While badly damaged window screens should be replaced entirely by new ones, small patches and holes resulting from small accidents such as pet scratches can be repaired before they get bigger and eventually irreparable. It is not only a sure way to put one’s skills to practice, but it is also an excellent approach towards maintaining your home at a low cost.
Holes that can be replaced are those of up to three inches in diameter. If done properly, the resultant patch is barely visible and can last for years without showing any signs of wear and tear. Holes larger than three inches in diameter are also reparable, but the procedure will leave the window with a large, conspicuous patch that may ruin the appearance of the screen and potentially the entire house.
Below is a step-by-step guide on how to go about a window screen repair procedure without the need for a handyman or any special equipment.
How to Patch Window Screens
The appropriate repair method depends partially on the type of screening on the window. The two main types of screening are metal and vinyl-coated fibreglass. They look fairly similar from a distance, but the softness and pliancy of fibreglass can be detected with closer scrutiny. Metal screening is evidently firmer and stronger, and of course less glittery.
Fibreglass screening is the easier of the two to repair. You only need to push the bulging broken fragments back into position at the centre of the hole and bind the ends with nail polish (either clear or of the same colour as the fibre). It will form a discrete patch but unfortunately it might not last for many years.
For a hole of more than three inches, there are two viable options: either purchase a self-adhesive patch at a hardware outlet for a few dollars or make a patch out of an identical screen.
How to Make Your Own Patch
Firstly, you need to purchase a similar but slightly larger patch screen from a hardware store or home improvement centre. Cut the material so the outer edge is marginally outside the hole, making sure it takes the shape of the patch. To cut fibreglass screening, you can use a pair of household scissors. Aluminum screening calls for the use of tin snips and protective gloves, as the metal edges can be dangerously sharp.
Use clear household cement, which is also readily available in home-improvement centres, to attach your fibreglass patch to the screen. Apply a thin layer of the cement on the part of the patch that will be in contact with the main screen and place it over the hole. Leave it to dry.
To attach a patch of aluminum or any other metal, unstitch the ends of the patch and bend the wires forward at an angle of 90°. Push them through the screen fabric and bend them down to hook the main screen’s fabric. Twine them around and along the traversing wires, ensuring they do not become unnecessarily bulgy and noticeable. Cut the remaining ends with pliers.
Also, you can use a needle and nylon thread to mount the metal patch onto the screen instead of weaving the unravelled ends of the patch into the screen. The only problem with this method is that the patch is bound to become loose with time, especially if it comes into frequent contact with pets and humans, and it may require sporadic reinforcement.
How to Replace a Screen
When a screen is badly damaged with a large irreparable hole in the middle or numerous small ones with fibre or wire edges hanging out in disarray, it looks terrible and it lets bugs in. Replacement is the best option in such cases. Screen replacement is actually easier to do than patching.
First, pry up the moulding frame using a chisel and then disengage the staples underneath (if there are any). Lift off the old screen and use it to measure and cut the replacement screen using tin snips or scissors designed for metal and fibreglass screening respectively. They should be exactly of the same size and shape.
Lay the new screen in place and pin the staples back in place. Put down the moulding over the row of staples and nail it to the main frame.
In the case of non-wood framing, there is a narrow groove running all around the frame into which the screen is tucked. Use a spline roller to stuff the edges into the empty channel.
Use the concave wheel of the spline roller to press the spline back into the channel and lock the fabric firmly in place. Ensure the screen is tight over the frame before trimming off the remaining edges using a utility knife.
A Final Word
As long as the frame isn’t broken or severely damaged, repairing window screens is easy and doesn’t require a lot of time or skill.