Replacement Screens for Windows serve as the first barrier between the inside of your home and the outside world. As such, they offer a much-needed layer of protection, not only for you but also for the window itself.
Replacement screens for windows come standard with most newer modern windows. Many placement Rescreen types are available, ranging from traditional rigid frame screens to flexible frame varieties. There are also more complex screens, such as roll-up or hidden screens that hide in the head or the jamb of the windows.
When replacing your window screens due to damage or age, taking good measurements is key. An ill-fitting window screen will not be as effective at keeping bugs out and may look odd on your windows and doors.
This article helps explains to measure your windows for a window screen replacement. It’s a quick and easy method you can do yourself without needing to call a professional.
Before we talk about measurement, you need to determine a few things.
What kind of Replacement screens are you measuring for?
The most common Replacement Screens will be for single-hung windows, double-hung windows, or Casement windows, in that order.
A single-hung window is one where only one-half of the window can be opened. As such, you’ll only need a replacement screen that covers the bottom half of the window (which is why they’re also sometimes called half-screens).
A double-hung window is one where both halves can be opened separately (this may mean the left and right windows or the upper and lower). In this case, the replacement screen will usually cover the entire window. If the Window is Tall, the Replacement Screen may have a Horizontal support bar positioned where the top and bottom sashes meet.
A Casement window project out so the replacement screen will be placed on the Inside of the window. The Replacement Screen will cover the full width and height of the Opening, but will not have any of the supporting cross bars often found in Double Hung Windows.
Tip: to properly measure your window screen for replacement, you must pay attention to the L-channel (width channel) and the U-channel (height channel). The “trenches” inside your window frame will secure the screen, ensuring it doesn’t fall and offers sturdy protection. The U-channel will be either on the left/right sides or the up/downsides. It’s typically the shorter side of the window. The L-channel is simply on the remaining two sides and is longer.
How to measure for single-hung window screens
The good news is, you don’t even need to leave the house to measure for window screens.
Note: Below, we give a guide on measuring window screens for replacement. That means you’ll be measuring your existing screens. If you’re measuring without existing screens, apply the same measuring techniques inside the U-channel and L-channel of your window frame, and subtract ¼” from the measurement. If you will also need to install hardware (e.g., handle, slider, etc.) on any side of the window, you’ll need to subtract ⅛” extra.
Step 1. Open the window, and measure the width of the screen. You want to ensure you measure from left to right on the top of the existing screen and write that down.
Step 2. Next, measure the bottom side of the screen, also from left to right. Because of the way most window screens are built, one side will likely be smaller than the other. Now typically, the experts manufacturing your screens will only need the smaller measurement. However, in the interest of safety, you can give them both measurements, and they will know what to do.
Step 3. Measure the length. Be careful now, to get an accurate measurement, you will need to remove the existing window screen from its frame and lay it out on a flat surface. Here, as well, you need to measure from top to bottom, first on the left, then on the right.
Step 4. Next, we need to measure the depth of the window screen frame. Now, this can be a tad tricky, since there are so many different manufacturers out there. Most commonly, frames come in 5/16”, ⅜”, or 7/16”, with 5/16” being the most popular.
To measure depth, you must measure the left and right window frame tracks. Depending on the type of window, these may alternatively be on the top and bottom sides.
Step 5. For extra safety, measure the depth of the ridges inside the window frame, where the screen will go. If in doubt, it’s best to go with a standard 5/16”, and consult with the firm putting in your window frames.
Tip: Make sure you take into account hardware specifications. For instance, installing handles may require you to adjust your measurements. You can typically find all the information you need on the product specifications of your chosen screen.
How to measure Replacement Screens for double-hung windows
Now, let’s talk a bit about measuring for double-hung window screens. For this, we’ll change things up a little because measuring an existing screen for double-hung windows follows much the same process as above. So instead, we’ll show you how to measure double-hung windows for screens without an existing screen.
For this, you need to examine the window frames. The material of the window frame will impact the measuring process quite a bit. If working with metal or PVC window frames, you’ll see the familiar U-channels and L-channels we discussed. If measuring a timber frame, you’ll see “stoppers” (so-called because they stop the window screen from falling).
Tip: If working with U-channels and L-channels, ensure you only measure one. Though the window screen will be fitted over both, you don’t need to measure both. Doing so will give you an inaccurate result, which will mean that the screen will be the wrong size.
Step 1. Open your window and examine the bottom side. Using a tape measure, measure from the innermost part of the channel to the opposite end.
Step 2. If your window is perfectly square, feel free to skip this step. If it’s not perfectly square, you may also want to measure the top ridge. You need to subtract ¼” from the shorter measurement.
Step 3. Measure the height of the window screen. As above, make sure you measure both the external side of the window and the internal (in some cases, this will be where the two windows meet). This time, subtract ⅛” of the smaller measurement.
Don’t worry – it’s’ really not as complicated as it looks. If you’ve handled a tape measure once in your life, you’re qualified to measure for window screen replacements. However, if the above process sounds like too much of a hassle, don’t worry.
There are experts equipped to do this for you. The company that will install your frames will usually handle the measurements to avoid any mistakes. So hopefully, now you have a fair understanding of the three important measurements (width, height, and thickness) that you need to pick an appropriate window screen.
If you just want to avoid the hassle, we advise hiring a qualified professional and leaving the measuring up to them. After all, precision is vital here, otherwise, you risk getting a window screen that won’t fit and thus leaving your home without vital protection.
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