Not hard to replace screens

October 21, 2007|By Nzong Xiong | Nzong Xiong,McClatchy-Tribune

Screen doors and dogs usually don't mix. You know the scene: Jake wants out, gets impatient for the door to open and charges through the screen.

Yes, parents, we hear you, too. Screens and toddlers also don't mix.

Luckily, screens on windows or patio doors are easy to replace.

"You've got to have a nice flat surface, but it's not hard to do," says David Rerich, who does many of the replacement-screen orders at Fresno, Calif., Ag Hardware.

Tools you'll need include a pair of scissors or a utility knife, a tape measure and a splining tool, which is a handle with a wheel at each end. You'll also need new screening.

Screens are made from fiberglass or aluminum, and they usually come in gray or silver colors. If you have pets, you might opt for a thicker-than-average fiberglass weave. And if you're looking for protection from the sun, choose a black fiberglass screen with a tight weave.

Screens are sold in rolls at local home-improvement and hardware stores.

To replace a screen, remove the rubber cord imbedded in a groove or channel around the perimeter of the frame. The cord, called the spline, holds the screen in place. Splines can be different diameters, so if you need a new one, be sure to know the size.

"If you're going to use a thicker screen, you need to go with a smaller spline or it's going to be hard to get it in there," says Mike Dueck, the assistant manager in the millwork department at Lowe's in Fresno.

Once the old screen is off, measure the frame and cut the size you need, leaving about an extra inch of material on all sides. Place the new screen over the frame, then, using the spline tool, insert the spline on top of the screen and into the channel.

"As you go along, pull and tighten the screen as necessary," Dueck says.

When you're done, trim off the excess screen.

Window kits with all the supplies you need (except for the splining tool) also are available. They start at less than $15 at Lowe's or The Home Depot.

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