Is Patio Rescreening a DIY Project?

by Dollar Stretcher Contributors

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DIY Rescreening

All of our patio screens are worn and mildewed and many are torn. We just got an estimate to get the patio rescreened and we simply cannot afford the cost. Is rescreening a patio a DIY job? I assume we'll need a few special tools? And is it tricky to get the screens rolled in properly so they are tight? If we cannot do this project ourselves, we might just opt for pulling out all the old screens and having an "open" patio for now, but I'd prefer screen to minimize the bugs.

Rescreening Is Not Difficult

Rescreening is not very difficult. Be prepared to place screens on a stable surface, such as sawhorses. Purchase screen fabric, spline, and a spline tool. Work with someone. Check online for instructions. Even ask where you purchase materials. You'll find it not difficult to do quite a presentable job. Rehang your screens and enjoy.

I've Done My Own!

It is one of the easiest DIY jobs this senior citizen has tackled. It requires few tools. I use nylon pet screen. You need replacement spine if it is in need of replacement, but often times, you can reuse the spline already there if it is in good shape. You'll also need the inexpensive spline tool roller as well as scissors or a razor blade. After I was charged $45 a few years back to have it done "professionally," I embarked on doing the next one and have since done all my windows and done it for friends as well. You need a flat surface (the driveway is what I used). I have only used the nylon screen. I don't know the ease of using aluminum screen, but from my own experience, aluminum tears and is subject to sun exposure destruction. It's a very rewarding DIY job.
Catherine in Illinois

It's a "DIY-able" Job

Rescreening is a DIY-able job. A hardware store or Amazon can supply you with screen, roller, and the cord. YouTube has videos on rescreening. A second person makes the job easier and faster. Be sure to allow time to do it well so the screen doesn't come loose. It will look like new.

Detailed How-To

Check the current patio screens. If you look carefully, you will find that the screen is held in by a rubber or plastic tubing. There is a small tool that helps you set the screening in place. Take down the patio screens first. Measure the screens and cut your new screen, leaving a two-inch excess all the way around. Pull it as taut as you can and insert the tubing. It should go in pretty smoothly. The hardest part will be taking them down and putting them back in place. Our patio doors have been done dozens of time from the kids not remembering the screen is in place. Our kids are now expert screen repairers.

Be Careful When Sizing the Screen

I rescreened one of the sections on my patio and was very amazed at how easy it was after my initial trepidation. I got a roller tool called a "screen mouse" that was essential and made the job simple. I used painter's tape to hold the screen in place. I put the stripping in and then went over it again very firmly to make sure it was in place tightly. I used a flat-head screwdriver to push the corners in. It is important not to trim the screen too small initially. Leave a few inches all around and trim to size when you are finished. You will have a better idea after the first one just how much gets taken up in the insertion process. If you can take some of the old stripping with you to the store, you can make sure you get the correct size.
CH in Florida

DIY and Save Big Bucks

Yes, it is a DIY project! There is a lovely little tool to use when re-screening that has little wheels on each end. One pushes the screen into the groove and the other side has an indent that helps you put the spline down in the groove. You can buy this roller tool where they keep the screen and spline. You need to know what size spline to buy, so take your screen apart before heading to the store. The instructions say to buy new spline, but if it is still pliable, you might be able to reuse it. We have re-screened our patio door and many of our screens over the years. It may take a little practice, but it really is an easy thing to do. It would have cost us close to $40 to get our patio door rescreened but we did it for much, much less.

Help Is Available at Home Improvement Stores

This is a fairly simple and inexpensive DIY project. The tool to get the screen into the frames is called a splining tool. There are different ones depending on the frame. Go to a major home improvement store like Home Depot or Lowes. If possible, take along one of the screen panels. The employees will be most helpful about telling you what you need and how to do it.


Step-By-Step to New Screens

Rescreening is very much a DIY project. The big box stores (Home Depot and Lowes) have kits to do this. However, if you have a lot, it is much cheaper to buy a roll of screening. The tools are inexpensive. A roller to put the rubber back in is a must. Save what you can from the old screen to help defray costs. You can usually save the rubber from old ones. If screen is just mildewed, it can be washed.

  1. Carefully remove rubber from old screen.
  2. Remove screening.
  3. Clean the frames, especially where screening goes.
  4. Perform any touch up painting needed on frames.
  5. Cut new screen to size, making one to two inches longer all around.
  6. Place screen in frame.
  7. Insert rubber. Start at one corner and work your away around, keeping screen taut as you go.
  8. Trim off excess screen.
  9. Stand back and be proud!


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