How to Install Porch Screens for Breezy Outdoor Living

Let in the breeze and keep bugs out with our step-by-step instructions for building a screen porch with window screens that use a simple track system.

Photo: Richard Leo Johnson
Project Overview
  • Working Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Skill Level: Beginner

A screen porch offers three-season outdoor living, not to mention relaxing breezes, a handy area for casual entertaining, and, best of all, no bugs. If you're planning on building a screened-in porch or just need to fix a window, follow our step-by-step tutorial for installing a screen system. This easy method requires only a few power tools and features a handy track system. Depending on the size of your window or porch, this is one outdoor project you can cross off your list in just a weekend.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Straightedge
  • Drill
  • Chop saw
  • Rubber mallet
  • Utility knife
  • Screen Tight roller knife


  • Screen Tight Mini Track screw clips
  • Screen Tight Mini Track channel
  • Fiberglass screen
  • Screen Tight Mini Track spline


  1. Install Screws

    Using a straightedge, draw a line through the center of the opening to be screened. Measure and mark the placement for the screw clips ($29 for 100, The Home Depot), about 8-10 inches apart along the line, starting and ending 2 inches from each corner. Drill a pilot hole at each mark. Insert a screw clip into each hole; do not overtighten. Use a small channel piece (we used the Screen Tight track system) to properly adjust the height of each screw clip so that the channel slides easily over the screw without being too loose. Repeat on all four sides of your window.

  2. install screen system tap channel onto screw clips with rubber mallet
    Jason Donnelly

    Install Channel Pieces

    Cut channel pieces ($11 for 8 feet, The Home Depot) to fit the top and bottom of the opening using a chop saw. Install the pieces by sliding the end of a channel piece over an end screw, then tap the rest of the channel onto the screw clips with a rubber mallet. After the top and bottom channels are installed, measure, cut, and install the side channels in the same manner.

  3. install screen system trim excess screen with roller knife
    Jason Donnelly

    Fasten Screen to Tracks

    Cut a piece of fiberglass screen a few inches larger than the opening. Starting at the top of the opening, lay the screen across the top channel track. Using a roller knife, evenly push the spline ($25 for 300 feet, The Home Depot) into the top track channel groove, fastening the screen into the groove as you go. Continue pushing the spline into one side track, then repeat on the opposite side, ensuring that the screen remains straight as you work. Insert the spline into the bottom channel track last.

  4. install screen system complete porch with plants
    Jason Donnelly

    Trim Porch Screen

    If needed, remove the spline and adjust the screen. Trim excess screen mesh flush along each edge using a utility knife.

Updated by
Joseph Wanek
joseph wanek headshot

Joseph Wanek is a senior stylist and producer with more than a decade of experience in the business of publishing and commercial photography. His area of expertise is prop styling for home and garden photo shoots. Wanek's work has been featured in Better Homes and Gardens, Do It Yourself, Design Sponge, DSM Magazine, and more. He has styled photography and video for major brands such as Walmart, Lowe's, Proctor and Gamble, and 3M.

Wanek started his career in newspaper journalism and photography but after working with magazine publications, his passion for home design evolved into his current profession as a prop stylist. His love of gardening, plants, and all things outdoor living has been featured in newspapers, magazines, and digital publications.

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