Get It Done THE St Louis Handyman “Screening a Door”

Get It Done – can you tell me how I can replace the screen in my sliding screen door?

SLB, Valley Park

Replacing a screen in a sliding door is similar to that of a window and can be easily done.  You’ll need to buy some screen, some spline, and a screening tool to work the spline and screen into the groove of the door or window.

First you have a choice as to what the screen is made of: aluminum or fiberglass.  Each one has its advantages.  The aluminum is slightly stronger, but if someone throws a ball or object against it, it may cause a wrinkle that won’t go away.  While the fiberglass isn’t quite as strong, it is more forgiving when tree limbs or balls hit it.  Although I prefer the fiberglass, each situation is unique.  If you have cats or dogs which scratch the screen, go with the aluminum, or possibly a third choice, pet screening.  Pet screening is great, but it is thicker, and may not fit into the groove of your door.

You’ll also have a choice of coloring:  either silver/aluminum or charcoal/black.  I prefer the charcoal as it doesn’t reflect the glare of the sun.

Before you buy your screen, take the old screening out, along with the rubber spline which holds the screen in.  First, take the door off the track by lifting it up slightly, inserting a screw driver or putty knife under the wheels, then pull the door out from the bottom.  You’ll want to lay the door onto a flat surface such as a deck, driveway, or a basement floor.

Then locate where the ends of the spline meet (or a place where it seems loose) and with needle-nosed pliers pull the spline out.  The old screening can then be lifted off the door frame.

Take a piece of the spline with you to the hardware store, as there are several thicknesses and you want to have the same size.  You will also want to buy the spline tool which lets you roll the spline over the screen and into the groove along the perimeter.  Be sure to measure and take the dimensions of the screen with you.   A few inches should be added to the width and height when purchasing the screen.  You’ll trim off the excess when you’re done installing.

Once you have your supplies you’ll be ready to GET IT DONE.  With the door off and the screen removed, lay the new screen over the frame of the door, overlapping it evenly on all sides.  Starting at one corner, take the spline and spline tool and work the screen and one end of the spline into the groove of the door.  Take your time and be careful not to cut the screen with the tool.  As you work the spline and screen into the groove, make sure that the screen is still somewhat even where it overlays the other sides of the door.  Continue this process all around the door until you reach the starting point.

All you have to do now is take a razor blade tool and cut off the excess screen.  When doing this, be certain to cut above the spline, not under it, or else you’ll be cutting the screen and will have to start all over, with new screen.  When you’re done, reinstall the door, go inside, sit down, and admire your beautiful screen.  You can also feel good knowing that you’re the talented person that made the repair!

Get It Done

THE St Louis Handyman

Steve