Do It! How to Replace a Torn Window Screen

Replacing the screen wire in a window screen that has become damaged or torn isn’t difficult to do, though it does require an inexpensive tool called a spline roller that’s available at home improvement centers.

To replace the screen wire in a window screen:

    1. Remove the screen frame from the window.
    2. Starting from one end, use pliers to pull out the rubber spline that holds the screen in the frame.
    3. Remove the damaged screen wire from the frame.
    4. Cut a piece of new screening several inches larger than the frame.
    5. Press the screen wire into the groove in the frame using the convex end of a spline roller tool.
    6. Position the rubber spline at one corner of the frame groove, and press the spine firmly down into the groove using the concave end of the spline tool.
    7. Press the spline into all four sides of the screen frame groove, working any wrinkles out of the screen.
    8. Use a sharp utility knife to remove the excess screening even with the outer edge of the spine groove.
    9. Place the screen back in the window, and secure it in place.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information


Begin replacing a torn window screen by removing the rubber spline that holds the screen in the frame with a pair of pliers. Cut a new piece of screen an inch or so larger than the frame on all sides. Beginning in a corner, press the screen into the frame channel by pushing the spline down into it. A spline roller will be really helpful for this.

When one side is done, pull the screen tight across the frame, and press in the opposite side. Then do the same on the remaining edges, keeping out the wrinkles. Finally trim off the excess screen with a utility knife.


  1. I had a burning plastic smell in my bedroom and couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. I thought it was the curtains but upon further investigation it was the window screens! The sun beats down on this window and It made the whole apartment smell. The window was only 4 years old. They are fiberglass screens is there another material that wont break down and smell?


  2. I am in the process of replacing 32 window screens on my house. Where do you recommend buying the material in bulk?

    • Hi, Barbara, features home improvement advice from the nationally syndicated TV show “Today’s Homeowner” and its experts.
      We don’t sell construction products on this website, but we encourage checking your local home center or a wholesale distributor for these materials.
      Good luck, and thanks for your question!

  3. I have a wooden screen door that I am replacing the screen in. I just refurbished using wood filler where my dog had scratched the corner of the door past the wooden dowel inside the door. I have also put wood primer paint and then regular paint on the door. It looks great. So after I put in my new screen how do I trim the one inch of border screen left over without damaging the wood with my utility blade?

    • Hi, Douglas,
      The process wouldn’t be much different from this window-screen project.
      Just use a sharp utility knife to remove the excess screening, ensuring it’s even with the outer edge of the spine groove. The knife should cut into the seam, and there should be no damage.
      Good luck!


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