It's surprisingly easy to repair, patch, or mend these important household essentials.

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Torn door and window screens not only let in annoying insects and make a house look unkempt, but they can also be a health hazard. Since metal mesh was first used as screening, it has helped people avoid mosquito-borne diseases. Fortunately, repairing or replacing screens is simple enough to do yourself.

Patching small holes and minor tears can be easier and less expensive than replacing an entire screen, says draftsman and carpenter Paul Robinson. "Most hardware stores sell patch kits ($2.84, homedepot.com), which contain precut squares of aluminum screening that have their side wires, or 'teeth,' bent at a right angle to fit through the old screen's mesh," he explains. "Alternatively, you can cut your own patch from a length of screening." Just remember that when you measure your frame, always allow for an extra inch of screening on each side, he adds.

If just one of your screens is damaged, it's easiest to simply patch it. Follow this two-step technique, as recommended by Robinson.

woman repairing window screen
Credit: Kyryl Gorlov / Getty Images

Trim the Tear

Cut around the hole with a utility knife, creating a neat square opening with flat, even edges and no dangling teeth. Cut out a patch of screen that's 1/2 inch larger on all four sides. You'll need more wire screen mesh (which can be purchased at a hardware store or cut from a screen you no longer use). Most hardware stores sell mesh with about 250 holes per square inch, which is fine enough to keep out mosquitoes. Some screening has nearly 500 holes, which can block midges, but which also blocks a bit more sunlight.

Cover It Up

Unravel a few strands of wire from each side of the patch. Use needle-nose pliers to fold the prongs to 90 degrees. Cover the hole with the patch, inserting the bent strands into the mesh. Holding the patch against the screen with one hand, flatten the strands on the opposite side of the screen to hold it in place. When it comes to repairing synthetic screening, it's worth noting that this type of screening doesn't have malleable teeth, so it's more difficult to patch neatly. In this case, you can apply silicone ($5.24, homedepot.com) to the synthetic screen using a cotton swab and set the patch in place. After it dries, sew the four patch edges in place with a needle and lightweight fishing line.

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