Window Screen Repair and Replacement

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To improve ventilation in your home as the weather warms up, many of us will choose to open doors and windows. This will lead to window screens and screen doors being exposed to the elements and possibly taking some abuse through exposure to playful animals, wind and airborne debris, or even balls and other toys that may be sent flying about the yard and house. Unfortunately the abuse screens are forced to endure can sometimes be too much and a rip occurs. Replacing ripped screens is likely the first thing that comes to mind, but repairing them is possible in many cases.

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Screens should be installed tightly and this can sometimes be the bane of their existence. Due to the lack of give present in a screen, rips and holes are known to form if screens are pushed on or otherwise impacted. When such damage to a screen occurs, the sooner you repair it, the better. If you are unable to attend to it in a timely manner, tape will aid in keeping the rip from spreading. Simply adhere tape to both sides of the tear to create a temporary fix that will hold until you can fix it the right way.

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Depending on the location of the damaged screen, some extra work may be necessary. For example, popping a screen off of a window for a repair is not too complicated, but a tear in a screen door may require removal of the door. Even if this sounds like a lot of extra work, performing a screen repair while the door is still in its normal position and able to swing and crush fingers may prove even tougher. Taking the door down and placing it across a couple of saw horses is a finger-saving method you may wish to embrace. Regardless of where your damaged screen is and how you will need to access it, there are some universal things you will need: a good measurement of the damage, a utility knife, scissors, thread, replacement screen, and a roller. Also keep in mind that there is no way to known if the spline will need to be replaced until you remove it and get a good look at it, so purchasing additional spline might be worthwhile.

The severity of the damage to your screen will depend on how you will be able to fix it. This basically leaves you with three options:

1. For small rips, a simple sewing with a needle and thread will be all the repair you need. Bond the two sides of the tear together by sewing carefully and tie off your slack. This may be slightly noticeable but should not be glaringly obvious.

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2. In a hole is present, cut out a section around it, being sure to remove all of the frayed or damaged edges. Then cut a patch about 2 inches larger than the section you removed. With a needle and thread, place the patch on the side of your screen that faces outside and carefully sew the circular patch in place.

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3. In the event that the whole screen needs to be replaced, start the process by removing the spline. Starting in a corner, gently remove the spline from the groove around your screen. Once it is removed, examine its condition. If it is dry rotted, it will need to be replaced. Before you throw the old spline away, measure it and use that measurement as a guide for cutting the new spline you will be using. When you cut your replacement screen, be sure to allow 2 inches of overlap on all edges. Pull it taught and hold in place with clamps if necessary, then begin in a corner, pushing the new screen into the groove with a roller. Remove any wrinkles that form as you go and follow the screen placement with spline installation, also through use of the roller, pushing the spline in until it becomes flush with the screen frame.

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Since it can sometimes be difficult to find replacement screens in a pinch that are a precise fit to your doors or uniquely sized windows, knowing how to do your own repairs is rather advantageous. Although it may frustrate you working with a flexible screen and trying to manipulate it to become taught, experience comes with practice and getting the hang of it should only take a short period of time. In the end, your accomplishment will be good as new screens and an ability to enjoy the natural world outside without letting it into your home.

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