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DIY OR NOT? REPAIR A TORN SCREEN

Considering all the things that go through screen doors, it's surprising they don't have more holes poked in them. Kids' flying objects, the corners of sharp packages, even the pointy ends of umbrellas are threats to screens in most households. If you do puncture a screen, the good news is that repairing it is not rocket science. The materials and tools are inexpensive, easy to use and sold at hardware stores and home centers. - A handyman will charge $65 to replace a damaged door or window screen, but you can do the job in less than an hour for $20, the cost of the replacement screening and a splining tool. You'll pocket a nice 69 percent saving for your effort. - To make the repair, remove the screen, lay it on a flat surface, and use an awl or screwdriver to remove the screen fabric and rubber spline that holds it in place. Measure the old screening and get new material a few inches longer and wider, and do the same with the spline you removed. To make sure you get the correct diameter of spline, take it to the store with you for reference. - Lay the new screening on top of the screen frame and force the new spline into the groove in the frame with a splining tool (an inexpensive gadget that looks like a pizza slicer). Then use a utility knife to trim away any excess spline and screen fabric. - If there's only a small hole in a screen, pick up a screen repair kit with precut patches; the patches have sharp edges that you weave into the screen over the damaged area.

Gene and Katie Hamilton, Tribune Media Services

Pro cost DIY cost Pro hours DIY hours DIY savings Percent saved $65 $20 0.2 0.8 $45 69% Source: Tribune Media Services

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