At Home with Gary Sullivan

At Home with Gary Sullivan

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Screen Repair Tips with Wet & Forget

Whether it’s due to pets, weather or just normal wear and tear, a torn or detached door or window screen can take away from your home's beauty. 

Buying ready-made door or window screens can be expensive. Follow these easy instructions to replace the screen material in a door or window frame.

 List of materials and tools: 

• Screen material 

• Spline (Spline is usual made of poly foam and comes in rolls. It's available in several diameters- (from 9/64" (0.14) inch to 7/32" (0.21) inch) at home improvement stores.)

• Scissors • Spline installation tool (A spline installation tool has metal wheels (concave and convex) at both ends.) 

• Utility knife 

• Flat-head screwdriver 

• Clamps 

Screen material or mesh comes in a variety of materials including fiberglass, vinyl cloth and aluminum. Screen material is sold in rolls and available at most home improvement stores. Fiberglass and vinyl cloth mesh is available in a range of colors and shades. 

Step 1: Remove the Damaged Screen

Worn door and window screens let insects in. They get in between the screen and glass causing an ugly mess and blocking outdoor views. Screens with holes, tears, and snags area common occurrence. To replace a door or window screen in the existing frame, place the frame with damaged screen down on a shop table or other flat work surface. Locate the plastic spline around the edge of the frame. The spline is what holds the screen in place. The spline runs in the channel around the frame's perimeter. Use a nail punch or a screwdriver to loosen the spline. Grab it by the end and pull it up and out of the frame. The screen will loosen and come out easily. Remove dirt from the frame with a garden hose or compressed air. 

Step 2: Cut New Screen to Size

Place the frame on a flat surface. Roll out, measure and cut enough screen to cover the entire frame plus extra for a one to two inch overlap. You'll use the extra screen to clamp at the frame's edges. Lay the cut screen over the frame with the curved side down. This ensures that the new screen lies flat in the frame. Clamp the screen to the frame's edges so the screen is taut while you work. The screen will tighten as you install it. 

Step 3: Attach the New Screen to the Frame 

A spline installation tool or spline roller makes it easy to wedge the spline into the door or window frame. The spline roller has two small wheels on each end- one concave and one convex. The convex wheel has a thin, flat edge.

The concave wheel has a grooved edge. The concave wheel is used when installing metal screen. When installing metal screen you'll need to pre-shape the screen into the frame's channel so that the spline will fit smoothly. Then use the convex wheel to press the spline, with screen underneath, into the channel. 

Start by unrolling a length of spline. (You can sometimes reuse the old spline if it is still in good shape.) Install the spline by pressing it into the groove of the frame using the spine roller's convex wheel. 

Hold the screen, tugging gently while you carefully roll, pressing the spline into the groove around the perimeter of the frame. Move the roller in one direction. Using short strokes work your way around the frame. Pushing the spline into the channel with tighten the screen as you go. 

When you reach the corners bend the spline to a right angle and then use the convex wheel or a small screwdriver to tightly press it into the frame. Be careful to avoid cutting through the screen material. Roll over the entire length of the spline to make sure that it's fully pressed into the frame. 

When you reach the corner where you started, cut the spline with a utility knife or scissors. Press the end into the channel.

Step 4: Trim Off the Excess and Rehang

Trim the extra screen at the edges with a utility knife. Carefully cut along the inside of the frame, above the spline to create a clean, neat edge. Reinstall the new door or window screen. 

Interested in learning more DIY home projects? Click here. Want to know more about keeping your home's exterior clean? Click here.

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