How to choose and repair a flyscreen

Opening up your doors and windows to the breeze is the cheapest way to cool your home, but if the fresh air is followed by a swarm of insects, it might be time to replace your flyscreens. It’s an easy job that will bar bugs from the house, and improve visibility through windows. Win win!

On the fly

Insect mesh comes in many varieties, from fibreglass to beautiful bronze, with each best suited to a different purpose.

Which type of screening is for you?

Gabe Clark, Bunnings product development manager direct sourcing, says fibreglass mesh is adequate for windows, where wear and tear is minimal, but recommends heavier materials like metal or ‘pet mesh’ for front and back doors, and sliders. “As they are used more, they are more likely to be punctured accidentally through normal everyday activities or by pets,” he says. 

Metal screening is essential on all windows and doors in bushfire-prone areas. Check the Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) rating on your home with your local council, and be sure that the screening you choose is compliant.

Tougher screening is a good idea if you live near the sea – stainless steel is ideal. “This would be used commonly in coastal areas where the salt air can break down the general purpose screening,” says Gabe. 

The density of the mesh may also be a factor, particularly in tropical regions or anywhere with annoying numbers of very small insects. Andrew Weeks, business development manager at Cyclone, suggests, “Look out for insect screens that have a higher number of strands per inch. ‘Miniweave’ insect screening from the Cyclone range features approximately 18 x 30 yarn strands per inch, which creates a weave structure with smaller apertures. This is almost double that in standard fibreglass insect screening, which is approximately 18 x 16 strands per inch.”

Tip: Fewer bugs outside mean fewer bugs inside. “Remove any potential breeding sites outside the home,” says Andrew. “Tip away any pooled water, and add secure lids to outdoor bins and tanks”


Six steps to replacing a flyscreen

What you’ll need: 


Utility knife

Tape measure


Spline roller


Fly screen mesh

1. Get rid of any insects lurking around

Brush away cobwebs and check for any spiders or insects that might be lurking, ready to give you a nip. Lift the screen out of the frame. Lay it out on a flat surface with all your equipment ready.

fly screen

2. Remove the spline

Use the screwdriver to lever the spline out of the corner (the spline is what locks the flyscreen into the frame), from which point you should be able to pull it out by hand. Lift out the mesh and brush the frame clean.

fly screen

3. Measure and cut the new mesh

Cut a length of the new mesh and lay it over the frame, leaving an overhang of at least 100mm all round – this will be trimmed later. 

fly screen

4. Insert the new spline

Starting in one corner, use the spline roller to push the new spline into the frame. “When rolling in the spline, work around the frame in a clockwise direction for a better, flatter result,” suggests Andrew. Use a screwdriver or the end of the spline roller to push the spline into the frame at the corners. 

fly screen

5. Trim the mesh

Use the utility knife to trim the mesh all the way around, giving it a tiny (5mm or thereabouts) overlap, so the mesh doesn’t come out.

fly screen

6. Replace the screen

Apply to new screen and enjoy a bug-free home!

Tip: Fitting metal mesh follows the same principles, but with a few little tricks to make it easier. Trim the corners at a 45-degree angle to prevent the mesh buckling. Before placing the spline, crease the mesh by running the spline roller over the mesh and into the groove. Do one side at a time, creasing first, then placing the spline into the groove and using the spline roller to press it in, as usual. 

fly screen

Stop those insects

Pop into your local Bunnings to pick up the materials needed to replace and renew your old flyscreens.

Photo credit: Alamy Stock Photo.

More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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