Screen doors may be the key to a cool home on a hot summer afternoon, but it doesn't take much to end up with a rip, tear, or hole right in the middle of the mesh. When your screen starts to look a bit more like a fishing net, it's time to fix the mesh to keep out unwanted insect visitors.
Thankfully, replacing the mesh on your screen door is a quick and easy DIY repair that shouldn't take more than an hour.
Prepping to Replace Screen Door Mesh
While you may have the option to purchase a pre-framed screen that fits your unique model of patio door, you can save a bit of money by replacing the mesh by yourself. The cost of screen door mesh ranges from $0.25 to $7.50 per square foot.
However, standard mesh will fall on the lower end of this range, particularly if you choose fiberglass or aluminum. If you also need a new spline—the gasket-like strip that holds the mesh in place—you'll pay between $9 and $20 for a roll.
Measure the height and width of your screen door and order more mesh than you need to cover your bases—and replace the mesh in the future if you get another hole.
Remove the Door From Its Frame
You'll save yourself a major headache by removing your sliding panel or traditional storm door from its track or hinges before replacing the mesh. The process is much simpler if you work on a flat and secure surface. Here's how to remove the most common types of doors.
Removing a Sliding Door
Sliding door panels come off their tracks easier than you'd expect, especially the lighter frames that hold screens. If you cannot simply lift the door off its track and pull it toward you, use a screwdriver to adjust the rollers at the bottom of the door through the roller adjustment holes. Turn the screw counterclockwise to move the wheels out of the way and pop out the door.
Removing a Storm Door
Use a screwdriver or screw gun to remove the exterior screws on the hinges of your storm door. The door should come right off once the screws are removed. Be sure to put them aside in a safe place for later.
Secure Door to Your Workspace
Lay the door flat with the back of the screen facing toward you. Secure it to a table or floor either with strong tape or clamps.
Take a moment to inspect the parts of the door. The edge of the mesh sits within a channel and is secured in place by what's known as a spline. You will use your spline roller—which is specifically used for this type of work—to add your new mesh.
Remove Old Spline and Mesh
Use your flathead screwdriver to pry up a loose section of your spline until it's easy to grasp with your fingers. You should be able to pull the spline out easily, releasing the mesh from the screen door entirely.
Measure and Cut New Mesh
Photo: Ozgur Coskun / Adobe Stock
Lay your new mesh over the open screen door so it overlaps on all sides. Trim the edges so at least a few inches hang off each side and it goes beyond the door frame itself. This will ensure you have more than enough screen to secure and trim after you're done.
Press Mesh Into the Channel
Use the convex side of your spline roller—the side where the edge of the roller sticks outward—and press the edge of the screen into one of the channels. As you move it around the screen's edge, pull the mesh taut so you get a nice clean look.
Install New Spline
Flip your spline roller over to the concave side—the end with a small track on the outside of the roller. Press the edge of your spline into one corner of your screen door and roll the spline roller along the whole length of the side, securing the screen in the channel. You can either use your old spline or replace it with a new one.
Trim Screen Mesh
Once you've fully fastened your mesh in the screen door with the spline, it's time to trim off the excess. Wearing your safety gloves, place a sharp utility knife on the screen right outside the spline. As closely and cleanly as possible, move the utility knife away from you, trimming off one edge at a time.
Reinstall the Door
Your screen mesh is now as good as new and you're ready to pop that door back on its track and hinges. Reverse the method you used earlier—either by snapping it back onto the track and lowering the wheels or by screwing the door back to the hinges.
DIY Screen Door Mesh Replacement vs. Hiring a Pro
The supplies for replacing screen door mesh cost just $25 to $50, or even less if you're working with a small section of the door. Hiring a professional for screen door repairs costs between $50 and $75 an hour for labor, and some contractors will charge a minimum fee for the trip.
If you're not comfortable handling a utility knife or are working with a particularly tall screen door, call a local door repair team to handle the replacement. Otherwise, this is an ideal DIY fix for dedicated homeowners.
Can you replace the mesh on a screen door?
Replacing screen door mesh is an easy project and a cost-effective way to upgrade your screen door. Remove and replace the mesh with basic tools for between $25 and $50 in about an hour.
Can you patch a screen door?
If you’d rather repair your screen door mesh than replace, you can patch it. Purchase a mesh patch for screen doors with small holes or tears, especially if the mesh is pretty new. Hardware stores and websites sell mesh patches that are easy to apply with an adhesive or a warm hair dryer. Keep in mind that repairs won’t look as aesthetically pleasing in most cases as a full replacement.
What are solar screens?
Solar screens use a thick mesh of polyester to block out the UV waves and solar heat. While they are more expensive at about $7.50 per square foot, they can protect your porch or hardwood floors from sun damage and keep the room or porch on the other side of the patio cool.