Window screens are an important home accessory because they keep bugs and insects out of your home, while allowing fresh air to come in.
But home window screens can become damaged, especially if you live in an area with weather that allows you to open the windows frequently, experience a lot of snow or rain, or have pets that like to scratch at the screens. If you have screens that are ripped, have bent frames or are simply beginning to show wear, it may be time to replace them.
Three key considerations before replacing window screens are the screening material, the tools, and the instructions.
1. Window Screen Material
Screening material for the window screens is basically available in either aluminum or fiberglass. Both serve the purpose of keeping pests out and letting the air in, but they do vary in thickness, durability and cost.
Aluminum screens are fairly durable and typically resist rust. However, aluminum screens that are used in an area with a great deal of activity may be prone to getting torn or punctured, because they can be more easily damaged if struck by an object or pets scratching at them.
Fiberglass screens usually do not last as long as an aluminum window screens because they can tear more easily. However, they do tend to resist rust and corrosion. And some manufacturers coat them with vinyl for added strength. Fiberglass is also usually less expensive than aluminum and is available in different types including:
- High visibility screens that have smaller grids to provide better protection against small insects and are slightly sturdier than standard fiberglass.
- Pet tolerant screens, manufactured with a stronger fiberglass material that can withstand tearing of the screen when pets scratch them.
- No-See-Um is the type of fiberglass that keeps the tiny bugs, known as “no-see-ums” from getting through standard fiberglass materials. The holes are very small to prevent this type of tiny insect from getting in the house.
Solar screens are usually made from a form of PVC material. This type of screen is used to keep out bugs as well as blocking UV rays and heat from the sun. Solar screening material also typically comes with a MicroBan protection which prevents the growth of bacteria, mildew and/or mold. These are more expensive that the other types of window screens.
2. Window Screen Tools
If you’re replacing an entire window screen, the only tool you’ll need is a tape measure. You simply open the window and remove the old screen, then measure its length and width. Then buy a screen of the same dimensions and put the new one in the window.
But if you’re repairing an older window screen, you’ll need some important tools. Although there are only a few tools required to complete this task, the type of tools may vary slightly for an aluminum frame or a wooden frame.
The tools listed below are the basic tools you will need to repair or replace either a wooden or metal framed screen:
- Screening material. Select a color that will coordinate with your home’s exterior.
- Razor knife or scissors. Use to cut the screening material to size.
- Spline. This is the tubing that goes into the channel around the window frame and holds the screening in place.
- Spline roller tool. Helps put the spline in place.
- Appropriate hardware. May include such items as a wire tension spring and other hardware to keep the screening in place.
- Stapler and staples. For securing the screen in place if you’re not using spline.
To do your screen replacement correctly, it’s always good to get some advice from someone who’s done it. To be sure your screens fit your window and your screening material doesn’t sag, consider the following resources:
- Home improvement stores. There are usually people on staff who have replaced window screens. They’re quite willing to share advice about the different types of screening material and can offer tips about replacing screens.
- YouTube. Search for “window screen replacement” and you can watch people actually replacing a window screen. Just be sure they are talking about the same type of screen and frame that you are using.
- Online. Different sites offer instructions for replacing window screens. For example, see How to Replace a Metal Frame Window Screen and How to Replace a Wood Frame Window Screen on this site.
With the proper tools, screening material, and instructions you should be able to replace your old window screen quickly and easily.