This post was most recently updated on September 13th, 2022
Large lanais screen are prone to rips, tears, and holes. Screen repair is simple but time-consuming, and there’s a learning curve. People often take the easiest route, punching holes in the screen to open the porch. This will decrease the porch’s value and eliminate the benefits of a bug-free lanai porch. You spend summer evenings swatting mosquitoes and watching the bug zapper work too hard. This obscures the night sky’s beauty.
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Screen and frame type determine repair method.
Three types of frames are:
Wood-framed screen porches are attractive, especially when custom-built. Wood-framed screen panels have rot, repainting, nail rust and stains, and fastener loosening maintenance issues. These issues make panel maintenance difficult. Staples and a lathe secure the screen’s wooden frame. Frame and lathe hold the screen. Wood-framed screen panels are easy to repair with hand tools.
Wood-framed screen panels require more maintenance and hold the screen differently than vinyl and aluminium. In these designs, a thin tubular gasket called a spline holds the screen in place in an aluminium or vinyl frame. To replace these screens, you’ll need a spline tool. Screen-changing is easy. A spline tool has a wooden or plastic handle and two miniature wheels. These wheels have concave and convex edges. Using the convex edge to fit the screen into the channel and the concave edge to fit the spline over the screen.
Spline sizes vary. Cut a small sample from the spline you want to replace and size the new one to match, or buy several rolls of different diameters and combine the sizes.
To replace the screen in vinyl or aluminum-framed screen panels, you’ll need these tools:
- Screen replacement
- Short-headed tool (awl, thin flathead screwdriver, etc.)
- General-purpose knife
Cracked or broken Lanai screen repair
Find the spline’s end in its channel. The spline’s start and end points should be close. Using the tool with the small-headed probe, remove the end of the spline from the channel. Over time, spline can dry rot and become difficult to remove.
- Clean the damaged channel and lanai screen. This can be done by blowing or wiping out the channel.
- After rolling the replacement screen over the frame, cut it so there’s a 1-inch surplus on all sides.
- Using the spline tool’s convex edge, move the screen into the channel. Start with one edge to ensure proper alignment.
- Use the small-headed tool to install a couple of inches of spline. (If you want a square screen, start on the long side.)
- Use the concaved edge of the spline tool to work it into the first side’s channel. Take your time to straighten the screen. Pulling on the spline will make it easier to insert it in the channel, but it will also cause it to retract, creating a gap.
- When you near a corner, use the convex edge of the spline tool to extend the screen.
- As you spline down the next side of the frame, use the tool with the small screwdriver to work the spline into the corner. Despite being easy to use, it’s difficult to get the spline into the corner.
- Continue around the frame until you reach the beginning. Remove extra spline with a utility knife.
- Cut any remaining excess screen along the channel’s outer edge.
Although changing the screen isn’t physically demanding, there is a learning curve. It’s easy to pull the screen too tightly when working it into the channel to eliminate slack. This may pull the frame in.