Window screens are not as sturdy as windows (of course), so they need to be replaced fairly often. But how can you tell if a window screen needs to be replaced? And how can you replace window screens yourself?
What to watch for
You will need to replace your window screen if it has been damaged or if it is close to breaking. Inspect the screen carefully, because it might have small holes that you can only see up close. If the corners of the screen look faded, that means it is likely on the verge of breaking away from the frame. If the mesh of the screen is loose, not taut, that is also a sign that it needs to be replaced. The mesh should also be replaced if it looks shiny, as that’s a common sign of age.
How long do window screens last?
Typically a window screen will last around 10 to 15 years if it has minimal exposure to the elements and is cleaned regularly, although geographic location can play a large role in the wear and tear on your screens. In addition, screens can wear out more quickly because of:
If your screen is constantly being hit by sprinklers, or you live in a particularly damp area, it will start to rust sooner than if you live in a dry area. Living near the ocean will take a particularly heavy toll on your screens, because salt spray is corrosive.
Kids or pets:
Pets have a tendency to scratch or push against screens. Kids can also be hard on screens, although it is never advised to let a child near a window screen or open window, especially unattended.
If you are finding yourself taking screens in and out for seasonal reasons, or to simply clean your windows, the screen will get more wear and tear.
How to replace a window screen and frame
If you have purchased a whole new screen, including the frame, you will simply need to remove the old screen and insert the new one. Here's how:
Step 1: Approach the screen from inside the house. Pivot the screen latch clips out of the grooves on the sides of the window frame.
Step 2: Hold the screen latches securely in place as you bring the screen inside.
Step 3: Position the new screen so its handle and latch clips face into the house.
Step 4: Position the new screen in the window frame, and slip the screen latch clips into their grooves. The screen should stay securely in place.
Some windows, like the Pella® Designer Series, require additional steps when installing the window screen. If you have Pella Designer Series windows, follow the instructions above, but align the screen handle sliding connector with the handle which controls the shades or blinds of the window as your final step. These two handles lock together, so you can adjust the blinds using the handle on the screen.
How to repair a window screen
If the frame is in good condition but the mesh part of your screen has a hole in it, you may want to avoid buying a whole new screen. You can repair the screen yourself at home in a few simple steps.
Step 1: Buy a roll of screen material. You need to make sure that the screen material covers the length of the frame, plus two inches on every side. You will also need to buy a length of screen spline, a cord which goes inside the groove of the frame to hold the screen in place. The tools that you will need are scissors, tape, and a screen roller.
Step 2: Roll the screen over the frame, pull it tight, and tape it down.
Step 3: Use a screen roller to push the screen into the channel of the frame.
Step 4: Use the screen roller to push the new screen spline into the channel so the screen will not pop out.
Step 5: Trim off the excess screen material.
Once you have finished repairing the screen, you are ready to install it. To do so, simply follow steps 3 and 4 in the first how-to.
For complete instructions on removing and installing Pella window screens, visit pella.com.