How To Replace a Fiberglass Screen

Having window screens is essential in keeping homes relatively dust and pest free. Over time, even the most durable of screens will require replacing. Fiberglass screens will not be able to withstand deterioration especially if you have children or pets in the house. Luckily, most of the wear and tear occurs on the actual screen and not on the frame, so all you will need to do is to replace the fiberglass mesh and your window screen will be as good as new. This project is very easy and can be done in less than an hour. All you need are some basic tools and enough sheet of new fiberglass screening. This article will guide you in removing the broken screen and installing the brand new shield onto the existing frame.

  • Prepare the tools and materials for your home-improvement project. Measure the length and the width of your window screen. You will need to purchase enough fiberglass mesh to cover the entire frame and not just the damaged area. You will use a sharp utility knife to cut the screen material. You will also need new spline if the old one cannot be used anymore. Check if it any part is cracked or brittle. You can get this in rolls at a glass shop or hardware store. Spline comes in different sizes so if you are not sure what size your screen needs; it is advisable that you bring a small sample of the spline with you to the store. To insert the spline, you will need a splining roller. You can also buy this from any local glass shop. Prepare also a screwdriver, a pair of scissors, and an old toothbrush.
  • Remove the fiberglass screen from the sash or frame. Most window screens are attached to the window frame with screws. Unscrew these and gently pull out the entire window screen. Lay this down on a flat surface like a workbench to avoid any deformation as you replace the screen. For flimsy or large frames, it is advisable to attach some wood pegs or stops onto your work area so you can secure the frame in place. Put these wood stops in the middle part of the inside edges of the frame. Detach the spline from its groove by inserting a screwdriver or an awl underneath it then lifting it out. Pull the entire length of the spline away from the screen. Detach the old fiberglass screen from the frame and set it aside. You can still use this material to patch up small tears and damages in the future.
  • Brush the groove clean. Dust and grime will collect in the space under the spline. Before installing the new mesh, it is important to remove all these dirt. Using a toothbrush, scrub out any grime inside the groove. This will help the new spline stay in its place better. If there are any stubborn grits, scrape these off using an awl or a screwdriver. 

  • Put in the new fiberglass mesh. Position the new screening mesh over the frame. Make sure that the mesh is laid down flat in the middle and that the vertical and horizontal patterns are lined up correctly with your frame. Cut the mesh about an inch and a half bigger than the size of the frame. Trim the ends of your mesh by cutting out a triangular piece from each corner a few millimeters away from the groove. Hold the splining roller at a forty five degree angle. Push in the fiberglass mesh and the spline with the curved end of the roller, firmly rolling it downward. Start inserting the material into the sides of the frame before working on the bottom and top. Using your other hand, gently pull the mesh across the sash to make sure that the material is taut. Wrinkles and sags on the screen can be very hard to smoothen once it has been tucked into the frame. Once you reach the end, snip off the spline and tuck it in place. Position your sharp utility knife right above the spline and begin trimming the excess screening material. Reinstall the fixed window screen.

Now that you have your newly fixed fiberglass screen back in place, remember to clean it periodically. Simply rinse the screen with soap and water. For stubborn dirt, very gently scrub it with a soft brush. With the correct maintenance, your window screen will last you six years or more.


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