How to Cut Window Screen
If you’re a homeowner, you run a window screen business, or you manufacture window screen, chances are you’ll need to repair, cut, or replace these screens. Having tools that easily and safely cut fiberglass screen material, such as the Slice® 10554 Auto-Retractable Utility Knife, make this routine home repair project quicker, easier, and safer. If you prefer a slimmer handle, the 10513 Manual Pen Cutter performs equally well, as demonstrated in the video. Both of these tools use our finger-friendly® blades that help protect you from injury.
Knowing how to cut window screen is a very handy skill to have, whether you’re a homeowner, a professional, or a manufacturer. As with any job, having the right tools makes it easier. But Slice® cutting tools, with our finger-friendly® blades, also make this routine home repair safer.
Window Screen Replacement Tools and Materials
Replacing window screens doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does require some specific tools to accomplish this home repair:
- Flat-Head Screwdriver
- Utility Knife
- Spline Tool
Screen Replacement Materials
Screen material is, generally, either aluminum or fiberglass. Aluminum is more durable, but it’s harder to work with and more easily damaged. Fiberglass has become the screen material of choice, for most applications, as it is more transparent.
Screening mesh comes in window screen rolls that range in widths from 24 to 72 inches and in lengths from seven to 100 feet. This makes it easy to replace one window screen, or the screens for an entire house.
You will also need spline, which is vinyl or rubber cording that is pressed into a groove in the screen frame to hold the screen material in place.
Why Not Use Safer Tools?
Your choice of window screen replacement tools determines whether this routine home repair becomes a dangerous, frustrating task or gets done easily and safely. Slice makes safer tools for this task.
Cut larger pieces of screen material off the rolls with our 10545 Ceramic Scissors (Large). Our 10554 Auto-Retractable Utility Knife easily cuts screen down to the size needed for an individual window screen, as demonstrated in the video. We also offer a Manual Utility Knife. Both of these utility knives use our finger-friendly Utility Knife Blades. Rounded- and pointed-tip blades are available.
If you prefer a cutting tool with a slimmer handle, try our 10513 Manual Pen Cutter, which is also available with auto-retraction in the 10512 model. The pen cutters both use our Box Cutter Blades, which are available in either rounded-tip or pointed-tip versions.
You’ll need a specialized window screen installation tool: a spline tool. This clever little tool has a handle in the middle, with a concave roller wheel on one end and a convex roller wheel on the other end. It’s used to push the spline cording into the screen frame, securing it in place and keeping the screen tightly stretched across the frame opening.
Window Screen Installation
Installing window screen replacements is a simple step-by-step process. After you’ve chosen your screen material, place your screen frame on a flat surface. Unroll and cut off enough new screen from the roll to completely cover the opening, overlapping the edges of the frame by at least one to two inches. This gives you enough screen material to clamp to the frame, making installation easier. The screen will become taut during installation, which also requires additional material, otherwise you won’t have enough screen to cover the opening and securely attach to the frame.
Loosen the spline from the frame’s channel with your screwdriver. Lift the old screen out of the frame. Wash the screen frame before installing new screen, as the spline won’t seat properly if there is dirt in the frame’s channel.
Place the new screening material over the frame with the curved, concave side facing downward toward the frame for a nice, flat installation. Clamp the screen material to the frame to hold it taut while you work your way around the frame, installing the screen.
At the middle of the top of your frame, press the spline on top of the screen material and down into the frame’s channel with your fingers, to get started. Push it further into the groove with the concave roller on your spline tool. Gently hold the spline tight with one hand, as you use the concave roller on the spline tool to press it into the frame’s groove with your other hand, moving around the frame.
When you get to a corner, bend the spline, creating a 90-degree angle, and push it deep into the corner using the convex roller and your flat-head screwdriver. As you work your way around the frame, the screen will grow taut. Take care to keep your spline tool roller moving in the same direction. If you roll it backwards, the spline can be damaged or loosened.
Take your time with this. If your spline roller slips out of the frame channel, you could damage the screen. Once you have the spline installed completely around the frame, roll over it with the convex spline roller, to ensure it’s well-seated in the groove. When you get back to your starting point, cut the spline to fit and push it into the frame.
Finally, trim the excess screen material with your utility knife by carefully running your knife along the outside edge of the frame’s channel to make a clean, neat edge. This is another part of the process where Slice’s safer tools, with finger-friendly safety blades can help prevent an injury.
Replacing window screens can be expensive, especially if you need to re-screen an entire house. Knowing how to cut window screen, and using safer Slice tools, ensures that you save money and get professional-looking results.