A window screen replacement can be a pain in the butt. And in all honestly, it’s usually one of those things we ignore. After all, we still have our window to protect us from the Florida weather, right?
Well, not exactly.
If you’re buying a home in Florida, your home inspection report will bring up damaged or missing window screens.
Why the heck would we do that? We’re glad you asked!
3 Reasons Your Home Inspector Mentions Window Screen Replacement
While Florida doesn’t technically require homeowners to replace their ripped window screens, most home inspectors still make a note of it. Unless you are a property manager, then they are required for rentals.
This process is a lot more refined than first-time homebuyers realize. Aspects of a home that you may not have thought to look at (like window screens) might be a cause for concern later down the road.
Overlooked home discrepancies like clogged drains can cause plumbing issues, while something as simple as a dirty filter can be catastrophic to your entire AC unit. And that’s a pretty costly deal— especially here in Florida.
Your windows serve as a primary barrier between the safety of your home and the outside world. Broken screens are a structural and health-related concern that home inspectors find relevant to the home buying process.
Here are some other reasons why we might suggest window screen replacement.
#1: To Keep Away The Mosquitos
If you’ve lived in Florida long enough, you know that mosquitos are an ever-present pest.
But did you know that, by far, mosquitos are the deadliest creature in the world?
Sure, you’re more likely to simply get an itchy bump on your arm if a mosquito bites you. However, mosquitoes carry diseases that are routinely transmitted to humans.
According to the CDC, “West Nile virus is one of the most common mosquito-borne diseases in the continental United States.” Some other known illnesses caused by these creatures include Malaria, Yellow Fever, and Zika Virus.
Floridians are especially at risk because mosquitos are prevalent after heavy rains and hurricanes. Believe it or not, one million people die from mosquito-borne diseases every year.
These window screens help keep you and your family safe.
#2: Multiple Levels of Protection
Window screens may not look like much, but they do more work than they’re given credit for.
Besides critter protection, window screens can also expand the life of your windows. It helps prevent water from pooling along your window edges which can cause your window frame to rust.
When your window frame is damaged, it can lead to foggy windows (which will need replacing) or even excess water in your home. This water infiltration can cause mold, interior paint peeling, and other structural issues from Florida’s inclement weather.
Window screens are also just an additive layer of protection in case something comes flying at your window!
#3: Cost For Window Screen Replacement
The total cost to DIY your window screen replacement is about $25-55. That’s assuming you only need to replace the screen and not the frame. Here’s a breakdown of everything you’ll need:
1. Aluminum or fiberglass screening $10-15
2. Spline replacement $15-20
3. Spline tool $10
4. Utility knife $10
Here’s a great video on how to repair your window screen:
To hire someone for window screen replacement, you’re looking at an average cost of about $135 per window.
These costs aren’t something you would typically bother the seller with at negotiations.
But when your home inspector tells you that it’s five window screens that need replacing, then it might be worth bringing up.
How To Replace Window Screen Frame
When just one window screen needs replacing, all you need are the tools above for a quick DIY fix. The biggest issue for window screen replacement comes when the frame is bent. Now, you have the restore the entire screen unit.
So let’s get into how to replace a window screen frame.
Step 1: How to measure for window screens
Measure the width of your window first. Using your tape measure, go from corner to corner. Try to get to the nearest 1/8 inch.
To measure the window height, find the lip. This is the rubber piece at the top and bottom of your window (where your previous screen frame sat).
For double windows, you’ll want to measure from directly behind the lip, up to the window channel (the section separating the top pane from the bottom pane). Add 1/8 inch here.
Here’s a video on how to measure for window screens of various sizes.
Now that you know your window’s measurements, you can choose the right size pre-framed window screen.
Step 2: How to remove window screens
Removing window screens and their frame is pretty simple.
Open the window and press gently on the corner of the frame. This tension helps release the rounded springs that are at the top of the frame. You may need the help of a tool for this, but the bottom half should pop out from behind the lip. Get a grip on the bottom of the screen and pull down to release the frame from the window. Side note: On some windows this should be done from the inside, so if you’re having trouble, go to the other side of the window.
You may also have tabs on the bottom of your screen. If that’s the case, lift them simultaneously, and then push the screen out. Pull down to release the top of half of the window screen frame from the window.
For tricky window screen removals, watch this video.
Step 3: Window screen replacement
Now that your screen is out, you can choose to replace it with a pre-framed screen that you can get at Home Depot. Or you can re-screen it yourself using the tutorial above.
To replace your window with a pre-framed screen, align it with the top half of your window opening. Try to get those springs into place.
From there, your screen should have tabs that you can use to lower the bottom of your screen behind the lip. It should snap right into place!
We hope this quick tutorial can help you DIY your window screen replacement (or get you a better deal for closing on your new home)! And remember to always ask your home inspector about the condition of your home’s windows and screens.