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How to Replace a Window Screen: Materials and Steps (2024)

Written by Ashlyn Needham , Edited by Gianna Cappuccio

Published on July 9, 2024


How to Replace a Window Screen: Materials and Steps (2024)

Window screens cost, on average, $41 to $74 to replace yourself. Learn how to do so with our expert guide.

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Window screens are an essential part of any window for ventilation and allowing fresh air in. When screens begin to wear, they can become unsightly to your exterior’s aesthetics and allow unwanted bugs.

Replacing your own window screens is entirely doable and a fairly easy home improvement task homeowners can complete in a few steps as a DIY project. It’s also more cost-effective than repairing other parts of a window, like glass. In this guide, we’re teaching you all you need to know about repairing damaged screens and how to do it in six easy steps. 

Hire a local pro to replace your window screens

Key takeaways

  • Signs you may need to replace your window screen include holes and rips, faded fabric material, bugs getting in your home, or screens that have been inserted for more than 12 years. 

  • The average cost to replace a window screen is around $44 to $100 per window, depending on whether you complete the project or hire a professional. 

  • Window screen replacement is a very beginner-friendly DIY home improvement project.

How to replace a window screen: a step-by-step guide

Does your window screen need a replacement? Follow these simple steps to replace the screen mesh in your windows.

1. Gather materials and supplies

Replacing your window screen is generally an easy DIY, beginner-friendly project. You just need a couple of materials and tools before you begin, such as:

Remove the screen from the window. This is generally easy to do in fiberglass windows with the help of the tabs that loosen the frame from the track. Once the frame is removed, set it aside and clean out the inside of the window and the frame if it’s dirty.

After cleaning the frame, you will need to remove the old screen with your screwdriver. Start by laying your frame on a flat surface. Then, take the screwdriver to the perimeter of the screen and pry the spline off the sides.

Some windows will have the spline stapled (this is true if you have wooden windows), so you will need to use the staple remover instead of the screwdriver for this step. 

Once the spline is removed, you can remove all the mesh screening from the frame. 

2. Size and cut new screen mesh

Screen mesh being rolled over a window frameStart measuring for your new screen. Take the fresh roll, unwind it over the frame after putting it on a flat work surface, pull the screen long enough to overlap the edge of the frame, and then cut the roll. Remember to leave excess screen hanging over the sides that you can cut later so that when you secure the screen, it remains tight.

Pro tip

Before you size and cut the new window screen, place the fiberglass or vinyl window frame on a flat surface. To make things easier and ensure that the frame does not move or slide while you're sizing the frame, tape the edges of the frame to the flat surface. Just make sure that the tape doesn't go over any portion of the spline groove.

3. Secure screen panel with new spline

Stretch the roll of spline over your window and work it into the groove all the way around the frame. Next, pick up your spline tool and firmly roll the spline into the grooves. If you’re working with wooden windows instead of fiberglass, you will need to use a stapler or nails to keep the screen in place.

Pro tip

When securing the new spline and screen onto your window frame, you want to ensure that the screen does not sag or bow in any spot. To help maintain the tension in the screen, try placing a brick or similar heavy object in the middle before installing the last two sides. While this step is not always required, it can be helpful if you are struggling with maintaining the screen's tension.

4. Trim excess material

If you roll out the extra window screen, there should be excess material hanging off the sides at this point. Use a utility knife or scissors to cut away the excess material, being careful not to cut the spline.

5. Place the new screen

Now, reinstall your frame to the window and enjoy the breeze through your fresh screen.

Cost to replace a window screen

Replacing torn screen costs, on average, $41 to $74 for the screen itself, not counting other supplies. Replacing a window screen is an easy home improvement project that doesn’t necessarily require help from a professional, but you can go that route for an average of $55 to $100. To do it yourself costs, on average, $44 to $80.

Find a local window expert today

DIY vs. hiring a pro

As we mentioned, replacing damaged screens can be a DIY home improvement project or completed by a pro. Here are a few factors to consider if you’re trying to decide to replace the screen material yourself or with the help of a pro:

  • Job satisfaction: Window screens (when inserted correctly) should be inserted taught in the frames. While this is easy to do, professionals can get the job done on the first attempt instead of risking having to reinstall the screen over and over. 

  • Budget: Window screen replacement is one of the cheapest home improvement projects, but if you don’t have special tools like professional installers, this is an added expense you must prepare for. 

  • Time: Replacing window screens doesn’t take long unless you’re repairing multiple windows at once. If you don’t have time for the project, leaving it up to the pros might be best. 

Replacing window screens: the bottom line

If you start noticing wear and tear within your screens (holes and tears), it’s time to give them a full replacement. The good news is that this home improvement task is straightforward and can be done DIY. On average, you can expect to spend $44 to $80 if you do it yourself for the screen material and other tools you need. Hiring a professional costs $55 to $100 since you will have to pay for labor costs. 

Frequently asked questions

Window screens are very easy to replace on your own, making them the perfect project for all DIYers. All you need is a handful of materials, including a screwdriver, new screen mesh, and spline. Start by removing the old spline with a screwdriver before pulling out the old mesh and discarding it. Measure out a new screen that fits the length of your window frame before securing it with new mesh, spline, and a spline roller.

Yes, it's possible to change your window screen from the inside. Lay your window frame on a flat surface, like a table, before measuring and cutting new mesh to fit your frame and securing it with a spline.

There are three standard sizes of window screens: 18” x 14”, 18” x 18”, and 20” x 20”. Since window screens do not fit the entire window, just the sash, these three sizes usually accommodate most window sizes, though it is possible to need a different measurement.

The best way to measure windows accurately is from the outside. Check out our article for instructions on how to accurately measure windows.

Written by

Ashlyn Needham Content Specialist

Ashlyn is a freelance writer with 8 years of experience writing interior design, DIY, and renovation content. Her work has appeared in multiple publications including The Spruce, Southern Living, House Beautiful, Fixr, and more.