How to Remove a Screen Spline

Lead Image
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-50
What You'll Need
Putty knife
Old cloth

The screen in most contemporary storm and screen doors/windows is secured with the help of a screen spline. Most window splines are similar looking with typical, rubber tubing-like structure. The spline is pressed into the groove along the frame of the window or the door at the time of installing the screen. This is the easiest way to lock the window screen in its position. The window/door screen spline may have to be removed for repair or maintenance purposes.

Understanding Spline Removal Problems

Removing the screen spline can be a bit demanding since the spline is compressed deep into the groove of the window. Some typical issues arise, like:

Aged spline poses some typical issues. The old spline can be very vulnerable to cracking due to which it can break into several pieces during removal.

Pulling too hard at the spline can also compromise the setting of the groves along which the screen is set.

In hotter regions, the spline often melts and fuses along the edges of the screen which can make the entire process tedious.

If the spline isn't removed comprehensively, small bits of the rubber tubing can get permanently embedded within the frame, making it difficult to install new screen or spline.

However, spline removal can be appropriately done at home using basic, household tools and the following information.

Step 1 - Identify Spline Removal Point

To ensure that the screen or spline is not damaged during the removal, identify the ending of the spline. The ending of the spline is easily visible due to its slightly thicker edges. This is the only location along the spline’s length that is a bit vulnerable with a slightly-accessible underside.

Step 2 - Edge-out Spline

Using the tip of a screwdriver, try to access the underside of the spline. With some force, try to lift-up the spline, pushing it outwards from its groove. Push-out about 20 inches of the spline material. This is vital since you need to have a handful of spline to pull its remaining length.

Step 3 - Pull-out Spline

Person installing screen spline

You need to pull-out the spline with extreme care. There are two options for getting a better grip. You can either wrap some dry cloth along the edged-out part of the spline or use pliers. Pull-out the spline slowly to avoid breaking it into small pieces. If you plan to re-use the spline, don’t stretch it. Stretching can alter the length of the spline, making it extremely difficult to push it back into the groove.

Step 4 - Handle Screen Pegs

Some of the modern storm doors and windows have a spring-loaded system wherein screen pegs are found along the frame. You don’t have to disassemble the pegs. Since the pegs are spring-loaded, they can be stretched easily. Using a plier, grasp the top-end of the peg and pull it. Maintain the grasp as you pull-out the spline in the manner explained above.

Step 5 - Examine Spline Groove

Aged splines are prone to some weathering along the edges. Due to this, small bits of the rubber spline often get embedded within the groove. Use a putty knife to scoop out these bits.