How to Replace a Window Screen


There are 4 things in my house that prove that both it and I are old fashioned.

They are:

1. Aprons

2. 16″ wide pine plank floors

3.  Mouse traps

4.  Window Unit air conditioners

Every summer the fella lugs the window units into the dining room and our bedroom.  I know they’re ugly and horrible, but I kind of like falling asleep to the hum of an old fashioned window unit. What I can’t stand about them is they block so much light.  So as soon as it starts to get even remotely cool out I demand the air conditioner be removed and banished to the basement again.

The other problem with window units is you have to remove your window screens for them to fit in.   So every fall after the window unit comes out I trudge outside with all my screen replacing equipment and get to work putting a screen back in the window.

It takes a total of about 5 minutes and 5 tools to replace a window screen.

Here we go!

How to Replace a Window Screen

Items you need …



Fibreglass screening

(this roll cost $8 and will screen around 4 windows)




Spline comes in a few different sizes.  Bring an old piece of your spline into the store to make sure you’re getting the right size.

(Spline is the rubber rope that holds the screen in.  Cost: $4.79 – enough to do 2 windows)


spline tool

Spline roller.

(This little gadget is is what pushes the spline into the track in your window to hold the screen in. Cost: $6.50)


box cutter

Box cutter




(if you need to know the cost of scissors because you don’t own any, it’s probably because you’re in a nut house.  Best you keep away from the windows in general. )


window screen

Unroll your screen to estimate how much you need.  Cut it off so you have a couple inches extra all around the window.


spline 2

Grab your spline.


window channel

It’s going to fit over the screen, into this channel around your window.


spline tool 2

The spline roller has 2 ends.  One with a groove in it, like you see here, and one without a groove.

Use the end with the groove.  The groove fits over the ridges in the spline and helps it go in straight.


fixing window

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.


fixing window 2

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 taut.  Not loosey goosey.  (yet more proof I’m old fashioned)

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.


window with screen

Within no time at all your screen will be in.


trimming screen

Now all you have to do is cut the edges off with your boxcutter.


finished window

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 cats for instance lay in a window and they’re constantly pushing the screen out at the bottom with their enormous cat feet.  Every once in a while I just go outside with my spline tool and push the spline back in.

As far as learning a new word today, I would like for each and every one of you to try to work “spline” into your daily conversation with someone today.  Either that, or nuthouse.  Your choice.