Removing old brittle #screen spline

by Gaby
(Weston, FL, USA)

Heavy Duty Utility Knife

Heavy Duty Utility Knife

Hi,

I need help. I want to chance my patio screen but the spline it's too old and with exposure to the sun, heat and water from the outside it has become impossible for me to remove the old splice. What can I do?, Is there a product to help me remove it?

Thanks

Hi Gaby;

Removing old brittle plastic screen spline is not fun but I find its easier with a good heavy duty utility knife.

I use the knife to cut right the spline from top to bottom. You have to press hard to cut right through. The spline usually falls apart as you are cutting it.

You need to make several cuts until the spline just falls out in small pieces. Sometimes just crumbs.

The thick handle on the Stanly knife makes it easier to hold onto and control when you are using a lot of pressure.

I also use a sharp pointed awl to dig out all the stubborn little pieces that wont come out easily after the knife.

You could do the job with a smaller regular knife but you would have to be really careful to keep it from jumping out of the spline channel and possibly cutting yourself.

However you look at it, its a nasty messy job. Put a drop cloth under the screen before you start so the mess doesnt get everywhere.

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Jan 15, 2021
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WD 40
by: Anonymous

I tried to get very old spline out yesterday. It wouldn’t budge. Totally stuck because I think it’s been there since the house was built in 2005. I came up with the idea to spray it with WD40 and leave it overnight. This morning I used my knife and made a couple of cuts and I managed to pull the spline out with no problems at all. Go WD40.

Jan 12, 2021
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Easy peazy!
by: Anonymous

Made a hard job easy. Thank you!

Dec 29, 2020
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thanks for the utility knife tip
by: Spinor

The utility knife method worked for me. That made a tedious job into a breeze. My old splines were so brittle, they crumbled easily without a whole lot of pressure on the knife. I laid the screen in the driveway so I could sweep the mess away afterwards.

Dec 24, 2020
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OR, just bend a medium nail into a hook
by: Anonymous

I looked up the part at Harbor freight and it was only $.99. However, shipping made it $8.66. Amazon included shipping but the tool ran about $12. Recommend you just get two medium size nails and bend one into a right angle and the other into a hook and use them with a pair of pliers. (Or, I can send you two bent nails for $8.65.

Nov 10, 2020
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Thanks for healing the pain in my spline
by: John H.

3 in 1 oil and a soft mallet to firm up the corners, worked for me..

Jun 29, 2020
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Screen removal technique
by: Anonymous

Heat water in a tea kettle and pass the hot water over the spline, use a 1/8" screwdriver and lift one edge of it, pull it up and out! So glad I didn't use the 10w40 idea!

May 25, 2020
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Reinforce WD40 idea
by: Pygmyman

It was still a pain to get out the old spline - it kept breaking up BUT the WD40 did seem to help a lot!

May 25, 2020
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Easy peasy
by: Anonymous

Harbor freight sells a sells of tool # 63697 for $2.00 I used to remove spline without effort. After spending time trying to remove dry rotted spline inch by inch , and spraying with wd 40 which may have soften spline a little. This tool actually ripped spline out in seconds. I tried other methods , and none were effective, took too much time. The tool is designed to remove gasket, o rings and debris from tight places. Best tool for the job I found. Save yourself some time, and frustration . Only $2. I which I could upload a picture, just search harbor freight for number above.

May 08, 2020
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Replacement spline
by: Kevin

i have the old Plastic spline as well.
do anyone know where to get the old type.
this new rubber material is too lose and well sucks.

Apr 24, 2020
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Use a painters tool
by: Anonymous

The spline on my door was crumbling into powder, it’s 12 years old.

Instead of trying potentially messy liquids like wd40 I just used a painters tool and scraped back and forth in small sections.

It crumbled out easily.

Vacuumed it out.

Super easy.

Hope that helps.

Oct 07, 2019
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My way
by: Anonymous

There is a tool made for scoring cement board that has (2) carbide inserts for scoring the board. That tool is ideal for removing stuck or brittle screen spline. I also use it for cleaning the grooves in door frames when replacing the weather stripping.
I never tried using WD40 however I am going to combine the methods on a project in a few days.
JW

Jul 08, 2018
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Great idea wd40
by: Anonymous

Genius WD40 WORKS Great!

Jun 13, 2018
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Getting out dried spline.....
by: Anonymous

I got do agitated when the spline started to break after only about 6" or so pilled out. First thing I thought was,"Use your head and either wet it or spray with WD40". By wetting it, I was afraid it would get worse and I didn't want an added mess. After spraying WD40 all around, I used pliers and it pulled out with ease. I did pull from an angle other than a straight uo and out pull.

May 08, 2018
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Old spline removal
by: Susan

TaniJ - thanks so much for the WD40 tip! Worked really well

Sep 23, 2017
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WD 40 works
by: Tani J

Tried everything, pliers, knife, ice pick under the spline. Tried one of the Drimmel attachments that wouldn't harm the aluminum, inch by inch. NOTHING worked save to remove a few inches or less at a time.

WD 40 worked. Someone on here suggested it and it worked. It didn't slide out. It pulled out. There is screen under that spline, it all came out.

I am thinking of getting 1x2 pressure treated wood pieces, like the old fashioned screens were made. Screw them INTO the aluminum frame inside the lanai, 3 screws would be enough for a long piece I think, if not, perhaps 5. Then simply staple gun the screen to that wood. Easy to fix, easy to replace, no spline.

Sep 14, 2017
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Slide it out, don't pull it out
by: Anonymous

I recently had some screens in my patio enclosure become damaged by Hurricane Irma. The spline & screens were installed in 2008 after Wilma. The spline on some of the panels was totally brittle and dry. If I try to yank up a piece and pull it out with a plyer, it cracks off. What has worked for me is WD-40 sprayed along the entire length of the spline. I then took a 1/8" inch screwdriver and a hammer and was able to get the spline moving in the slot back and forth. I then popped out a small piece and slid the whole thing out sideways (or vertically depending on whether working on a horizontal or vertical section).

Jun 10, 2017
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success!
by: cpyne

i got mine out using a sewing seam ripper! perfect tool to get into a corner and gently pry up some ancient dirty melted spline

Sep 29, 2016
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Soften it
by: Ray

I had a hard time with the spline crumbling and thought I could soften it. At first I tried a little WD and oil on a removed piece, no luck.
I considered the heat gun, but only for a moment, then I went for the tea kettle. Boiled some water, made a few passes along one edge, took an ice pick and slid it right under and the whole side came out. repeated on the other 4 sides.

Jun 03, 2016
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Slot driver to the rescue
by: Sherwood

You can also try a narrow slot screwdriver. The smallest standard one is 1/8" which will get into most spline grooves. You may find that sharpening one side to a chisel edge to get under the edge will help.

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