How to replace a torn door screen

Skill level skill2

The screen on your door is ripped because someone forgot to turn the knob before pushing it open with an elbow while carrying a load of groceries, or, as in my case, an etiquette-challenged raccoon clawed through it. How to fix it?

Plan of Attack

We’ll replace the screen rather than the whole door with some new screening material and a few simple tools.

Materials and Tools

  • Roll of screening
  • Utility knife
  • Spline tool (You probably don’t have one but they are cheap.)



Remove the screen door by unscrewing the hinges. It is much easier to work on the screen if you can lay the door flat on the ground. Put it spline-side-up. The spline is the rubber cord that runs around the perimeter of the screen and holds it in the slot.

Pull out the spline by gently prying it up with the point of the utility knife. It will probably be in one piece with the ends joined at a corner and that is the easiest place to start. Once you get an end of the spline pried up you can just tug on it to pull the whole thing out of the slot.

Unroll a section of the new screening material and spread the old screen over it. Use the knife to cut around the perimeter of the old screen leaving an extra inch all the way around. The extra will be cut off after the screen is installed.

The spline tool has a wheel on each end.

One wheel has a convex (pointy) edge

Convex wheel gets narrower at the middle of the edge

and the other wheel has a concave (hollow) edge like a little pulley.


Concave wheel has a little slot around the edge to fit on the spline

Lay the new screen material centered over the opening in the door and use the convex wheel end of the spline tool to gently push the screen into the slots on two adjacent sides. Use a little back and forth rolling motion.

Then lay the spline over those two adjacent slots matching up the first corner of the spline with the corner of the slots. Now roll the concave wheel of the tool over the spline to push it down into the slot starting at the corner. Keep the screen as straight and tight as you can as you continue working your way away from the corner along the side. Then do the other side.

Keeping the screen somewhat tight, align the spline on the third side and roll it into the slot with the concave wheel starting where you left off on the second side. You’ll notice that the screen gets tighter as the spline pulls it down into the slot.

Do the same for the last side. Ideally the ends of the spline will meet at the corner. If they are too long just trim them with the knife (carefully so that you don’t accidentally cut your new screen).

Run the knife in the crack between the spline and the outside edge of the slot all the way around the screen to cut off the excess screening material.

Screw the door hinges back on the door frame and you are finished!


The finished screen door.

door with new screen
Porch door with new screen installed

Here is a close-up of a corner of the screen.

screen spline corner
Close-up of top right corner of new screen with spline pressed into the slot.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Upgrade Your House and Have Fun Doing It