How to Replace a Window Screen (2024)

By Jessica Wimmer Updated February 6, 2024

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Window screens are essential for casement and other types of windows to let in fresh air while keeping out bugs. If a screen tears or is otherwise damaged, it may not be able to do its job. But before you rush out and buy a new window screen, you can try to repair the old one. This is a great do-it-yourself (DIY) job even for a beginner, and you’ll save money by keeping the same frame. The cost to replace your own window screen is between $15 and $125, though the project can usually be completed for less than $50. Get step-by-step instructions in our guide.

*Article cost data via Amazon and Home Advisor.

 


 

Materials and Tools Needed

Very few materials are required for this project. You’ll need screen spline, which is a type of plastic cord that holds the screen inside the frame. You’ll also need the new screen material.

The cost of window screen replacement is determined primarily by the screen material, whether you choose common fiberglass or a heavy-duty metal security screen. However, nearly all of the replacement screens you’ll find online or at hardware stores are made of inexpensive vinyl or fiberglass. The cost of new spline and replacement window screen is typically between $15 and $75 total.

 

MaterialsCost Range

Spline

$5–$15

Replacement screen

$10–$60

Most DIYers already have most of the simple tools required for window screen replacement. You’ll need something to use to cut the screen—usually scissors and a utility knife—plus something to pry out the old screen, usually a flathead screwdriver.

The only specialty tool required is called a spline roller, which looks like a small pizza cutter and is inexpensive to purchase. You may want clamps to hold the screen in place while you work. You can use a power drill and some wood scraps to brace the window screen frame if you already have them, but there’s no need to go out and buy some if you don’t. The cost for all these tools, minus the drill, is $29 to $52.

ToolCost Range

Scissors

$3–$5

Small flathead screwdriver

$3–$7

Screen rolling tool

$5–$10

Small clamps (optional)

$8–$15

Utility knife

$10–$15

Power drill (optional)

$30–$65

Another option is to purchase a window screen replacement kit, which typically contains the screen material and spline plus a prying tool and rolling tool. These kits typically cost $15 to $40 depending on how much screen material is included, but most only have enough to cover a single window. Alternatively, you can purchase adhesive window screen repair tape or patches for $5 to $10 per roll if you only need to repair a small hole in the screen.

 


 

5 Steps to Replace a Window Screen

Follow these steps to successfully swap out the screen mesh on a window or screen door.

Remove Old Screen

First, remove the entire window screen from the window frame, and place it on a flat work surface. Then, use the screwdriver or another small prying tool to dig out the old spline. Before you discard it, you may want to double-check the existing spline’s diameter against your new materials. A spline that’s too thick or too thin won’t hold the screen in place. Discard the old, damaged screen.

Stretch and Cut New Screen

Roll out the new screen across the frame and cut it to size, ensuring the material overlaps the frame by at least an inch. Clip off the corners at a 45-degree angle just past the edge’s frame, otherwise extra material will bunch up in the corners. If you’ve got a power drill and a workbench, you can secure stop blocks made out of flat-sided wood scraps on the frame’s inner sides to keep it from bowing when you pull the screen taut. Otherwise, pull the screen gently taut and secure it with the clamps.

Secure New Screen

Lay spline atop the screen over the frame’s groove, and use the concave side of the rolling tool to push the spline and the new screen into the groove. Start at a corner and work all the way down the edge before starting the next edge. If there are wrinkles or bunches, pull out the spline, straighten the screen, and try again.

The trick to this step is maintaining the proper amount of tension on the screen. Too little tension leads to sagging, but too much can cause the sides of the frame to bow inward if they aren’t secured. One way to achieve the right amount of tension is to secure two adjoining sides of the screen and then place something heavy like a brick in the screen’s center. Then, when you pull the screen taut again to secure the remaining sides, the brick will ensure that enough slack remains.

Remove Excess Screen Material

Use the utility knife to trim away excess screen. You’ll probably need a fresh blade to ensure it’s sharp enough. Additionally, you should point your blade with the cutting edge facing outward so you don’t accidentally slip and cut the new spline or screen inside the frame.

Replace and Latch New Screen to Window

Installed the repaired screen back into the window.

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Professional vs. DIY Window Screen Replacement

Fixing torn screens is within most homeowners’ abilities, or professional replacement is also an option.

Professional Window Window Screen Replacement

If you’re simply not handy or if many of your window screens need replacement, you can hire a professional to handle the work. If you need to replace your windows entirely, getting the screens done at the same time is usually a good idea. You’ll pay an additional $20 to $30 per screen for labor, but you won’t have to worry about whether you’ve done the job correctly.

DIY Window Screen Replacement

This article has outlined everything you need to tackle this home improvement job. The risks of doing a poor job are minimal—at worst, you’ll end up with a saggy screen or bowed frame. These are only aesthetic problems, so this is an excellent project to sharpen your DIY skills.

 


 

How to Reduce Window Screen Replacement Costs

This is already an affordable project, but you can save money with the following tips.

 


 

How to Hire a Professional

You don’t typically need to hire a specialist for professional window screen replacement. A general handyman can do the job, though there are screen door contractors as well. Here are some things to keep in mind when finding one.

 


 

Our Recommendation

If you’re inclined to take on DIY home improvement projects, this is a good one for you. For standard-size window screens, we recommend buying a replacement kit that comes with the necessary materials and tools. If new screens aren’t enough and you want to refresh your windows’ entire look and function, the best window brands offer a variety of new and replacement windows at affordable prices.

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Just answer a few questions, and we’ll take care of the rest!

 


 

Window Screen Replacement FAQ

Can you replace a window screen yourself?

Yes, most DIYers can quickly and easily replace a window screen themselves.

Is it difficult to replace a window screen?

Window screens are fairly easy to replace, and most homeowners can complete the project in about an hour.

What kind of tools do you need to replace a window screen?

You’ll need the following tools to replace a window screen:ClampsFlathead screwdriverScissorsSpline–rolling toolUtility knife

How long does it take to replace a window screen?

Replacing a window screen typically takes between 45 minutes and an hour. Applying a screen patch only takes a few minutes.