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Honey Do List: Spring screening

Spring cleaning means spring screening. Torn window screen will let all kinds of critters in, so here are a few tips for replacing window screen.

The spline is the rubber tube that is pressed around the perimeter of the screen. Use the point of a utility knife to pry out one end of the spline. Grasp the end and pull slowly to remove it, and then pull out the old screen. The spline should probably be replaced. Cut off a short piece and carry it to the store so you’ll get the right size.

Choose a screen material (aluminum or fiberglass), and be sure it matches the color of the other windows. Although you may be able to buy screening by the foot, you may save money in the long run by buying a roll. It’s also not at all unusual for a beginner to accidentally tear the new screen during installation, so having a roll may save another trip to the store; and you’ll have some on hand for future repairs.

Just make sure the roll that you buy is wide enough for all the windows, not just the one you happen to be working on now.

Lay the new screen over the sash so it overlaps all sides at least one inch. Cut the screening with shears, or lay it over a piece of scrap lumber and cut through it with a sharp utility knife.

If you are repairing more than one screen and one is larger than another, do the large one first. Then, if you accidentally cut the screen when rolling it into place, you can roll out some new material for a second try and save the damaged piece for the smaller screen.

If you are using aluminum screening, roll the screen into the channel on one side of the sash using the convex wheel of your screen roller/installation tool. Place the palm of your hand in the center of the screen to keep it from shifting.

Roll lightly at first, and then more firmly to press in the screen in stages; otherwise, you may cut it. Complete one side at a time and then roll in the spline by pressing it over the screen and into the channel beginning about one inch from one corner. Then use the concave side of the roller to press completely into the channel.

Roll lightly at first to press the spline into the channel gradually. Rolling too hard tends to stretch the spline and increases the risk of having the roller slip off of the spline and cut the new screening. If you are using fiberglass screening, simultaneously roll the screen and spline into the channel in this step.

As you near each corner with the spline, use shears or a utility knife to make a diagonal relief cut from the outside corner of the overlapping screening toward the inside corner of the sash. This is one place where “cutting corners” is wise. It prevents the screen (especially aluminum) from bunching up in the corner as you press it in place.

The roller can’t quite roll all the way into a corner, so use the tip of a standard screwdriver to press in the spline at the corners.

Use a utility knife to cut off the excess screening when the rolling is complete. To avoid accidentally cutting into the new screen, angle the blade outward and move slowly and steadily. Hold the frame securely with your second hand, but keep it a safe distance away from the cutting.

Reinstall the screen frame into its channel, and you are done. Remember, help is just around the corner at your local hardware store.

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