TO PATCH OR NOT TO PATCH?
Should I patch my screen or have it completely rescreened?
If the damage is minor, let’s say a hole about the size of a dime or smaller or a "clean" small tear, patching may do. If the hole is larger, has shredded mesh threads or you have multiple holes, we recommend having your screens rescreened. A patch will keep out the mosquitoes, but your screen's durability will never be 100% and be strong enough to stand up to pets, squirrels, birds, flying debris, the push of a hand and more. Obviously patching is a short term fix and even if you do a half way decent job, it will never look as good as replacing the entire screen. The best way to ensure durability and longevity is to have your windows rescreened. The easiest way is to have a professional do it for you. Why?
Rescreening is truly an art. You have to get the placement just right or the mesh threads will not be straight and can be annoying when looking through them. The tension has to be spot on or otherwise you bow in the window screen frame and it won't fit properly in your window. The right size of spline needs to be used, otherwise your screen mesh may pop out with the push of a child's hand or your pet, bumping into it, strong winds or other scenarios.
Most home improvement stores sell a limited style of screen mesh which is made in Mexico and/or China. This means their screen mesh is of lower quality due to low or no regulations and possible inconsistencies in the mesh threads -- too wide, too close together, missing strands, etc. This can mean more trouble for you in the long run of returning the product and starting over while hoping this doesn't happen again. By that time, you'll have spent more time and money than necessary and given yourself a headache combined with a higher level of frustration. Save yourself all that trouble and hire an expert who will take the screen out of the window without damaging the frame and let them rescreen and reinstall it perfectly.
If you still want to try patching, here are some tips:
1. For metal screens, patches are available at most any hardware store or home improvement center. Just pick out a patch a little larger than the hole to be covered, unravel the wire about ¼” to ½” on all sides to expose individual strands and bend the strands at the right angles (on some patches this is already done). Place the patch over the hole with the bent strands protruding through the screen, bend the strands back down by hand on the other side and you're done.
2. For fiberglass screens, small holes can be repaired by dabbing a few drops of nail polish or household cement over the hole and building it up in layers until the hole is filled in.
3. When patching any screen-metal or fiberglass-get the strands of the patch to line up with the mesh of the screen to make the repair as neatly as possible. No matter how careful you are, patching your screening does not look as good as replacing it.
To be honest, this patch for the door is going in a tough spot needing repair. The spline will need to be pulled up and is most likely old and will need replacing. It can be a challenge to pull the main screen back into place while putting the spline back in and keeping the main screen mesh tight and secure during the repairs.