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Replacing Your Window Screen

Jan 19th 2017

A big aspect of being a homeowner is fixing stuff. Your garbage disposal stops working. The drain in the bathtub gets clogged. The carpeting gets frayed. The screens on your windows are no different, and since they generally aren’t designed to be terribly strong, they’ll need to be replaced from time to time. First, how do you know you need a replacement window screen?

Obviously, if the screen has a massive hole, or if the frame has been severely bent, then, yes, it needs to be swapped out. But let’s look at the bigger risks to screens, then we’ll talk about smaller details to bear in mind.

The Life of a Window Screen

On average, a window screen will last somewhere between 10-15 years. That’s assuming it’s cleaned on a regular basis and has minimal exposure to the elements. Also, the area you live in and weather patterns can have an effect. Along with that, let’s look at some of the most common reasons for damage.

  • Water is not a friend to your window screen. For example, if you’re home is located in an area with high humidity and lots of damp weather, the frame can start rusting faster than if you’re in an arid and dry place. If you live next to the ocean, the salt in the seawater can be a problem since salt is corrosive.
  • Sure, we love our pets. The problem is, pets and screens are a lousy mix. Cats look at screens as just a conveniently located scratching post, while dogs can scratch or nudge screens to try to get outside.
  • We also love our kids, but kids excel at accidentally damaging stuff, and screens are no exception. Remember, a window screen that’s loose or missing entirely can be highly dangerous.
  • It’s hard to avoid, but your screens will also sustain damage if they are removed fairly regularly for cleaning or for seasonal issues.

From time to time, take a moment to inspect your screen. In particular, look for:

  • Small holes that are only visible up close
  • If the corners of the screen seem to be faded, that’s a sign that the screen is close to breaking off from the frame itself.
  • If the mesh on the screen is loose, instead of its normal tautness.
  • If the mesh looks shiny, which is a regular sign that it’s aging.

Replacing the Screen

Sooner or later, you’ll need to swap out the screen. If you’re not the handiest person on the planet, that’s okay! The process is easier than you might think, and only takes a few minutes.

  1. From the indoor side of the screen, move the screen latch clips out of the grooves found along the side of the window frame.
  2. Bring the screen inside, but as you’re doing so, make sure to securely hold the screen latches in place.
  3. Set up the new screen so that the latch clips and handle are facing inside the house.
  4. Slip the screen into the window frame, and make sure the screen latch clips slip into the grooves in the side of the window frame. At this point, the screen should be in place securely.