Screen Repair

All about window screening

Though different variations existed in earlier cultures, modern window screens came into use in the mid-1800s, when a Connecticut inventor named Benjamin Gilbert and his business partner Sturges Bennett began producing metal wire screening for industrial use. Trying to increase sales during the Civil War, Gilbert and Bennett marketed the wire screening for use as window screening.

Many different screening options exist for windows and doors. (Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member Katelyn S. of Cape Coral, Fla.)

Window screens were a breath of fresh air, allowing homeowners to ventilate the house without letting in insects and other unwanted visitors. Now many types of screening exist, and the emphasis on aesthetics is more important. The types of screening include:

• Aluminum

• Fiberglass in almost every color

• Synthetic fiber mesh

Variations of modern screening provide specific benefits for homeowners, including:

• See-through screening for a clear view of the home’s surroundings, especially in picturesque locations

• Tear-resistant screens for homeowners with pets

• Solar screens to block sunlight from fading a home’s décor, lower cooling bills and keep UV rays off one’s skin while indoors

• Retractable screens that roll up when not needed, to provide a better view and increase the screen's lifespan

Professional screen repair

Window screening and screen frames aren’t heavy lifting, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t difficult to replace. Companies that specialize in window screens, or list it in their repertoires, have the tools and expertise to provide a high-quality product quickly.

For larger enclosures and high-quality screening, the price to repair and install screens is higher. (Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member Michael M. of Wesley Chapel, Fla.)

Also, on screened-in patios and porches, the installers likely stapled the screening to the wood framing, then covered the stapled parts with wood trim. This makes the job a little bit more involved. When replacing this type of screen, you may want to have a company tear it out and install screens on metal frames.

For window screens and screen doors, most companies do repair on site, but ask if they offer a discount if you bring the frames to their shop. Many screen repair companies also offer discounts for higher quantities, so it pays to have all your windows re-screened at the same time.

For high-quality fiberglass screening, replacement generally costs around $25 for a standard double-hung window, but the price can dip down to $10 if the homeowner has a high enough quantity. Prices fluctuate greatly, depending on the size and shape of the window, the type of screening and whether the frame needs to be rebuilt. However, some hardware stores will do the job for the cost of the screening, if the homeowner brings the frames into the store.

Screen repair: should you DIY?

For smaller projects, a homeowner might prefer to save a little bit of money by doing the work. The job requires few tools and materials, including: 

Replacing screens can be a DIY job with a few tools an some free time. (Photo by Steve Mitchell)

• Screening

• Utility knife

• Thin flathead screwdriver

• Spline roller tool

• Spline (the rubber cord that holds the screen in place)

• Heavy duty scissors (or something to cut the spline)

Screening can range from $10 to $40 for a 36-inch by 84-inch roll, depending on the quality of the screening. A roll that size should be enough for two average-size windows.

Hardware stores also sell screen patches for small holes. These usually come as 3-inch by 3-inch pieces of sticky screen and cost about $5 for a pack of five. Though they work for a short time, they're only a temporary fix. Eventually, a screen just needs to be replaced.

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