Upon buying a used manufactured home, I learned a valuable lesson; if you have a mobile home (particularly if you have children or pets), it’s important to learn how to repair a window screen. Many of the screens in my mobile home were missing and, thanks to two children and a crazy cat that realized windows were portals to the outside, the remaining ones were short-lived. Any number of things can turn your window screens into torn and shredded remnants… but never fear! If you follow this step-by-step guide to repairing window screens (or replacing window screens), you’ll see this isn’t that hard a task at all.
So You’re Missing a Window Screen in Your Mobile Home
Upon discovering that you’re missing a screen (or that you need to repair your mobile home screen), don’t make my mistake and think that all window screens are the same. House window screens rarely work for mobile home windows and, furthermore, even the windows in mobile homes can vary in size. Needless to say, you need a screen that fits your particular window. If you’re lucky, you may still have a frame for your window screen or maybe there is another window screen that you can use as a guide for what size window screens you will need. If not, it’s time to grab your tape measure.
Measuring a mobile home window screen is pretty simple. If you can’t measure another window screen of the same size, then take your tape measure and measure both the height and width of your window, from frame to frame, and then subtract 1/4 inch from the number you get on both of those measurements. This will be the size that you need your window screens to be, in order to fit in your windows properly.
Kits Vs. Starting from Scratch
You may choose to either buy a window screen frame kit or you can buy all of your window screen parts and build them from scratch. If you only have to replace one or two screens, you might find a kit to be the better option, whereas those who are planning on replacing multiple screens may find it more economical to buy parts in bulk and build them from scratch. I personally find that it’s easiest to buy a kit and then save any extra parts or tools, thereby saving me from having to buy more items down the road, should I need to buy and replace in bulk. It’s all a matter of personal preference however.
Many people just opt for purchasing pre-assembled mobile home window screens. Fortunately, you can purchase inexpensive custom-made window screens all around the internet. For many, the extra cost balances out against the time and hassle that goes into building your own window screens.
What You Need to Repair or Replace Window Screens
If you’re going to be replacing your window screens, it’s helpful to take a shopping list with you, when you go down to the local hardware store. Even better, if there’s a store that sells mobile home specific parts, you may want to head there. I’ve encountered many cases where even big-name hardware stores don’t carry to correct sizes in mobile home parts and, if you’re lucky, you’ll probably get sent on to a mobile home store anyhow (if you’re unlucky, you get sent to several hardware stores, undertaking a quest that would make any “Lord of the Rings” fan proud.
Here is a basic list of what you need, should you decide you have to completely replace your mobile home window screen:
A measuring tape
A hacksaw(if you need to cut your frame to size)
A spline tool
Utility knife (make sure it has a nice sharp blade as you will use this for trimming your excess screen)
Window screen material
A multi-pack of spline
Putting it Together
Once you’ve measured out your windows and purchased your supplies, the first step is ensuring that your window frame is the correct size for your window. Using your previous measurements, mark off the lengths of the frame and carefully cut the frame to proper lengths with your hacksaw. Before you cut, make sure that you’ve allotted the proper amount for your corner pieces (you will usually find instructions that tell you how much to subtract for the corners).
You will now want to lay the four pieces of frame out like you imagine your window to look. Insert the top spring into your metal frame and you can now push the plastic corner pieces into the frame. Congratulations! You’re halfway through now, so celebrate by setting your screen pulls into the spline track – it’s time to get that screen measured out.
Measuring the Screen
Measuring how much screen to use is a pretty simple process if you don’t mind trimming off a bit of excess at the end. Simply unroll your screen covering, laying it across your assembled frame. You want it so that a couple of inches hangs over the frame in all directions, so be sure not to cut it too closely. In this case, you want to go with a little extra. Using your scissors, gently separate the screen from the rest of the roll and set away for later.
Seating the Screen
Taking a strip of spline and your spline roller, you will now want to lay it atop your screen and slowly use the spline roller to work the spline into the groove around the frame. You will notice that, as you do this, your screen mesh will start to become more taut. Keep working around the frame, trying to keep the screen nice and straight, and push the spline into the groove.
When you’ve finished pushing your spline into the grooves, your window screen should be nice and tight and almost look like brand new. Now is your chance to take your sharp exacto blade and to trim off any excess flash. When doing so, take your time and be careful, so as not to risk cutting or poking a hole in your new screen. It’s better to leave a minute amount of flash around the screen, rather than cut too closely and damage the screen or the spline.
And that’s all there is to it! You should now have a very nice new-looking window screen that’s all ready for you to place it in your window. Remember that repairing or releasing torn or discolored screens can help your mobile home look better and it can reduce the risk of unwanted pests, such as mosquitoes, from invading your home and making you or your children ill. Have fun!
Experience as a mobile home owner