Cheaply Replacing Window Screens

Not all technology used by a real estate investor has to be on a computer and come from cutting edge electronics.  Sometimes simple gadgets can save investors a lot of time and/or money.  One of these gadgets that I really like to keep in my tool bag is a spline roller.

Pretty much every rehab I have ever done has had at least a few broken window screens. When I first started fixing up properties I would collect up all the broken screens and take them over to the local hardware store for repair.

Then I found out that it cost around $45-$60 to repair each screen.  That can really add up when you have to replace 10-15 screens in a house.  So I started looking into what it really took to repair these screens.  That’s when I came across the spline roller.

The spline roller is one of the few tools you need to replace screens at your investment properties.    With this roller, a knife, and a little practice, you can replace a damaged window screen in about 10-15 minutes.  They cost just a few dollars at home depot.

As you will see from the video below, replacing screens is pretty easy.  If you can replace 4 screens an hour, your savings will be up to $240 an hour.  Not a bad swap of time for money.

I cut the spline after each side. Some of the folks who better at this probably don’t have to, but I find when I run the spline around the whole screen continuously, the frame starts warping and bending.

Because I cut the spline, I do two parallel sides first, and then the other two parallel sides.  That seems to stop the bending.

Another thing I don’t do is worry about saving the old screen,  I just use the screen frame as a template to cut the new screen material.  Since your trimming off the excess anyway, it should work fine.

Many times your screen may have a bent frame as well.  Most home stores have kits to totally rebuild a frame for about $10-$15.  If you use the framing material well, and you buy the 60″ window kit, you can often make two window frames out of the kit.  You can find all these materials in the doors and window section of any big box store.

One other word of warning.  The old houses have window frames with wide channels.  You will need to find some spline material (the little piece of rubber you run in the channel) that is wide enough to stay in the channel.  I will usually bring one of the old frames to the store and fit it with a piece of spline to find the right size.  If you get one too small it won’t stay in the channel.