When the screening on a wood frame window has been damaged, torn, or warped, the task of replacing it with new window screen is an easy one. With just a few steps you will have completely new screening that is stretched tight and free from holes and tears.
Only a few basic tools are required to replace the screen. You will need enough space to lay the window frame down flat with at least a few feet of room on either side to work around. Because you need to anchor down the makeshift stretcher frame, working on a rough wooden floor is best – otherwise you will need a way to anchor the lumber used for the stretcher frame.
Gather the following materials and tools for the task:
- Replacement window screening that is at least 12 inches longer than the frame height and a few inches beyond the outer edges of the wood frame
- 2 pieces – 1×2 lumber cut to the width of the window frame
- 1 piece – 1×4 lumber in the same length as the above lumber
- Putty knife
- Staple gun and staples
- Utility knife to cut the screening when complete
Stage 1 – Remove the Existing Screen
Using the putty knife, pop out the molding that hides the unfinished, stapled edges of the screen. Be careful and take it slow. Often the molding has grown brittle with age and it will need to be replaced if broken.
Take out the staples holding in the old screening and discard them in the trash along with the worn screen.
Stage 2 – Prepping the New Screening
Roll out the replacement screening, making sure that it overlaps the wood frame by a few inches on the top and along either side, as well as stretching beyond the bottom of the frame by at least 12 inches. Roll up the top edge of the screen to make a hem about ½” wide.
Starting from the center and working out to either side, staple this to the wood frame along the top edge of the opening.
Stage 3 – Making the Stretcher Frame
Nail the first 1×2 to the floor (or anchor it down securely) in line with the window frame with a 3 3/4” gap in between. Place the screening overlap on top of the 1×2 and nail the second 1×2 on it (the screen will be sandwiched between the lumber).
Stage 4 – Stretching the Screening
Cut your 1×4 on the bias and slide the pieces between the 1×2’s and the wood frame, lying flat on the floor. With a hammer, tap the wide ends of the cut 1×4 piece, alternating each side until the screen is taut. You don’t want it overly taut, as that will weaken the mesh causing premature tears and rips.
Stage 5 – Staple Down the Edges
Staple the bottom edge, starting again from the center and working out to the sides. Once that edge has been attached, start on each side, working from the center out and smoothing the screening as you go. Trim the excess screen with the utility knife and gently hammer in the molding back over top (or replace it as needed).
The flexibility of the screening and ease of working with the frame makes replacing a wood frame window screen fast and simple. Remove the existing screen and discard. Attach the top edge of the screening, use a makeshift stretcher to get it taut and staple the other three sides. Once the screen is trimmed, the molding can be replaced and your home window screen is good as new.
If you have a metal frame with screening, read How to Replace a Metal Frame Window Screen.