Do It Yourself or Not: Repair a torn screen
Replacing a screen is not rocket science, which is a good thing because any number of flying objects, sharp-cornered packages and pointy objects can destroy the screening material. Making the repair is one of life's little lessons you'll use time and again; fortunately, the job is easy and the materials and tools are inexpensive (sold at hardware stores and home centers).
To make the repair, remove the screen, lay it on a flat surface and use an awl or screwdriver to remove the screen fabric and rubber spline that holds it in place. Measure the old screening and get new material a few inches longer and wider; do the same with the spline you removed. To make sure you get the correct diameter of spline, take the old spline to the store with you for reference.
Lay the new screening on top of the screen frame and force the new spline into the groove in the frame with a splining tool (an inexpensive gadget that looks like a pizza slicer). Then use a utility knife to trim away any excess spline and screen fabric.
A handyman or repair service will charge $158, including labor and material, to replace a damaged door or window screen. You can do the job in less than an hour for $20, the cost of the new screening material and a splining tool. You'll pocket a nice 87% savings for your effort and acquire a skill you'll use often.
To repair a small hole in a screen, buy a screen repair kit with precut patches which have sharp edges that you weave into the screen over the damaged area.
Pro Cost: $158 -- DIY Cost: $20
Pro time: 1.0 -- DIY Time: 1.3
DIY Savings: $138 -- Percent Saved: 87%
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