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How to Remove Window Screen? (Methods in Different Situations)

How to Remove Window Screen? (Methods in Different Situations)

Window screens serve an important purpose. You can open the window to let in fresh air while still keeping the bugs out. However, over time they will show signs of wear and tear and will need replacing or cleaning. But how do you remove a window screen?

Luckily, the process is not at all complicated. In this article, we will share with you how to remove a window screen. We have also included information on how to stay safe and what to do with a stuck screen.

How Do Window Screens Work?

Most window screens are made of metal wire, aluminum, fiberglass, polyester, or nylon. The material is stretched inside a frame made of wood or metal and it creates a mesh. This means that you can open your window to let fresh air in without having to worry about bugs getting in.

What Style is Your Window?

Before you remove the window screen, you need to know the style of your window because windows are not universal. Instead, they come in a variety of styles and types and different windows will have different types of screens.

Casement Window

If you have a casement window, it will have hinges on the side. These windows are opened using small hand cranks. There will be no finger lifts or pins on casement window screens but they are simple to remove.

Double-hung window

There is a good chance that you have a double-hung window in your home because they are the most common window type. These types of windows have a sash that can be slid up and down when you want to have some ventilation.

Sliding window

Sliding windows are often installed in places that are not that convenient to reach, for example in bathrooms or above the kitchen sink. Sliding windows have a release latch and they slide open, which makes them easy to operate.

What Style is Your Window Screen

What Style is Your Window Screen?

There are only two different styles of window screens, Before you remove the screen, you need to know which type you have installed in your windows.

Interior Window Screen

An interior window screen has a tension-based system. The screen fits around the grooves in your window. These screens are mostly used with sliding windows. Often they will have tabs, which help with the installation and removal.

Exterior Window Screen

These screens are fitted on the outside of the window and secured with plunger pins. You can twist the pins clockwise and anticlockwise to adjust them and ensure a proper fit for your screen. Because these screens are usually paired with double-hung windows, you likely have an exterior screen at home.

How to Remove a Screen With no Tabs or Pins

If the window screen you want to remove is old or damaged, it may no longer have tabs or pins that would help you with the removal of the screen. However, missing pins or tabs doesn’t mean you cannot remove the screen. Here is what to do.

1. Prepare Your Tools

The best thing to use is a flat-head screwdriver. If you do not have one in the house, you can use a butter or a putty knife instead or another knife or tool as long as it is flat and sturdy. Using a jagged or sharp knife is not recommended because it can slip more easily and damage the frame and you can cut yourself.

2. Use Your Tool to Pry

When you have selected your tool, slide it into one side of your window frame. Slowly pry the screen with your tool until you hear a pop as the screen comes loose. Keep tracing around the screen with your tool until at least half of the screen is pried up.

3. Pulling The Screen Out

As you work around the screen, the gap between the screen and the window should get wider. When it is wide enough to fit your fingers in, you can try to pull the screen off. Note that it may still be tightly secured in places and resist pulling. Don’t be tempted to use excessive force, but continue to pry until you can pull the screen away with ease.

How to Remove a Window Screen With Tabs

If your window screen frame still has the tabs in working order, it will make the removal process easier because you won’t need to pry the screen loose with a tool. Screens that are fitted inside will have tabs while exterior screens come with plunger pins.

1. Pull The Tabs

Lift tabs are used to adjust the screen in place. The tabs have tension-spring mounts at the top part of the screen and they compress to fit the screen in place. When you want to remove your window screen, you need to pull the tabs with your fingers. This will cause the screen to pop up slightly.

2. Lift The Screen

Pulling the tabs will release the tension in the spring mounts and you can now lift the screen from the bottom. The best way to do this is to use one hand to keep the tension released and your other hand on the bottom of the screen to lift the screen up and out of the millwork groove.

3. Pull The Screen Out

Once you have lifted the screen out of the groove, you can pull it out towards you. As long as you have lifted the screen far enough, pulling it out should be easy. However, if there are any issues, tip the screen toward one side first.

How to Remove a Window Screen Wit Plunger Pins

If you are removing an exterior screen, it will have plunger pins that are used to twist to tighten and loosen the screen as needed.

1. Detaching The Sash

You need to start the process by detaching the sash. This is quite easy to do, especially on new windows that are double-hung. Find the plunger pins which usually start at the bottom of the screen. Simply pull them inward to release the screen.

2. Detaching The Screen

Once you have pulled the plunger pins in, you can remove the screen. Proceed with caution so the screen does not fall out. You should also not lean out of the window. It is better to be careful even though most screens are light and not likely to pull you with them or cause much damage should they fall.

3. Pulling The Screen Out

The final step is to pull the screen out. You may need to hold it at an angle and wiggle it. It should be relatively easy to slide the screen out of the window frame.

Removing a Full-Height Window Screen

Removing a Full-Height Window Screen

If you have a full window screen, you need to follow the same procedures described above depending on whether the screen has tabs, a plunger-pin system, or neither. However, because of the screen’s size, you may need two people to carry out the removal.

Keeping Safe And Avoiding Damage

There are some key things to remember when you are removing a window screen to keep yourself and others safe and avoid damage to the window frame or the screen.

  • Keep your feet firmly planted and position yourself so that you are balanced.
  • Do not lean on the screen.
  • If you are dropping the screen outside, check nobody is below the window. Even though the screens are not heavy, the edges can be sharp and hurt someone if the screen were to fall on them.
  • Use a wide blade for the prying to avoid damage to the frame and keep the pressure even. Damage to the frame could be costly and dangerous.

What to Do if Your Screen is Stuck?

There are several reasons why your screen may get stuck. Below you will find the common reasons and how to solve them. Here is a helpful video about removing stuck window screens.

Frozen Screen

In colder climates, the moisture on the screen, tabs, and pins can freeze. You can use antifreeze or warm water to melt the ice. Another alternative is to use a putty knife. You can insert it into the frame where the tabs are and wiggle it to remove the ice.

Rusty Pins

The plunger pins can sometimes get rusty. If this has happened, you need to remove the pin without causing damage to the screen or the window frame. Spray lubricant on the pin and wiggle it gently back and forth until it comes loose.


Your window screens retract and expand with heat and cold. If the screen is swollen, start by removing all mounting brackets and window coverings to give your more space. Next, disengage the bottom corner pin before sliding a putty knife into the gap. Twist the knife slowly to force the screen towards you.


When you want to remove a window screen, it is a simple process once you know the type of window and screen you have. Whilst you need a tool to remove the screen if there are no tabs or pins, the other two methods require no tools.

We hope this article has given you a clear guide on window screen removal. If you would like to ask us anything about removing window screens, you can write your questions in the comments box.

Eugene Dargenio

Friday 14th of August 2020

I have double hung windows with full screens. I just replaced the screening material on one. I tried putting the screen back but the screen, from the inside looks lopsided, the middle metal frame is not lining up with the middle of the window. How do I fix this?