How to Install a Screen Spline

A screen spline is a piece of rubber that pushes screening into a channel in a frame to hold the screen in position in the frame. Choose the right size spline for the frame, or the spline may be too tight to fit into the spline channel or too loose to hold the screen in place. The only special tool required for this project is a spline tool. This is a tool with a concave roller on one side and a convex roller on the other end.

A properly installed spine keeps pests out of your house.
  1. Remove the old screen and spline. Locate the end of the spline and pry it up with a small screwdriver. Pull the spline out of the channel, and pull the screen out after removing the spline. Pull slowly and firmly so you do not bend the screen frame.

  2. Place the screen frame on a sturdy work table. Tape the frame down so it does not move while installing the new screen spline. Place tape on all sides but make sure you do not cover the spline channel.

  3. Lay the screening over the opening for the screen so it overhangs the spline channel by at least an inch on all sides. Trim with scissors as needed to make it easier to install the spline. Do not cut the screen too small, or there may not be enough screen to install the screen beneath the spline on both sides.

  4. Push the end of the spline into a corner with a screwdriver so the spline is laying over one of the longest two sides of the frame.

  5. Place the spline tool with the convex end over the spline where it is pressed in at the corner. Hold the screen carefully, and firmly press the spline into the spline channel with the spline tool. Keep the screen straight by adjusting the screening so the spline is pressed into the same column all the way down the screen. Stop when you get about 2 inches from the corner.

  6. Cut from the corner of the excess screen (the screen overhanging the frame) on an angle to the corner of the frame where the spline will press into next. Do not cut the screen all the way into the spline channel, leave about 1/4 inch uncut. This is just to keep the screening from buckling while turning the corner.

  7. Use the spline tool to push the spline the last 2 inches to the corner. Use a small screwdriver to push the spline into the corner and around to the other side.

  8. Repeat the process for the other three sides. Press the spline into the spline channel following the same column of the screening, stop and clip the corner with scissors and then press the spline into the corner with the screwdriver.

  9. Cut off the excess spline after installing the spline in the last side so the spline is tight into the starting corner.

  10. Use a new blade in a utility knife to trim the screen on the frame side of the spline channel.


  • Trim the screen with the utility knife carefully to prevent cutting the spline.
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