How to remove window screens

Learn how to remove different types of window screens without damaging them for cleaning, repair, or replacement.

Removing a window screen is necessary for cleaning, repairs, and replacement. Some homeowners remove their window screens for the winter to allow more light into their homes. Fortunately, it’s usually an easy task to cross off the to-do list. However, depending on your window type, you might find it difficult to remove the window screen. Sometimes, it just takes the right tools to remove the hardware, and there are tricks that you might not figure out at first glance. Here, we’ve listed the common types of windows and window screens and provided step-by-step instructions for removing them.

Types of Window Screens

The type of screen your window has determines the proper steps for removal. Typically, the type of screen varies depending on your window type. Here are some of the common types of windows and their associated screens:

  • Single- or Double-Hung Windows: Single-hung windows are windows with one fixed sash and one operable sash, which moves up and down. On double-hung windows, both sashes are operable. Look for hardware or spring clips holding the screens in place for single- and double-hung window screens.
  • Sliding Windows: The sash of a sliding window slides side-to-side rather than up and down. A sliding window’s screen can be lifted from the tracks and pulled from the window.
  • Casement Windows: Instead of sliding sashes, a casement window swings out with the help of a hinge. To remove a casement window’s screen, look for clips or latches holding the screen in place.
  • Fixed-Screen Windows: Fixed-screen windows hold the screens in place by various means that may be difficult to locate. You might need an assortment of tools to remove these screens.

Take time to identify your window type and how the screen is held in place before attempting to remove it. Do not attempt to remove a screen until you’re confident about the removal process, as screens and screen frames are easily damaged.

Safety Considerations

Many windows are positioned high out of reach, requiring you to use a ladder for access. Always use safe ladder practices, starting by choosing a sturdy ladder tall enough for the job rather than standing at the top of a short ladder. Wear a tool belt or waist apron to carry any necessary tools rather than trying to hold them in your hands as you climb the ladder.If you’re removing the window screen because of a broken window, wear thick gloves and eye protection. Remove as much broken glass from the area as possible before removing the screen.

What You’ll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Ladder (if necessary for access)
  • Assorted hand tools (screwdriver, pliers)
  • Tool belt or apron
  • Drywall knife (optional)

How to Remove Window Screens

These steps outline the general process of removing a window screen. For best results, adjust the steps for your specific type of window.

  1. Identify Your Window Type

    Use the information in this guide to identify your window type and plan the screen removal accordingly.

  2. Open the Window

    Open the window until it rests in the fully open position.

  3. Look for Clips and Fasteners

    Search around the screen’s perimeter for clips, fasteners, or other types of retaining hardware. Remove or disengage the hardware using your hands or any necessary tools. You may have to disassemble a portion of the window frame for fixed window screens to access the screen.Move to the next step if you see no evidence of hardware, such as with a sliding window.

    Most clips and hardware on removable screens are intended to be removed and disengaged by hand without the help of tools. However, they can be stubborn, especially if not moved frequently. In this case, you may need a screwdriver or pliers to pop the hardware loose gently.

  4. Remove the Window Screen

    Pull the screen from the window frame. You may have to push it upward out of the track. You may have to gently pry the window screen out of the frame using a tool.

    Window screen frames are delicate and bend easily. If you must pry it from the window frame, use a comprehensive tool like a drywall knife to spread the load and prevent bending the frame.

Tips for Removing Window Screens

Follow these tips to make removing your window screens a breeze.

  • Prep the area. Window screens and sills get dirty. Before removing the screen, cover or move the furniture sitting directly below the window to minimize the inevitable cleanup.
  • Don’t be in a hurry. If you can’t seem to uncover what’s holding the window screen in place, take more time to assess before trying to pry the screen from the frame. Often, the hardware or spring clips are hidden.
  • Replace damaged screens. Don’t waste your time by reinstalling screens with tears or bent frames, as these will only allow pests to enter your home. While you have the damaged screen out, take this time to repair or replace it.
  • Clean the screen. Even if it wasn’t your primary objective for removal, you should take time to clean your window screens while they’re out. While they may not look dirty, cleaning can improve visibility and light transmission.


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