Fixing mesh screens: a practical guide

Whether on a door or window,  it always seems that flies and insects know exactly where the hole is on a screen and head straight for it. That's why you can never mend it too fast! Here's a practical guide to fixing mesh screens.

Fixing mesh screens: a practical guide

Repairing holes and tears in fibreglass mesh and metal screens can be less costly than replacing the whole screen. Here's a practical guide to working with these types of screens.

Tiny holes
You can seal tiny holes in a metal screen with a few drops of waterproof glue, such as epoxy. To repair a slightly larger hole, measure it and cut a patch from the same material, allowing an overlap of about 3 cm ( 1 1/4 in).

  • Unweave each edge of the patch for about 1 cm (1/2 in), then bend the wires at right angles to the patch.
  • Push the patch into the hole and bend the strands against the screen.
  • Sew the patch in place with nylon thread and seal with a few coats of clear nail polish.

Larger holes
If a tear or hole in a screen is less than 10 cm (4 in) away from the edge of the frame, it's better to replace the screen than to patch it.

  • Larger holes are easily fixed using an inexpensive self-adhesive mesh screen patch kit.
  • Cut two identical patches that will overlap the hole by about 2 cm (about 1 in).
  • Remove the screen and centre the hole and the underside patch on a block of wood.
  • Press the upperside patch for a few moments and you're done.

Match the metal
If you are replacing metal screens, make sure you choose screens made of the same metal as the frames (unless the frames are made of lumber).

Lumber frames
If your screens have lumber frames with mitered corners, screw a metal brace to the back of each corner to reinforce them.

Quick cleaning
The best (and easiest) way to keep mesh screens clean is to run a vacuum over them from time to time.

  • If your mesh needs more thorough cleaning, use warm, soapy water and a soft brush.

A thorough washing
A good spring cleaning is necessary to keep your window screens in good shape.

  • Lean dirty screens against a wall and dampen them with fine spray from a hose.
  • Then, gently scrub both sides with a scrubbing brush or sponge dipped in hot, soapy water.
  • Hose down, and leave your screens to dry.

What you will need

  • Screen rolling tool
  • Screen material (metal or fibreglass mesh)
  • Spline
  • Utility knife
  • Small clamps (optional)

1. Remove the old screen

  • Using the hook at the end of your screen rolling tool, ease out the old spline holding the screen in place.
  • Discard the old spline, since the material splines are made of get hard and brittle and should not be reused.
  • Remove and discard the old screen.

2. Clamp the mesh

  • Lay the new screen over the frame, allowing an overlap of 2.5 cm (1 in).
  • If you've never replaced a screen before, you'll find it a lot easier if you clamp the new material to one of the short sides of the frame.

3. Spline the new screen

  • Begin installing the new spline at a corner on the side opposite to the clamps.
  • Use your screen rolling tool to push the spline and screen material into the groove around the edge of the frame.

4. Work the corners

  • Continue around the frame.
  • If wrinkles or bulges appear in the mesh, remove the spline and try again.
  • Small wrinkles should vanish as you near your starting point.
  • As you near a corner, cut your screening at a 90 degree angle to that corner.

5. Trim excess mesh

  • Using a utility knife with a sharp new blade, trim off any excess screening material.
  • A dull blade will pull the material, rather than cut it.
  • Cut with the blade on top of the spline and pointed towards the outside of the frame.

Follow this practical guide to fixing mesh screens, and you'll be able to easily fix and replace damaged mesh screens.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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