Fix-It Chick: Let air in, keep bugs out by repairing window screens

Give your window screens a summertime tuneup to let the cool air in and keep the bugs out.

Step 1: Examine the window screen to make sure that the edges of the screen secured in place by the spline or wood trim. Repair gaps by removing the frame from the window and reattaching the existing screen or by installing a new screen.

Step 2: Check the screen for holes and tears. Small holes in an aluminum screen can sometimes be repaired by moving the screen wires back into place using a dental pick. Larger tears and holes can be repaired with a screen patch kit. Patch kits are available for both aluminum and fiberglass screens. Purchase the kit that matches the screen type. Consider turning the screen into a work of art by cutting patches in different shapes and designs.

Step 3: For rusted, worn or severely damaged screen, installing new screen maybe a better option. Measure the screen frame opening and purchase a piece of screen that is 3 inches larger in both height and width. Replace the screen using the existing spline or wood trim if possible.

Step 4: Check the screen frame for damage. Use wood epoxy to repair any damaged sections of wooden screen frames. Metal frames that are damaged or bent should be replaced. Bring a piece of the old frame to the hardware store when purchasing a replacement frame kit to ensure the new frame pieces are the same thickness and width as the old frame pieces.

Step 5: Once the screen frame is repaired and reinstalled, check for gaps between the frame and the window jamb. Standing outside the home at night, with the lights on inside the home, examine around the frame. Anywhere light is shining through between the frame and the jamb needs to be sealed. Use caulk to seal the gaps from outside the home. Use foam weather stripping or flexible caulk cord to seal gaps from inside the home. Be careful to leave weep holes in the frame unobstructed to allow moisture to flow off the window sill to the exterior of the home.

Step 6: If bugs are still a problem, consider replacing the existing screen material with a finer mesh screening material that will keep even the tiniest of bugs at bay.

Step 7: Spraying screens daily with citronella or peppermint oil may also help.

• Have a home improvement question for Fix-It Chick? Email it to Linda Cottin at


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