Over the past decade, we have gradually replaced most of the windows in our home. Half sized window screens weren’t available yet when we installed the first batch of windows. The second set of installed windows had half screens, and the second I washed these windows for the first time I immediately wanted to convert the screens on the other windows.

So what’s the fuss about half screens? The biggest benefit is that a half screen can be pushed up or down like a regular window; whereas a full window screen would have to be removed. Here’s my list of benefits from having half screens so far:

  • Can quickly evict a bug from the house.
  • Can water window boxes from the inside.
  • Can wash windows from the outside.
  • Can easily wash the exterior window sill and sill assembly from inside.

It turned out to be so easy to do. The only thing you’d need to purchase (if you don’t want dirt or tiny bugs falling in through the top of the screen) is some 1/4 inch pile weatherstrip for windows. Here’s a link to what it looks like at Amazon.

These instructions assume that you have the newer screens that use an aluminum frame that is held together with plastic frame corners like these:

Plastic Window Screen Frame Corners
Plastic Window Screen Frame Corners

Tools Needed

Instructions

  • From the outside of the window, measure from the bottom of the sill to the top of the lower window and add 1/4″ (the screen needs to overlap the top window by at least 1/4 inch).
    • You’ll need to subtract from your measurement the size of the screen frame corner, which is 3/4 inch.
    • Your measurement process should look something like this:
      1. Sill to top of lower window = 28 inches
      2. Add 1/4 inch for overlap onto upper window = 28 1/4 inches
      3. Subtract width of screen corner frame = 27 1/2 inches
  • Window screens will have plunger bolts (pins) on either side of the frame near thetop. These hold the top of the screen inside the track so that they don’t fall out. You want to keep the top portion of the frame that has these bolts (pins).
    • Transfer your measurements onto your old screen starting from the top (where the pins are)
    • Pry out the spline from the portion of the window that you won’t be keeping and pull it out to about 4 inches below where your marks are on the frame. Don’t cut the spline yet.
    • Lift up the screen and fold it down also to about 4 inches below the marks on your frame.Don’t cut the screen yet.
    • Now remove/slide out the top part of the frame and the 2 screen frame corners and set aside.
    • Cut the left and right sides of your frame on your marks.
    • Re-insert the 2 screen frame corners and the top part of the frame into the left and right sides that you just cut.
    • Fold your screen back up and over the frame.
    • Begin rolling the spline back into placeusing a screen spline roller, adjusting the screen as needed for tauntness.
    • If everything looks good, trim off the excess spline and screen.

Before installing your converted screens, add a stip of 1/4 inch pile weatherstripping to the top (where the pins are located) of the new frame. This will reduce much of the dirt, pollen and tiny bugs from falling in through the top of the screen.

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