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Screen Replacements for Doors and Windows

With proper care and a little handy work you can make replacing screens quick and painless. Beware that a rushed or poor job may result in the entire screen and frame needing to be replaced.

Screens come in two basic varieties; standard screens for windows and screen doors.

Screen doors typically can be removed with the application of a small amount pressure. Just tilt the bottom and lift a small amount and the screen should come out easily. Don't bend the frame or force it; this could damage the screen or make it come loose from the rollers that it sits on.

Window screens are held in place by pressure and a set of spring-loaded pins. There also are usually tabs that lock the screen into place. First locate and unlatch the locking tabs, then pull the spring loaded pins on the bottom of the screen. Once these come loose repeat for the top and gently lift the screen from the window. Screens that are not moved often can stick so be patient and again, don't force them.

Once you have the screen out of the window place it on a flat surface covered with a cloth (to protect against damaging the paint on the frame). Remove any screws that are holding the screen in place as well as the spline (a thin strip of rubber in a groove). Find the end of the rubber strip and gently pry it loose using a screwdriver or other small tool. You should only have to apply gentle pressure to lift the spline from the channel it lies in. Once this rubber piece is removed you should be able to remove the screen.

You can purchase kits that are comprised on both screen mesh and spline materials. These kits come in a variety of widths and lengths. Measure your screen and add some additional space to both length and width to allow for a margin. You will also want to buy a spline roller to make it easier to insert the new rubber into the channel uniformly. A spline roller is similar to a pizza cutter; a small wheel attached to a handle.

Get your supplies handy and then measure the screen material twice. Also measure the window frame twice. Measuring twice will help avoid errors in the material sizes. Once you have the materials measured out and are confident of the dimensions cut the material leaving a margin of about 2/10ths of an inch. This amount should allow for plenty of extra material to get the spline into place.

Before inserting the spline make sure there is no debris or buildup in the channel. Next stretch the screen material tightly over the frame and work the spline into its channel making sure not to ripple the screen or twist the spline. As you work your way around the frame you should gently stretch the spline material. Also start the spline material in a place that will allow for you to end on a side rather than at a corner. More pressure is encountered near corners and we don't want the spline to come loose down the road.

Throughout the entire process take special care not to bend or damage the frame. Cut the spline material and work the end into the groove. After you are done replacing the screen and spline clean the channel in the window where the screen will be placed. Put the screen back into place, pulling the spring loaded pins and replacing the tabs into the locked position. That wasn't hard now was it?

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