Modern screen doors are fairly sturdy, and in everyday use, they should last you for years. But they can, and do, get damaged. Pets or over-enthusiastic children are often the culprits, but accidents do happen. However, the good news is that repairing screens need not be an expensive job.
Don’t delay the repair job
Once you notice a tear, fix it right away. Even if it’s only a small tear, the longer you leave it, the worse it will get. Insects and bugs will get in through the smallest holes, which makes your screen almost useless. In addition, larger animals such as possums or neighboring cats and dogs will easily be able to rip the door and sneak into your home.
Should you patch or replace a damaged screen?
In general, patching isn’t an ideal solution except as a temporary fix for very small tears.
Patching can work fine if the tear is less than an inch. Simply cut out a piece of mesh a little larger than the tear and glue it in place using a suitable adhesive. Your local hardware store will be able to sell you everything you need. However, it won’t look very attractive, and there’s always a risk that the patch will come away and you’ll have to redo it.
If the tear is larger than an inch, patching is not recommended. Replacing the entire mesh is a much preferable option. The result will be stronger and will look better. If the tear is right at the edge of the screen, where it joins the frame, then patching may not work anyway.
Can you do the repair yourself or should you call a professional?
Getting a damaged screen door replaced probably costs less than you think. A professional will probably charge you $50-$60 to do the job, and it will take them about 30 minutes.
If you decide to do it yourself, this post from Popular Mechanics will show you exactly what to do. Be prepared to spend $30-$40 on the replacement mesh and splines, and another $10-$15 on specialist tools if you don’t already have them. If you’re not familiar with what the job entails, you can probably expect to spend 1-2 hours removing the screen, replacing the mesh, and then rehanging the screen, especially if you’re working alone. For larger doors or windows, ensuring a tight, flat fit can be tricky if you haven’t done it before.
Our advice is to spend a little extra and let an experienced repairman do the job for you. It’ll save you time and a lot of frustration.