Screen Roller - Stop using
that old screwdriver !

Screen roller often found in hardware stores

The Screen roller is a tool you will quickly wish you had once you need to fix a sliding door screen using a screwdriver blade to push in the spline.

The screwdriver method does work as well as the old blunt chisel, its just tough on the hands.

The picture above shows a roller that you can often find in Home Depot or Lowes. Its not that expensive and although it wont last doing hundreds of screens its fine for the occasional repair job

The wooden handle version is preferable. There is a plastic handled roller but that tends to break very easily if you push down on it too hard

I use two different rollers like the one below is that its very useful for narrow frames and very small spline sizes. You can see how the wheels have ball bearing in them unlike the cheaper rollers you get in Home Depot.

Both these rollers are 30 years old and show no signs of wearing out

Professional screen roller with ball bearing wheels

The other size roller I use is much heavier and has a wide flange which helps shape aluminum cloth properly into the the frame while you are rolling.

There are a number of different types of professional rollers, some with narrow wheels for pushing in small diameter splines, and others with thick wheels for thicker splining.

Some also have built in cutters for trimming the cloth while others have different diameter rollers on each end. I find the cutter just get in the way, its easy to grab the utility knife and trim out the cloth.

Professional screen roller with single wheelProfessional screen roller with wide roller

Screen rollers for DIY use

The spline roller in the link below is one without a bearing but is a decent compromise if you are a do it yourselfer and want to fix your own screens.

The screening roller pictured below is used for spline sizes .130 to .180 which covers you for the most common sizes. It would also work with .250 spline. It would just be a little slower than a larger heavier roller

The kit below gives you a nice wooden handled screen roller as well as clips to hold the screen in and even little brushes to clean the spline groove out. It will work just fine if you have a few screens to fix.

You can get screening installation tools in most hardware stores. The most common is the kind that has a steel washer for a roller riveted into a plastic handle. These will work all right but are no good if you have a lot of screens to fix as they will quickly break.

An old blunt chisel or flat blade screwdriver is also necessary to help guide the spline around the corners of the frame. Much easier than doing this all around the frame.

You will also need a utility knife to trim around the frame to remove the excess cloth. The knife helps with cutting sun baked spline out too. (You dont honestly think its always going to come out nicely in one piece do you!)

Avoid the installation tools that look like plastic knives with a thick blade. They are easily available in just about any good hardware store but they are just too awkward to use.

You will just wind up with blistered hands from doing one patio door. As well you will have to push so hard that its likely the cloth will end up getting damaged.

Trimming a corner of a screen using a utility Knife

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