How to Replace Screened-In Porch Screens

Having a screened in porch is a perfect way to enjoy warm evenings outside in the summer without the problem of biting mosquitoes or other insects. If one of your screens gets holes or sustains other damage, you will need to remove and replace it. This home repair project is fairly easy, and knowing how to perform screened-in porch repairs will save you the expense of hiring someone one else to do the same thing.

What You Will Need:

  • Replacement screen panel
  • Measuring tape
  • Screen patching material (optional)  
  • Mallet 
  • Paint (optional) 
  • Cutting shears
  • Utility knife
  • Thin plywood strips
  • Spline material
  • Spline roller
  • Wood screws
  • Duct tape

Step 1 -- Patch Small Holes

If your screen has only small holes, these can be patched without your having to remove and replace the entire screen. If your screened-in porch did not come with extra screen patching material, you can purchase screening material that comes with instructions for weaving it over each hole and into the existing screen. These are available at most hardware supply stores. If your screen has more serious damage beyond a few small holes, skip ahead to step 2. 

Step 2 -- Detach Old Screen

Screens for screened-in porches are usually installed as separate panels onto a wood frame, and each panel is secured in place with clamps or similar metal holders. These holders should detach along with the screen panel, though with older screens you may have to gently pry the holders loose with the flat end of a small screwdriver.

Step 3 -- Clean and Paint Wood Frame

Inspect the wood frame of your screened-in porch for any minor damage, and clean any debris that may have built up in the tracks where the screen holders fit. Touch up any areas with paint if this is needed, and allow at least a few hours of drying time before attaching your new screen panel.

Step 4 -- Fit Replacement Screen

Before selecting your replacement screen panel, you will need to measure dimensions of the inner wood frame to ensure the screen will fit correctly. Note the frame length and width, then add 1 inch to each of these; this is how your replacement screen material should measure.

Step 5 -- Add Plywood Fittings

Cut 4 pieces of thin plywood to be fitted over the edges of the screening material; these are an alternative to reusing the metal clamps from your old screen because those do not always fit securely enough with a new screen panel. Clamp the edges of your screening material between the plywood strips and the wood frame on all four sides, and then attach both in place with the wood screws.

Step 6 -- Attach Spline and Trim Screen

A building spline for this project is a piece of thin, flexible wood or metal that you will need to fit into the narrow gap between the plywood strips and the outer sides of the porch's wood frame. Use the spline roller to push it firmly in place in this groove, and make sure it is fitted evenly with no part of the spline sticking out. Once this is done, use your utility knife to trim off any excess screening material on the outer edges.