How to make a window screen

How to make a window screen

A window frame supports the weight of the wall around the opening using the studs to transfer the load to the foundation. At the top, cripple studs transfer the load from the top plate to the header. Along the sides the king and jack studs support the header and transfer the load to the floor. At the bottom of the opening, two 2×4’s are nailed together to form the rough sill which is supported by the bottom cripple studs. The rough sill doesn’t support any wall weight, but instead anchors the base of the window in place.

Cut the Old Wall Studs

How to make a window screen

To build a new window frame in an existing wall, first remove the interior wall covering and any insulation to expose the studs. Decide which studs will have to be cut to install the new frame and which can be kept to use again. Take the jamb size and sill height into consideration when planning the placement. We use a 30 inch sill here, but you may want to measure the height of the other windows in your house and set the new one the same. It may be necessary to remove the apron trim to accurately measure the existing sill height.

With exterior walls it’s best to leave as much of the existing framing in place as possible to preserve the exterior siding. To accomplish this, choose the studs you will use for the king studs and then cut any others that fall in the center to form the top and bottom cripples.

Measure for the top starting at the finished floor: add the header size + the window jamb height + 30 inches for the sill height and ½inch wiggle room. Mark this point on the studs. For the bottom, measure up 27 inches (30 inches for the new window height – 3 inches for the rough sill) and mark the studs there.

Use a square to draw a straight line on both faces and the exposed edge of the studs. Prop 2×4’s under the top plate to support the wall load and use a handsaw to cut as straight as possible, all the way to the exterior siding.

If possible, remove the center portion of the old studs and discard them. If they are still attached to the siding, leave them in place and remove them with the siding in the final step.

Install the Framing

How to make a window screen

Work out the header size for the opening you’re making and subtract the width from the total you used to cut the top cripples above. Cut two new 2×4 jack studs to this length. Build the header and lift it into place while slipping the jacks under to hold it temporarily.

Square up all the pieces, and drive 3″ screws to attach the jacks to the king studs. Next drive screws to secure the header to the top cripple and king studs using the toenailing technique here.

Measure between the two jack studs and cut two pieces of 2×4 to this length for the rough sill. Nail the two together and place them between the jacks, butted against the bottom cripples. Fasten them in place using toenailing at the sides and up from the bottom cripples.

Cut Out the Exterior Siding

How to make a window screen

With all the new framing pieces in place drill a hole at each corner, through the siding to the outside. Use at least a 5/8ths inch bit to make holes large enough for a tape measure and use them to mark the outside wall for cutting the siding.

Working from the outside, use a jigsaw to cut out the siding. Measure from each hole and mark the siding at the width of your jig saw baseplate. This is the measurement from the blade to the outer edge of the baseplate. Set a long level on the marks and draw a line for all four sides of the frame. Fasten a straight, 1×3 board to the siding along these lines and use it as a fence to guide the saw blade. Watch where you drive fasteners so they will be covered by the trim molding when your done.

Starting on one side with a new, sharp blade, cut along the lines using the holes as a starting point. Keep the baseplate pressed firmly against the fence and siding while cutting for a clean, accurate cut. Move the wooden fence to cut the other side, top, and bottom of the frame opening and remove the siding. Install the new window jamb as described here.

If the siding needs to be cut so it butts against the edge of the exterior trim, cut it out using a circular saw instead of a jigsaw. Use the holes in the siding to find the inside of the new frame and measure, back toward center, the width of the side jamb (usually about 3/4 inch) + 1/2 inch (wiggle room) on both sides. At the top and bottom measure using the jamb width, but don’t add the extra 1/2 inch. Set a piece of the exterior trim molding along this point on each side and draw a line along the outer edge.

Measure your saw baseplate including the width of the blade, out to the edge of the plate. Measure this distance on the siding from the trim line, back toward the center of the frame and set the fence board along this point. Set the saw blade depth so it will cut through the siding but not the framing, and cut along all four sides to remove the siding.

At Window Nation, providing sturdy, long-lasting screens with the windows we sell is important to us. And we know that those screens are important to you. They are the barrier that keeps wasps from coming into your house when you open your windows up to let the fall air in. They stop the flies that are buzzing around your outside trash from getting into your kitchen. And they keep a whole range of potential pests from using your windows as a doorway into your home. Screens are important. Really important. But keeping pests out is only one of the many reasons you should maintain your window screens. Here are a few more reasons to consider.

Curb Appeal

When it comes time to sell a home, one of the first things a real estate agent will suggest is a replacement of all your screens. They know that damaged or dirty screens make potential buyers wonder, “If they didn’t take care of their screens, what else didn’t they take care of.” Good, clean screens make a good impression. When people come to visit, shiny, well-kept screens will add appeal to the overall beauty of your home.

Dirt Splash

Screens don’t only increase your curb appeal; when they are in good working condition and kept nice and clean, they can also help to keep your exterior window panes from getting dirty. Clean window screens won’t cause dirt to splatter on your window glass. Instead, you’ll have clean water splattering and drizzling down your window panes. Who knows–that rain may even give your windows an extra cleaning.

Heat Loss

Good, working screens help to reduce heat transfer. Sure, most of the work is going to be done with the coating on your glass, the argon or krypton gas between each pane of glass, and the insulation in your window frames which reduces heat transfer. But screens help too. Most importantly, those screens will keep pests from getting in and chewing holes in your frames. Nothing is going to let the heat out of your home faster than a rodent hole, or damage done by carpenter ants.

Water Damage

When your screens work properly, they will help to deflect rain water. No window does well with water continually pooling up on it. Water has a way of getting in and causing mold to occur. Mold can also form on your screens themselves. But a clean, good working screen resists water and mold.

An ounce of maintenance goes a long way when it comes to keeping a home safe and secure. Stay vigilant!

Video Playback Not Supported

Here’s how to make a window screen for your windows and install screening on it.

How to Make a Window Screen

Measure Window Opening: Measure the space the window screen will occupy, and then subtract 1/4″ from each dimension to determine the outside dimensions of the screen frame.

Cut Screen Frame Stock: Subtract 1½” from the outside screen dimensions above to allow for the 3/4″ screen frame corner connectors. Use a power miter saw with a fine tipped blade or a hacksaw to cut the aluminum screen frame stock square to length.

Assemble Screen Frame: Push the “L” shaped corner connectors into the screen frame so the spline tracks in the corners and frame align.

Cut Screening: Lay the screen frame on a flat surface, and roll the screening out over it. Cut the screen approximately 1” larger than the frame.

Insert Spline in Screen Frame: Use the concave side of a spline roller to press the rubber spline into the groove on one side of the screen frame. Pull the screening taut (but not too tight) and insert the spline in the groove on the opposite side of the frame. Repeat on the other two sides of the screen frame.

Remove Excess Screening: Use a utility knife to cut off the excess screening on the outer edge of the spline channel.

Install Window Screens: Hardware kits are available to install window screens on windows so they are removable for cleaning.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

  • How to Replace a Window Screen (video)
  • Repairing Window Screening (video)
  • Cleaning Window Screens (video)

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT
Danny Lipford: You can replace a missing window screen by making your own with a few materials from the hardware store.

First measure the space into which the screen must fit. You’ll subtract one-quarter-inch from each dimension, so you have an eighth of an inch clearance on each side.

The corners of the frame are made from plastic “L” shaped connectors. That square in the corner of these connectors is three quarters of an inch by three quarters of an inch, so subtract one and a half inches from each dimension to cut the screen frame.

Here we’re cutting the vinyl coated aluminum frame with a power miter saw, but a hacksaw will also work. Next the corner connectors are fitted into the frame pieces to form two large “L”s, which are then connected to form a rectangle. Remember to be sure that the spline tracks in the connector and frame align with each other.

Now you can roll out and cut the screen about an inch larger than the frame on all sides. Place the frame on a flat surface, and lay the screen over it.

The spline is a rubber cord which you’ll press into the groove in the frame to hold the screen in place. Start at a corner of the frame, and press it in the length of one side using the concave side of the spline roller. Then pull the screen snug across the frame, and insert the spline on the opposite side. Repeat this procedure on the two remaining sides of the rectangle and the screen is secure.

Finally, use a utility knife to cut off the excess screen just outside the spline, and the screen is ready to install.

How to make a window screen

Knowing how to replace a torn or damaged RV window screen is a basic yet highly useful skill to have when on the road in your rig. Being able to let a cool breeze in while keeping the bugs out is crucial in getting the most out of your surroundings while traveling.

How to make a window screen

Why is knowing how to repair your screens important?

Living the RV lifestyle gives us traveling folks the ability to access the most beautiful mountains, forests, deserts, plains, and beaches in this country. But sometimes those places can get hot, muggy and sticky, and having the tropical trade winds of the Florida Keys or the cool mountain air of the Rockies available to cool off your rig can be the perfect solution on a hot night, but only if you have intact screens to keep the bugs out.

BUGS. I shouldn’t have to say much more but I’ll add my two cents for anyone who hasn’t had that experience yet. Flies, bees, mosquitoes, no-see-ums and anything else that bites or stings can stay outside in their home and I’ll stay in mine.

Living during the day or sleeping at night comfortably requires all your window screens to be intact and in good shape. If they are not, you will soon find yourself with sleepless nights from all the scratching you or your kids will be doing. Been there, done that.

Of course, if you have an A/C you can keep your windows closed and it doesn’t matter what shape your screens are in, but then you miss out on hearing the birds chirping or waves crashing.

Sleeping at night with your windows open and screens closed and intact is one of our favorite things to do while camping. We love the stars and the sounds of the night, coyotes howling, crickets chirping, or leaves rustling from a light breeze…it’s the perfect sound machine for sleep.

Having a couple of small kids and a couple of RV cats has caused us to go through our fair share of screens, so I have made changing out a screen a regular maintenance routine, much like changing motor oil. Here are 5 simple steps to changing out a torn or damaged window screen.

1. Remove screen and frame

How to make a window screen

If it is possible the easiest way to replace a window screen is to remove the entire frame with a damaged screen as one whole piece. Usually, if you gently lift up the screen frame from the bottom with a putty knife they should come out of the window frame. After it’s out, bring it to a flat surface with room to roll out the new screen.

2. Label the screen

How to make a window screen

If you’re doing just one single screen replacement this isn’t necessary, but if you are doing multiple replacements, label each frame with some tape and marker. This step makes for an easy and stress-free job when it comes to reinstalling the frames with new screens because some may not operate as smoothly when installed in a different frame.

3. Remove damaged screen

Take a razor knife or a flathead screwdriver to remove the old PVC splining and pull it out with your hands. You should now be able to remove the damaged screen. Remove it and throw all materials away into the trash.

4. Install the new screen

The frame is now ready for the new screening. Take the new roll of screen and unroll it over the frame which should be laying flat on the ground. Unroll just enough material to cover the frame, leaving a couple of inches over each edge of the entire frame.

Next, take the PVC splining and insert it into the groove of the frame and use the spline roller to push the spline completely down into the groove to lock in the screen. Once you reach the end of one side of the window frame, cut the spline with a razor knife, do the same for the other three sides.

As you are installing the other three sides of the screen it should start to become tighter in the frame, giving a cleaner and finished look.

Finally, all you’ll need to do is cut the excess screen with a razor knife. Carefully cut the screen with light pressure following the window frame making sure not to damage the frame, cut your hand or the new screen.

5. Reinstall the frame

Take your frame with the new screen and reinstall it back into the correct window. The frame should go back into the window frame the same as it came out. Put the frame back into the top of the track and use a putty knife to gently lift up on the bottom to put it back into the bottom track. It should go back in and that should be that.

Check the operation by opening and closing a couple of times and make any adjustments if it does not slide correctly or at all. This would also be a great time to do a little window maintenance by spraying the frame with some window lube for smooth operation.

That’s it! With the proper tools, materials, and patience you should now be an expert at removing and installing window screens.

We have our windows open any time the weather permits us to do so and we prefer it that way, so much so that we removed our air conditioner from our RV two years ago. Having intact screen windows to let the breeze come through while keeping the bugs out makes us happy campers.

Read here for more info on screens and keeping bugs out of your rig

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This Takes 15 Minutes or Less

How to make a window screen

You don’t need to call the local handyman to get custom window screens built.

In keeping with the theme of Home Repair Tutor this project is well worth your time and only takes 15 minutes, even if you’re not particularly handy.

Plus only a few cheap tools are necessary to get this job done.

Here are the supplies you’ll need for a white aluminum screen:

  • White Aluminum Screen Frame Kit
  • Spline Roller
  • Measuring Tape
  • Hacksaw
  • Miter Box
  • Utility Knife
  • These Amazon affiliate links help support HRT, thank you for using them

The total cost could be $36.49 if you need to buy all of the tools. The actual cost of just the screen supplies is $15.10, which isn’t bad at all.

The screen frame kit is from Home Depot and can make a 48 inch by 48 inch frame. But if your frame is smaller like mine (or bigger) you can customize it by cutting the frame rails to size with a hacksaw.

The tutorial I’m sharing today shows me making a brown window screen but the steps are exactly the same for a white version.

I’ll share how to build a custom window screen frame and add the fiberglass mesh.

Let’s get started and before you know it you’ll have a new custom window screen in 15 minutes flat.

Build the Custom Window Screen Frame (Step 1)

If you have an old screen measure it’s width and height.

In my case I needed to made a screen frame from scratch. The total width of the new screen needed to be 30 1/8 inches and the total height needed to be 27 3/4 inches.

My video will walk you through this part of the project but there is picture tutorial as well. I got lucky while filming the video because it was a nice sunny day here in Pittsburgh 🙂

You’ll need to subtract 1 1/2 inches off your width & height measurements to accommodate the width of the screen frame corners that help connect the frame together. Once you have these new measurements you can use the hacksaw and miter box to cut the aluminum screen frames.

How to make a window screen

With the four aluminum sides of the frame cut you can now join them together with the frame corners. But before you do this make sure to have the recess in the frame where the rubber spline goes facing up toward you.

This will help you construct the frame properly and eliminate unnecessary frustration that may lead to curse words, fist pumping at the sky, etc.

How to make a window screen

Add Fiberglass Screen to the Frame (Step 2)

Once you know how to replace one fiberglass mesh screen you’ll be looking to do it for all your window frames or sliding screen door.

Here’s the video that shows you this process.

Lay out the screen frame on an even, flat surface.

How to make a window screen

Lay the fiberglass screen over the frame so that it is 2 inches wider on all sides.

How to make a window screen

Place the spline (the rubber tubing) on top of the screen where the recess is located. Embed the spline into the recess with the spline tool (it looks like a pizza cutter).

How to make a window screen

Use the utility knife to trim the excess screen. Hold your knife at a 45 degree angle to the screen frame and cut away the excess fiberglass mesh.

How to make a window screen

Go back over the spline one more time with the spline tool and you’re done. WooHoo!!

How to make a window screen

What’s Next

You can do this project at any time during the year and chances are high you’ll do it better than someone at the hardware store.

Our other tutorial shows how to install custom window screens in old window frames.

Also, grab our free guide if you’re doing a DIY bathroom remodel – it shares how to remodel a bathroom in 10 days or less

How to make a window screen

Smart Window, also called Snap, is a feature of Microsoft Windows that lets you automatically position two windows side-by-side, without having to manually resize them. Smart Window is also useful if you don’t want to use Alt + Tab to switch between 2 windows.

Smart Window was introduced in Windows 7, and is also available in Windows 8, 8.1, and 10. If you are running an earlier version of Windows, such as Windows XP or Windows Vista, see: Split and arrange open windows.

  • Enable Snap Windows in Windows settings.
  • Snap windows using the mouse.
  • Snap windows using the keyboard.
  • How to un-snap windows after snapping them.

Enable Snap Windows in Windows settings

If you’re running Windows 8 or 10, first make sure the Snap Windows feature is enabled in the Settings.

  1. Access the Settings by opening the Start menu and click the gear icon ⚙ on the left. Alternatively, hold down the Windows key and press I .
  2. In the Settings menu, click System.
  3. On the left, click Multitasking.
  4. On the right, make sure Snap Windows is set to On.

If you are running Windows 7, Smart Window is always turned on. If you want to disable it, you need to modify a key in the Windows registry. For more information, see: How to disable Smart Window in Windows 7.

Snap windows using the mouse

Follow these steps to snap windows using your mouse.

  1. Click-and-drag on the top title bar of the first window, so your mouse pointer hits either the left or right side of your screen. Let go of the window when you see the outline of the window resize to half of the screen.
  2. Choose the other window you want to view on the side of the first window. Click-and-drag the second window to the opposite side of the screen until the mouse pointer hits the side of the screen and resizes.

Snap windows using the keyboard

Follow these instructions to snap windows using your keyboard.

  1. Press the Windows key and press either the Right or Left arrow key, moving the open window to either the screen’s left or right position.
  2. Choose the other window you want to view to the side of the window in step one. When using the Windows key for this step, as described in step one above, use the opposite (right or left) arrow button that you used in step one.

How to un-snap windows after snapping them

After you snap one or more windows, you can follow these steps to return them to a normal window view.

  1. Click-and-drag the window, so the mouse pointer hits the top of the screen and let go to put the window back to regular size.
  2. If you want to view a single window, click a blank spot at the top, and while holding the mouse button down, shake the window you want to view. The shaking action will minimize all other windows to the Taskbar. To re-open windows that were minimized, click and shake the window you’re using.
  3. Press the Windows key on your keyboard, and at the same time, press either the Up arrow or the Down arrow . The up arrow maximizes the window, and the down arrow will minimize the window.

How to make a window screen

What if I told you that you could make your own DIY window screen in just one day? Would you believe me? Well, you should, because with this post and accompanying video, it’s very doable for just about any DIYer!

This is a relatively similar process to my post about how to build DIY Storm Windows if you are looking to gain some energy efficiency out of your old windows.

You’ll need a few basic tools to get the job done and done well, and you can’t be afraid of using a few standard shop tools like a table saw and miter saw. Check out the list of tools and supplies I used below as well as the video for the step-by-step break down of the process.

You can also buy the full woodworking plans with a convenient measuring guide to really help you complete the project with ease in my store.

Tools

  • Grizzly G1023RLWX 10″ Table Saw
  • Ridgid Dual-Bevel 12″ Miter Saw
  • Kreg K4 Pocket Hole Jig
  • Makita LXT 18v Lithium Ion Compact Combo Kit
  • Ridgid 18 ga. Brad Nailer
  • Arrow T50 Heavy Duty Staple Gun

Supplies

  • CRL 36″ Fiberglass Screen Mesh
  • Stanley Screen & Storm Hangers
  • Pocket Hole Screws
  • Hook & Eye
  • 3/4″ 18 ga. Stainless Brad Nails
  • Arrow 1/4″ Stainless Staples

Step 1 Determine the Thickness

Screens were meant to fit on the outside of a double-hung window and rest up against the blind stop. They are usually between 3/4” and 1 1/8” thick. The 3/4” version is extremely common after 1910 and simple since you can just buy standard 1×4 and 1×6 materials to make the screens from, so that is what I’ll cover here.

For thicker screens, you have 3 options:

  1. Use a thicker stock to accommodate the size you need
  2. Fur out the blind stop a bit so as to leave 3/4” of an inch remaining
  3. Add furring strips to the perimeter of your 3/4” screen to accommodate the thickness

Step 2 Measure the Opening

The next thing you need to measure are the overall dimensions of the screen (width & height). I measure as tight as possible and then subtract an 1/8” from the overall size. If you make the screens too tight, then with the irregularities and paint build up on old windows, you will be doing a lot of planing and sanding to make it fit. If you measure and come up with 32” x 60” then plan to make your screens 31 7/8” x 59 7/8” to ensure a good fit.

Step 3 Cut to Length

You’ll need (1) 1×4 cut to the height of your window (the 59 7/8” length from our previous example) and (1) 1×6 cut to the width of the window (31 7/8”) minus 3 1/2”. There is a reason for the slight discrepancy and it has to do with the blade width on the table saw. For now, just trust that the rule is correct. You’ll see why soon!

You’ll also need enough screen molding to go around the perimeter of the screen and across the meeting rail of your screen. So, for a 32”x60” screen, you’d need approximately 18’.

Screen molding or half round is available at most home stores and that’s what you’ll use to give the screens their finished appearance.

Step 4 Rip the Rails

From these 2 pieces of wood, you’ll be able to make all the rails and stiles you need for one full screen. You’ll need the table saw for this next part to rip these pieces to the proper width. Here is the cut list you need:

  • 1×4: 2 pieces @ 1 11/16” each. Accommodating for the width of the blade this should be cutting the 1×4 exactly down the center so you have two identical width boards.
  • 1×6: 1 piece @ 1 11/16”, 1 piece at 1”, and remainder should be about 2 9/16”

Step 5 Assemble

Assemble the screen frame and clamp everything together so that it is square. In the video, I use a Kreg K4 pocket hole jig and screws to attach the joints because it is one of the most DIY friendly ways to assemble a frame like this.

Step 6 Prime & Paint

It’s much easier to prime and paint screens before you apply the screening, so take this time to put a coat of oil-based primer on and coat the frame and screen molding with the high quality paint of your choice.

Step 7 Apply Screening

Pick the screen type you want and roll it out across the frame. Start in a corner and begin pulling and stapling the screening tight. You want to staple within the first 1/2” from the inside edge of the frame in order to hide the staples in the end.

Step 8 Apply Screen Molding

Cut pieces of screen mold to cover the areas stapled earlier and nail it on with 3/4” 18 ga. nails. Miter the corners for an attractive finish.

Step 9 Install Hardware

Touch up the paint on any nails holes and then apply the screen hardware. I use Stanley Screen & Storm Hangers for my screens and storms. You also need to install a couple simple hook and eyes to attach the bottom of the screen into place and secure it.

Enjoy the fresh air a huge sense of accomplishment that your DIY window screen is not only an attractive carpentry project, but one that is extremely practical!

If you think you’re ready to build your own screens download your copy of my DIY Window Screen Plans right now.

How to make a window screen

Founder & Senior Editor

I love old houses, working with my hands, and teaching others the excitment of doing it yourself! Everything is teachable if you only give it the chance.

Have windows 10 on desktop PC. It changed the screen and now it’s all stretched out like a widescreen tv. I tried changing the display to the lowest ratio but it’s still wide. I don’t like it.

How can I fix this and please answer like you would a 10 year old. I’m tech challenged.

Replies (5) 

Thank you for posting on Microsoft Community.

  • Did you restart the computer?

Change the display settings to Landscape to check for the issue.

  1. Right click on the desktop and select Display settings.
  2. Check Orientation settings.

Also, check by pressing CTRL+ALT+UPPER ARROW.

Do reply with the status.

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Have windows 10 on desktop PC. It changed the screen and now it’s all stretched out like a widescreen tv. I tried changing the display to the lowest ratio but it’s still wide. I don’t like it.

How can I fix this and please answer like you would a 10 year old. I’m tech challenged.

If it’s like what I understood, then the I think that the first solution is what the engineer said: check the display settings, if not working then you maybe don’t have the display driver installed, (like Intel, nVedia, AMD or any other driver) it depends on the graphics card that you have

(what I understood: you have a wide screen and your screen makes everything wider than the normal (like if you draw a circle, it becomes like egg shape))

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I have the same question. The exact same thing happened to me when I upgraded to Windows 10 from Windows 8.1. I have a Samsung Series 9 13.3 Premium Ultrabook – NP900X3E.

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To make your monitor screen wider (bigger) or smaller: Try these two solutions:

1. From Windows 10 – go to “Settings” (. . .) Upper right hand corner and click on “Open With Internet Explorer” then

click on “Page” (right next to “Tools”). Click on “Zoom” a list of different screen sizes will appear and you can try different screen sizes and pick your size. I have mine set at 125% you can make your screen smaller or larger.

IF YOU CAN’T GET TO THE “INTERNET EXPLORER Version 11”

2. Go to the Internet (MSN) and download Internet Explorer Version 11 updated for Windows 10 .

Then go to “Page” and click on “Zoom” set your screen size.

READ THIS FIRST > Check this out first: Windows 10 – In “All Apps”: TO GET THERE > Click Start Button –

(Lower left hand corner). Click on “All Apps” Press “W” for Windows –

click on “Windows Accessories Folder”. Click on the Internet Explorer from there.

If you don’t see it there then go to #2 solution (Right above this).