How to Re-Screen Windows & Doors

Screen doors are common in many American homes, but how a screen is held in place on a screen door or window may be a mystery to you.
You do not need to spend extra money having someone else repair your screen door or windows. The process of replacing the screen is simple, and when you get done doing your own you may be able to make a few dollars fixing screen doors and windows for others.

Step 1

Remove the screen frame from the window. This process differs depending on the manufacturer of your window frame. In some cases you will see small pins sticking out of the screen frames. If you pull on those pins, you can remove the frame. In other cases the frames have brackets behind them that are held into place with a screw. If you are unsure of how to remove the screen frame, contact the manufacturer of the window frame which should be printed on the frame.

Step 2

Lay the screen frame on a flat surface large enough for the whole frame. Corners hanging over the edge of a table are unacceptable. Lay the frame with the side that faces the outdoors face down on the flat surface.

Step 3

Analyze the frame and you will see a small channel with a gray tube in it. This tube is called the retaining spline. Using a flat-head screwdriver, pop the retaining spline up and pull it out of the channel.

Step 4

Carefully remove the screen cloth. The edges may be sharp, so avoid cutting yourself.

Step 5

Wipe the frame down with a dry cloth, including inside the retaining spline channel. Remove as much debris as possible.

Step 6

Lay new screen cloth over the frame.

Step 7

Spread the screen over the frame until it is tight, then cut the screen cloth to a size that allows for 1/4 inch of cloth outside the retaining spline channel. Be careful with this step--the screen must be tight, and the cut must be as exact as possible. You may want to get a helper with this step to hold the frame while you hold the screen and cut.

Step 8

Using the sharp wheel on a screening tool, slowly work the screen cloth into the retaining spline channel.

Step 9

Lay new retaining spline in the spline channel and use the concave wheel on the screening tool to work the spline into the channel. Make sure the spline is tight in the channel and the screen remains in place on the frame. Once you go once around the frame and meet up with the starting point of the spline, cut the spline and finish it into place.

Things You Will Need

  • Flat-head screwdriver
  • Dry towel
  • Screen cloth
  • Screening tool
  • Retaining spline
  • Utility knife


  • Screen cloth is easy to work with, so do not get frustrated if you do not get it to look the way you want the first time you try. Screen cloth and spline are inexpensive.

About the Author

George N. Root III began writing professionally in 1985. His publishing credits include a weekly column in the "Lockport Union Sun and Journal" along with the "Spectrum," the "Niagara Falls Gazette," "Tonawanda News," "Watertown Daily News" and the "Buffalo News." Root has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the State University of New York, Buffalo.