How to Fix a Screen Door? (Step-By-Step Tutorial)

What Youll Need

You won’t have to break the bank in order to replace the screen on your door. All it takes are a few simple tools, some you may already have, and you’ll have a new door screen in no time.

  • Window screening (available at any home improvement store)
  • Spline (rubber material used to hold screen in place)
  • A spline roller (looks like a pizza cutter, used to set the spline in place)
  • A flathead screwdriver 
  • A sturdy pair of scissors
  • Utility knife (box-cutter, exacto)

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Mount the new closer bracket

Photo 2: Predrill and mount the bracket Chuck in an extension and star-drive bit and run the two 3-in. screws into the upper holes first. Then install the two bottom screws.

Position the new door closer bracket on the jamb according to the instructions. Level it and mark the hole locations. Then drill four pilot holes through the wood filler (to prevent it from cracking). Toss the mounting screws that came with the new door closer and mount the bracket using 3-in. screws (Photo 2).

STEP 2: Choose your replacement screen materials and gather necessary tools

The next stop was the hardware store, where I found a somewhat daunting array of materials and supplies. There are basically two types of replacement screen material—wire and fiberglass. Both are sold in rolls and offered in either black, white, or charcoal shades.

The key materials and tools, including screening, spline, and spline roller.

There are also a couple of specialty fabrications, including wire mesh with smaller holes designed to block out “no-see-ums” and a heavier-duty fiberglass “pet” option.

Although our old screen was wire, I decided to try the pet-friendly fiberglass. The standard patio-door-size roll measures 36×84″, although both larger and smaller rolls are available.

The next choice was in screen spline—flexible tubing that holds the screen in place. Sold in rolls and available in different widths and two colors, the spline inserts between the screen mesh and a narrow groove along the edge of the door frame. I chose the narrowest gauge, because the pet mesh was a thicker screen and I wanted to make sure that it would fit securely in the existing groove.

Before I began work, there was one more specialized tool that I needed—a spline roller, the tool I would use to fit the spline into the groove of the door (available on Amazon). For a small job or single use, the plastic version is fine; if you have multiple door and window screens to replace, you may want to purchase the wooden tool.

Armed with my materials, I headed home and assembled a few more tools, including a skinny regular screwdriver, needle-nose pliers, regular pliers, and a utility knife with a fresh blade.

RELATED: The Best Retractable Screen Doors for the Home

2. Take Out the Old Spline

Spline is the rubbery cord that holds the screen i

Spline is the rubbery cord that holds the screen in place. The reason our screen door was broken was because the spine was coming out and it was making the screening really loose. I removed the old spline using a screwdriver. I simply dug a screwdriver into the crevice of one of the corners and pulled it out from around the perimeter of the door. You can throw this spline away (it will probably be pretty gross) because you’ll want to use fresh spline when getting the new screening in! 

Can a Retractable Screen Door Be Repaired?

If your door is a retractable, rolling or sliding screen door, the repair steps mentioned above are the same with minimal exceptions. In the first step, you will lift the screen up from its spot in the door, carefully slide it over the bottom edge of the frame to clear the frame’s lip. Then, tilt the door, removing it from the bottom. When you’re finished with repairs, simply reverse the process you used to remove the door to put it back into its place in the frame.

What You Need to Fix Your Screen

When you go to the hardware store or home center, you’ll find an assortment of screening materials in a few different sizes, everything from 24- to 96-inches wide. You also get to choose the style of the screen to match the existing screens at home. Do you need fiberglass? Black? Charcoal or silver? A fine weave that keeps fruit flies out and is easy to see through? Or how about a heavy-weave pet screen that will stand up to lions, tigers, and bears? There’s also aluminum that is rugged and long-lasting. Just make sure that any roll you choose is big enough to cover the door.

While you’re at the store, you’ll also want to pick up a few other essentials. You’ll need new spline material that’s about the same diameter as the original, so bring your original sample as a gauge. You’ll also want a splining tool, a sharp utility knife, and some spring clamps.

STEP 4: Use a spline roller to push the replacement spline and screen into the door groove

I unrolled the new fiberglass screen onto the door, making sure to overlap all of the edges. Then, starting at one corner, I used the concave end of the spline roller to gently push the spline and screen into the metal groove.

Before I’d gone too far though, I realized the mesh wasn’t going in evenly. So I carefully pulled out the spline and screen, re-seated the screen on the frame, and tried again. This time I put lightweight clamps on the corners to hold the screen in place and placed my free hand firmly on the frame to keep the mesh from shifting.

RELATED: So, You Want to… Screen In a Porch

8. Add the Door Handle Hang the Door

Finally, I added the door handle back on using a s

Finally, I added the door handle back on using a screwdriver.

And then I hung the door on the track! It too

And then I hung the door on the track! It took me about 15 minutes to get this project done and I kicked myself for waiting so long to get this off our home’s to-do list. As long as you have all of the supplies available, I promise you can get this done quickly.

Now I’m so excited to leave our back screen door open on nice summer days! There’s just nothing like a breeze coming into the bedroom when relaxing at home. Bring on the fresh air.



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