Spline Tool, er, pet screen, no definitely, it’s a spline tool.

Since we installed a new patio door three years ago we have been though three screen doors. Well, I have been through one -tore the screen the very first week – and Marley has been through the other two.

When I say I have been through one, I mean exactly that. The 2nd day the door was up, I was on my way to the grill, forgot about the new door (we had the screen off the old door for a few weeks so I sort of forgot there was a screen door). Because I was holding a plate of raw meat with both hands, I couldn’t grab the door jam to stop myself. I stepped right through the screen door. The door gave a valiant try to resist me, but ultimately it was no match for my forward motion, meat- in- hands- on- a- mission- to- the- grill self. The door slightly bent, then popped out of the track. Fell forward, landed on the corner of a deck chair and put a nice little L-shaped tear in the screen.  After I spew a few expletives, I inspected the screen and wondered what to do about the torn screen. Now, I could have fixed it there and then using the technique I am about to describe, but we had just installed 12 new windows and a patio door, I had done my share of do-it-yourself home improvement for a little while.

So I called Lowe’s, told them my brand new door had a tear in the screen and was there any type of warranty. They just sent a new door! Nice, huh?  So, we had the bent door with the torn screen and a new screen door. We stashed the bent door in the garage behind a bunch of other junk, er, things and pretended like nothing had ever happened.

Now Marley had just turned one when we installed the door. Our sweet canine has never barked when he wants to come in but he does paw at the door. When those long nails connect with the screen it eventually wears into a tear.

He has gone though two doors. When he broke through the first door, I just let him keep scratching until I couldn’t look at the torn screen any more (and it was letting bugs in) I put in the old bent screen that already had a tear a few feet higher. This summer I decided it was time to fix both screens and start over. I half-heartedly tried to talk Marley into using a different method to notify me that he was at the door. I didn’t care that much, the tear in the screen was a little annoying but at least he wasn’t scratching up the new door. 

I took these screens apart before I decided to write a blog, so you can’t see the scratches very well. They were about six inches long and lots of mosquitos were getting in.

Hmm, I said this post was going to be about the spine tool but the more I think about it, the more I really want to tell you about the screen.

 Replacing a screen is really easy. All you need is a spine tool, a blade and a screwdriver (I used a tiny screwdriver, too, but one is sufficient).

I am not sure the screwdriver is recommended because it’s too easy to slip and put your screwdriver through the screen but it also makes the job go much faster ( I am all about faster–some people want the job done right, I’d rather have it done mostly right but much faster. Which is why I time all my jobs. I only consider it a successful project if I can beat my time from the last time I did the job.) However, if you do slip and put your screwdriver through the screen, that will slow the job down considerably. Since this blog is about tools I would suggest once you get the right tools, you Google replacing screens. They are all about the same so I look for who is in the most precarious location to do such a job. There is one guy who replaces his screens on his deck on a windy day, that was a good one.

With a small learning curve anyone can replace any of their screens and save tons of money. When I went to Lowe’s to buy the screen – I was going to buy it in bulk right off the roll since I had two to replace. It was going to cost about $6.50 a door to buy the screen. I didn’t need spline (the rubber stuff that keeps the screen in the place) because I was going to use the spline in the door. I have replaced screen with really old spline and it still worked fine. New spline is easier to work with because it’s much more pliable but it also adds to the cost of the project. I’d rather spend my extra pennies on dog treats than new spline. These doors were new enough that it was like using new spline. It was nice and rubbery. Removing the spline is easy and fun but it stretches so you have more left over  that you’ll have to cut off. Don’t let that worry you. (In case you are wondering…I used the word the spline 8 times in this paragraph, not counting this last time I used it).

I had the screen all picked out but then I found this:

Pet Screen!

It was twice the price so instead of spending $13 for two sceens, I spent it on one but, boy, does this stuff work well!

It was much thicker to cut so I had to press a little harder but it still cut neatly.

It’s been installed since the first of August and it isn’t showing the slightest wear. Figure Marley goes outside 10 times a day (I have no idea how many times he goes out,  I just said 10 to make it sound like we’re really attentive to his needs) multiplied by how many days it’s been since the first of August and it’s proof this is great screen. Eventually I am going to put a crowbar in my wallet and spend the $13 for the other slightly bent screen. But as easy of a job this is and how great this screen is, maybe I won’t need to.

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