Country Living Series

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Frugal fixes

A few months ago when we had many of the cows in the driveway area, our little Jersey heifer Polly decided she liked window screens. As in, eating them. Bad Polly, bad! Nonetheless, the damage was done: most of the screens within her reach were either severely damaged or just plain gone. (Miraculously, this apparently did no damage to her digestive system.) Bottom line, I removed all the screens and stored them away until such time as we moved Polly and the other animals down to the pasture.

But with the warm weather upon, we needed the screens back on the windows to keep the mosquitoes out. Time to do some frugal fixes.

For the badly damaged screens, the entire mesh needed to be replaced. So I pulled the rubber gasket from around the perimeter and took out the screen.

Meanwhile we had some screening we'd bought at a yard sale a few years ago. It had holes here and there, so we cut out whole screens from the most non-hole-y parts.

Then came the tedious process of poking the gasket back into the frame. Took a long time.

For screens that had less damage, we could get away with patches (often using the leftover undamaged portions of the badly damaged screens). I trimmed the torn areas...

...and fitted the spots with patches, which I sewed on.

The results may not be beautiful, but the screens are perfectly functional and it saved us bucko bucks from buying new screens.


  1. Heh. German Shepherd got scared of the noise in a thunderstorm and ripped off our screen door screen. Unfortunately, there's not enough left of it to repair!

  2. That was great work. I know the job of replace entire screens is a pain. I love the idea of just patching screens up. I will file that away for future use. Thank you for your practical tips, they really are appreciated.

  3. Gee, I thought only goats vandalized property like that.

    Learn something new every day:-)


  4. I'll be doing that soon to the screening fabric on our tent... it didn't occur to me to do it on the house screens - thanks Patrice!

    Xa Lynn

  5. We had to replace the screens on the front windowns of our house a few months ago. The wind usually blows from the southwest, and the screens on the south side of the house were pretty ragged! They make a plastic tool to push the gaskets back into the frames, and it works great! We bought one at the local hardware store for around $1.50. Sure beat pushing and cramming the gasket back in with a butter knife!

  6. Oooh, thanks Anon 8:07! I never thought to look for a tool specific to this task, but you can bet I'll try to find one right away.

    - Patrice

  7. I never heard of a cow eating a screen but I did have one who kept eating baseballs any time one was hit into its field

  8. The gasket is called spline and the tool is called a spline tool or roller, take a small sample to the store they come in many different sizes. The real trick is keeping the frame square while you roll in the spline. I'll bet Don can figure out how to do that in 2 words or less. Love all the info I get here. Thanks.
    A Redneck in Reno

  9. Well done,smart lady you are...


    Your screen looks almost identical to mine! LOL It's one of the only two such examples I or anyone I know has ever seen: yours and mine!

    Too funny!!

    (And Anon 8:07 is right. I picked up a spare at a yard sale for 25 cents. Handy tool.)

    In my case it was kitties and their claws, in other words a totally run of the mill thing. Now a screen-eating calf is a whole 'nother story!

    I takes a while to do the stitching, but it's well worth it. Mine has lasted through multiple seasons.

    And you'll be glad to hear that if you're out of screen for patches you can use the wide clear packing tape...yep...the stuff you're about to use to ship out this new batch of tankards! SUPPPRIZZE! lol.

    No kidding. I have one patch I did that way three summers ago and it's still fine. I did it the very same way as we've done the screen mesh.
    I put the tape on both sides of the screen and stitched it down. I prefer to use the screen since it lets the air flow through, but the tape works great in a pinch. And it's way better than getttin' skeeter bit, huh?

    Oh too funny.

    All great minds think alike!!

    (And we're modest, too!! LOL)

    A. McSp

  11. You can get entire kits - Nylon Screen, replacement splines and the tool - for less than $20 at most home improvement stores.

  12. Save the Canning JarsJuly 24, 2011 at 7:12 AM

    Hi Patrice,
    Have been out of state for days so I'm late with commenting. Two things:

    Last year I bought HEAVY DUTY screen at Lowe's, and it wasn't expensive. It's for cats, dogs, etc. who claw and are generally rough on screens. The thickness difference is AMAZING!

    Secondly, Lehman's sells screen tape on a roll. Reminds me of duct tape, but instead of being solid, it is ventilated. It's purpose is to make an easy patch to the smaller holes and tears.

    What will they thing of next?