Screen Spline Removal Problems

Dale Yalanovsky

Unlike the days of old that used aluminum screen on open windows, most modern windows come with vinyl screening. The screen is held in place by a small tubular strip of plastic called a spline, which gets inserted into a groove or a channel along the window frame edge, holding in the vinyl screen securely.

A screened window.

Generally, the only reason to remove the spline is when the screen itself needs to be replaced. Although trouble free in most respects, problems can sometimes arise when taking out the screen spline.

Screen Spline Removal

A screen and spline.

For spline removal, you will have to find the end of the spline material first. The end will have to be pried up to grasp, and a screwdriver or putty knife can be used to get at it. Once the end is up and away from the groove, it can simply be pulled out of the screen itself. This can be done using either fingers or pliers, depending on how solidly the spline is in place.

Once the spline has been removed from the channel, the screen can be taken out, new screen can be cut and fitted, and then once again held into place by the insertion of the screen spline.

Removal Problems

Spline removal.

Over the years of being set in place and holding in the screen, spline can become brittle and crack or deteriorate to the point of melting, which causes it to fuse to the metal frame.

Cracked spline will break and come out in pieces, perhaps dozens of small pieces that need to be dug out of the channel. Every piece must be removed or the new spline that will be inserted will not form a tight seal. Having spline pressed tightly into the channel will make sure that there will be no wrinkles in the screen or possible gaps between the frame and the screen.

Deteriorated spline that has glued itself into the spline channel is more difficult to remove. A knife or utility blade may have to be used to chop the spline up piece by piece, and then you have to pull each piece out.

This is tedious work, but it must be done to allow the new spline to seat itself in the channel and make a firm and solid seal.

Screen Pegs

Spring-loaded screen pegs are made to attach the frame to the actual window frame. These pegs needed to be held back when the original spline was inserted, and will also need to be held back when the old spline is being removed.

Simply grasp the peg by the outer attachment knob, pull it out and hold it so that it clears the screen spline, then remove the spline as you normally would. Once the peg is released, it will snap back to its original position so you can move on to the next one and repeat the procedure.