How to Replace an Aluminum Window Screen

Lead Image for How to Replace an Aluminum Window Screen
  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 40-50
What You'll Need
Aluminum screen
Splining roller
Pliers or an Awl
Scissors strong enough to cut the material

Replacing an aluminum window screen is a relatively simple task if you know what you are doing. It is also an important skill to have, especially if you have kids or pets. You will have to buy the new aluminum screen at a home center or hardware store, but if you can install the screen yourself, you will still end up saving quite a bit of money.

Remove the Frame and Place it on the Work Surface

The first step is to take the aluminum frame with the screen still inside and place it on your work surface. This will let you prepare to remove the screening stably.

Pry the Spine of the Screen out of the Back of the Framing

Use pliers or a carpenter’s awl to pry the spine of the screening out of the back of the framing. You may need to use a screwdriver to help you if the screening is lodged in too tightly.

You should also check the aluminum frame here. If the frame looks brittle or damaged, you will have to go back to the hardware store to replace it.

Lift out the Damaged Screen and Clean the Spline groove

If you have pried the spline correctly, you should easily be able to lift out the damaged screen. After you have lifted out the screen, use the tip of a screwdriver or awl to clean out any grit found in the spline’s groove.

Lay the New Screen Over the Spline and Cut the Screen at a 45 Degree Angle Over the Corner

You should now be ready to lay a new sheet of the aluminum screen over the spline. Make sure that this sheet overlaps the groove by at least 1/8 inch on all four sides. You will also want to make a 45-degree incision just outside the outer edge of the spline groove.

Roll the Splining Roller on the Spline’s Groove

This step is crucial to ensuring that the aluminum screen will remain tightly attached to the aluminum frame. First, take the convex end of the roller and roll on the spline’s groove at a 45-degree angle, pressing down firmly. Next, take the concave end of the roller and do the same thing, making sure to bend the corners so you can install the fabric in one smooth piece.

Trim Away Excess Screen

The final step is a finishing touch that will help make your job look professional. Use a pair of scissors to cut the fabric between the groove and the outer edge of the frame. Make sure to use the scissors slowly so you don’t remove the tightness of the fabric. If done correctly, the aluminum frame should look as good as new.