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How to Build a Window Screen Replacement

Follow these instructions to create a complete replacement for a damaged window screen.

More in Windows Walls and Doors

Step 1: Cut the Metal Frame Stock

Screen-frame stock can be purchased in most home centers and is fairly inexpensive.

Begin by cutting the metal frame-stock using a hack saw and miter-box (Image 1). To save time and ensure uniform lengths, you can cut two lengths of stock together at the same time. Cut the equally long top and bottom pieces together, then the two identical side-pieces. The lengths of frame can be cut straight with no need for miter cuts since the corners of the frame are joined together with L-shaped corner clips (Image 2).

Step 2: Install the Corner Clips

Slide the corner clips into the ends of the frame stock.

slide corner clips into ends of frame stock

Step 3: Choose a Screen Material Type


  • Vinyl cloth or fiberglass are the most durable types of screen mesh and come in a variety of colors and shades.

  • Aluminum screens provide excellent visibility, but are subject to damage.

  • Solar fiberglass screens cut down on the amount of UV rays and sunlight and are great for protecting furniture or wall-to-wall carpet. This type of screen is more expensive than others.

In this demonstration, we used fiberglass mesh.

Step 4: Lay the New Screen Mesh Over the Frame

Once you've cut and assembled the frame, you're ready to install the screening wire. Lay the screen mesh over the frame, and use clamps to secure it and hold it flat and tight while you work. If the material has come from a roll and is not perfectly flat, lay it on the screen concave-side down.

use clamps to secure mesh and hold it flat

Step 5: Press the Spline into the Frame

The screen is held in the frame by spline material, also available at home stores. Unspool a length of spline and install it by pressing it into the frame's groove using a rolling spline-tool. Gently pull the spline tight with one hand as you carefully press it into the groove with the roller. Be careful not to allow the roller to slip out of the groove as it could damage the screen mesh.

use rolling spline tool to install spline in frame

Step 6: Press the Spline Into the Corners

Upon reaching the corners of the frame where the roller won't reach, use a flat-head screwdriver to press the spline into the corner (Image 1) and continue on with the spline tool (Image 2). As the spline goes into the groove, it helps pull the screen taut. Always work in the same direction with the roller -- don't back the wheel up.

Step 7: Trim the Spline and Excess Screen Mesh

When you have installed spline all the way around the frame and come back to the starting point, trim the spline to length using a utility knife. Also use the utility knife to trim off the excess screen mesh from the outside of the frame. Allow the blade to ride along the outside of the frame's groove to ensure a straight, clean cut.

trim spline to length using utility knife

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