wires over to secure it.

A similar technique can be used to mend fiberglass screening. Again, square off the damaged area, cut an oversized patch from scrap material, and affix it with clear silicone glue.

A similar technique can be used to mend fiberglass screening. Again, square off the damaged area, cut an oversized patch from scrap material, and affix it with clear silicone glue.

fig. 1

fig. 2

fig. 3

Replacing Metal-Framed Screening

To replace a metal-framed screen, begin by laying the screen on a flat surface. Metal-framed screens are held in place by a vinyl spline that fits into a channel around the frame's perimeter. To remove the spline, insert the tip of a flat-bladed screwdriver into the channel and pry it up. Once started, the spline pulls easily out of its channel.

1. Separate the damaged screening from the frame. After squaring up the frame, lay a piece of replacement screening over it, and cut a slightly oversized piece with aviation snips. It generally works well to cut the screen to the same dimensions as the outside frame. (Fig. 1)

2. Place the new screening over the opening in the frame and, using a putty knife, crease the screening into the channel on one side of the frame. This is the edge of the screening that will be stretched first. (Fig. 2)

3. Next, using a hammer and wooden block or a screening tool, insert the new spline. While an assistant pulls the screening taut, drive a second spline into the opposite channel. Start either of the two remaining sides of the screen in the same way as before, and then repeat the stretching process. Finish by trimming the excess screening. (Fig. 3)


Replacing Wood-Framed Screening

There are several methods for installing screening in wood frames, but the following method is common and easy to do. The screening is held in place by staples that are driven all along the perimeter of the sash. A heavy-duty stapler and 1/4-inch staples are best for this job. Do not use a household stapler.

Remove the wood molding concealing the staples. Gently pry up each strip, using a putty knife. Be very careful--older moldings can be quite brittle. Next, remove the staples holding the screening to the frame, and then discard the old screening.

1. Unroll the replacement screening and cut a piece that is several inches wider and at least 12 inches longer than the frame. Fold over the top edge of the screening about 1/2 inch, and then staple this hemmed double layer to the sash, working out from the center to the edges. (Fig. 4)

2. To ensure adequate tension on the screening, fashion a makeshift "stretcher" using a pair of 1x2s. Cut two 1x2s as long as the window is wide; then nail one of them to a piece of plywood placed on your workbench. Position the screen and sash so that the excess screening overlaps the nailed-down 1x2. Nail a second 1x2 to the one already in place. (Fig. 5)

3. Cut a length of 1x4 lumber diagonally from corner to corner; this will yield two wedge-shaped pieces. With the wedges lying flat, insert them into the space between the 1x2s and the frame. Then tap the wedges with a hammer, alternating sides until the screening becomes taut. (Fig. 6)

4. Staple the bottom edge of the screening in place, again working from the center outward to each edge. For the sides, pull the screen taut and staple from the center outward, smoothing the mesh. Trim the excess screening from the frame with a utility knife, and then replace the molding. (Fig. 7)

For replacing screening:

  • Silicone adhesive
  • Screen patch (metal or fiberglass)
  • Sewing needle (with an eye large enough to accept a strand of screening)

For metal-framed screening:

  • Slotted screwdriver (flat-bladed)
  • Combination square
  • Aviation snips
  • Putty knife

For wood-framed screening:

  • Putty knife
  • Replacement screen
  • Heavy-duty staple gun
  • Heavy-duty staples
  • Aviation snips
  • 1x2 lumber
  • 1x4 lumber
  • Saw
  • Plywood
  • Utility knife

Do It Yourself Projects

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» Installing a Chain Link Fence

» Home Electrical System

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» Path Lighting

» Installing Insulation

» Repair a Screen