Becoming More Self-Sufficient: Fixing A Sliding Screen Door

This is a post that has been a long time coming.  When I first moved in with Jason, we both had pets.  He had Abby (who is almost officially half mine!) and Buddy…

Buddy

and I had Oscar and Charlotte.

Charlotte in the background… Oscar in the foreground.

Well, that first year was a little tough on the cats.  Mine were terrified of Abby; Buddy and Charlotte did not get along; and Oscar… well, Oscar just coped.  He’s sort of zen that way.

Packing for the Move

Within the first two weeks of moving in, Charlotte decided to make herself an escape hatch by chewing a Charlotte-sized hole through the screen door.  I’m a little embarrassed to say that we just let it go for the entire summer, suffering the occasional mosquito and black fly, and she continued to dive and in out of it like the formerly-feral cat that she still is.

A year later, I successfully managed to replace the screen, and as we were approaching the wedding, I decided to redo the screen on our back porch (right off our bedroom).  Since screen replacement is incredibly costly, I did it myself, and I thought you might appreciate a quick how-to, since it was one of the easiest projects I’ve done recently!

Materials:
Replacement Screen (enough to overlap at least 2 inches on each side of your door)
Spliner (little tool with wheels on each end found at most hardware stores in the screening section)
Spline (the material that holds your screen in place – I usually cut a three inch piece of this from the screen to be replaced before going into town to buy supplies to ensure I get the correct size spline)
Duct Tape
Razor Blade
Pliers
Cleaning Supplies

Materials

I started by removing the screen door and bringing into the house. This could easily be accomplished outside, but it was POURING on the day that I completed this task.  After cleaning it with soap and water, I  duct-taped the door (spline side up) to our linoleum floor. It’s important that you firmly secure the door in place, so you don’t mis-shape it with the screen when you’re attaching the spline and rolling it into the grooves. 

Next, I used the pliers and a flat screwdriver to remove the existing spline, which I discarded along with the former screen (ours was pretty chewed up).

At this point, I spread the new screen out over the door and used a piece of tape to secure each corner to the floor, leaving a little bit of give, as the screen gets pulled into place by the spline as you set it into the groove using the spliner.

Starting from the top, I cut four pieces of spline that were a bit longer than each side needed (25′ was more than enough for the door). I secured the top piece, then worked my way down the sides doing about a foot at a time on the right and left, removing excess spline when the entire piece was set in place and firmly setting in the ends with a flat head screwdriver. Finally, I set the bottom piece of spline in place. You want the screen to be tight, but not so tight that it bends the door frame.

Finally, I used a razor blade to trim the screen.

Replace the door, and you are done!

Just a quick word on screen products. We used Pet-D-Fence, a product from Lowes that I was initially super-skeptical about. Remember, Charlotte chews through screens like a little cat-weevil. That said, after a year of Charlotte throwing herself bodily at the screen and sticking to it about five feet up by her claws whenever she wants to come in, the screen doesn’t have a visible mark on it. This has been a phenomenal product and totally worth the slightly higher price!  This screening is a bit darker than traditional screen, but after a few days, you really won’t notice the difference.

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