You do NOT need to hire someone to replace a window screen for you. I mean, sure if you want to blow money, wait around for a handyman to eventually return your call, not show up, then finally show up at 10 o’clock at night, then by all means – hire someone. But you can do this yourself. For about $10.
When I first moved into my house, I very distinctly remember thinking … A SPLINE ROLLER??? I MEAN SERIOUSLY, WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?? WHO THE HELL WOULD HAPPEN TO OWN A SPLINE ROLLER??
It seemed like a mystical tool only held in the golden palm of someone who was on the highest plain of handiness. Then I saw one, held it in my hand and recognized that it’s a glorified pizza cutter.
I bought one, some window screening and started replacing all the ripped screens in my 1840 brick cottage.
It takes a total of about 5 minutes and 5 tools to replace a window screen.
Here we go!
Replacing a window screen yourself
What you’ll need:
A roll of fibreglass window screen, some spline, a spline roller, scissors and a box cutter.
Spline is the ribbed, rubber rope that holds the screen in the window. It’s about $5 for enough to do 2 windows.
What’s a spline roller?
The spline roller is just a gadget with one grooved end and one smooth end that’s used for pushing the spline into the window frame. You roll it like a pizza cutter. Do yourself a favour and get one of these because even though you may have never heard of it and therefore it kind of scares you, it’s a lot easier to do any job if you have the right tools. They’re $6 or $7.
The box cutter is used to cut the excess screen away from the window when you’re done.
What are scissors?
If you don’t know what scissors are it’s probably because you’re a danger to yourself or others. It’s best you keep away from them and windows in general.
Unroll your screen to estimate how much you need. Cut it off so you have a couple inches extra all around the window.
Grab your spline.
The spline will fit over the screen, into this channel around your window.
The basic steps (printable how-to at the end of the post) are to remove the old screen and spline, lay new screen over the window, stick one end of the spline in the channel and then run the spline around the whole channel, locking the screening into place.
Done. That’s it.
Hold your screen up to the window and stick the end of your spline into the corner of a channel.
Push it in tight with the tool. Holding your screen tight, roll the spline roller along the spline, pushing it into the channel.
Continue to push the spline in with the roller all around the window.
Make sure you’re always holding the screen tightly so your finished product will be tight. Not loosey goosey. This is a window screen, not a caftan. You want it tight.
Be careful when using the tool. It is sharp and if you aren’t careful with it you’ll cut your screen and have to start all over again.
Within no time at all your screen will be in.
Now all you have to do is cut the edges off with your boxcutter.
5 – 10 minutes later … the screen is in.
The same principal works for all window screens, old or new. This also works for a screen door. Technically you’re supposed to take the screen out and lay it on the floor to do this job, but my screens don’t come out and frankly, it’s just as easy to do it while it’s up.
This is the perfect example of a job that’s really easy to do but only if you have the proper tools. You NEED to get the spline tool. You only need to buy it once and you’ll use it over and over again. My cat for instance lays in a window and is constantly pushing the screen out at the bottom with her enormous cat feet. Every once in a while I just go outside with my spline tool and push the spline back in.
All without needing to call anyone, wait for anyone or pay anyone. And you can do the same.
Unless you live in a high rise.
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