Removing Screens from the Outside

I thought I saw someone ask this question somewhere before but I can find where.

Are there any tricks to removing screens that have the 2 pins at the bottom that you have to pull inward? I would imagine you would only have to pull one of the pins, then slightly twist and pull the other side of the screen toward the middle.

Please let me know if you have any tricks to do this and what is needed to do so.

All you need is a flat head screwdriver.

I use 1 1/2 inch flexible putty knives, though it doesn’t work with all of those pins (e.g. damaged, “sticky,” etc.)

I see alot of screens damaged by the use of screwdrivers, so I always advise customers that I do not use them for this reason.

Well you have to be smarter than the screwdriver or just remove the screens from the inside.

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I didn’t state that Doug damaged screens or frames with his screwdriver – I just don’t want to be in the position to be blamed for someone else’s mistakes.

And, I do believe a putty knife works better – it’s flexible, thinner, and less aggresive.

Does it work better on the regular windows that we have out here in California Larry, being that i do not run into houses that have the screens with the pins in them?

As much as I hate to agree with Larry, I use a putty knife also. Or even better, a painter’s tool.

I guess i am going to the Home Depot then…

I rarely see the screens with pins, either. The putty knife also allows me to replace those screens from the exterior without going back into the house/room on occasion.

I carry the putty knives in pairs – for stubborn screens, I use them on both sides of a corner to pop it out. I haven’t used a screwdriver or Leatherman on screens after my first year in business.

Great on patio screen doors as well – just let the bottom rollers pass over the putty knife to get them off the track.

Doesn’t everyone?

I tried a painter’s tool as well, but they’re not flexible like the putty knives I use.

Is this what you mean?

I think it’s always best to remove screens from the inside with plunger latches (pins) when possible. Even when using a putty knife there is a chance of bending a screen.

I can’t live without my bent putty knife. It’s a must! If you’re using a putty knife already, try a bent one. I bet you’ll like it. They are much more versitile I think.

Try using a butter knife. It sounds a bit strange I know, but they are great for removing screens. Just try it.


The bottom line is sometimes they just can’t be removed from the exterior. I don’t care what we use. i prefer not to spend an extra 30 minutes playing with this type of stuff. For my regular customers I tend to flip the screens (if the screens are the type that I can) and then when I go back all of the pins are facing out.

I do the same thing , although make sure the homeowner is on board as there is usually a warning sticker on the inside and they will have a problem removing any second floor screens themselves without a ladder, although everyone has central air these days so thats not likely

a painters tool always works for me.

Yeah, but I get the cheap ones from the dollar store. They’re thinner and more flexible so it’s easy to get under tight screens and lift them out. I also use it to scrape gunk out of the tracks if they’re bad and I can do it without damaging the track.
If the screens are designed to be removed from the inside I get 'em from the inside.

I believe alot of it is personal preference. Myself we use both screwdrivers & flexible putty knife’s as well.On screens with plunger pins its best to just remove from the inside,saves on all the drama of possible damage. I had one gig where the whole house was plunger pins the master bedroom has 1 window totally blocked(on the inside) with a huge king size bed head board.

Wound up removing the spline to get to the pin,only because the window was filthy.

On slider screens most have “adjustment screws” located about an inch from the bottom on all 4 corners just turn them out helps release the tension makes it easier to remove if…your washing them.I have also run into sliders with the adjustment screws located in the inside portion of the frame about a 1’ in same rule applies loosen them to get tight fitting ones out.

What’s tricky is trying to get out sliders that have vinyl frames with that lip at the bottom it can range from 1/2" to 3/4" Milgards are notorious for them.

In Oklahoma we call that a 5 in 1. Never heard those refered to as a painters tool. But I do know it to be five tools in handle.

I keep both a 5in1 and a putty knife (non bent) in my tool belt. The 5in1 comes in handy digging out the mud that builds in the corner of the exterior sills.

As far as the screens with the pins… total case by case scenario. Somtimes I can aim right for the pin with my putty. With one flick of the wrist it will pop. Other times I have to aim at the center of the screen frame directly in between the pins, plungers, whatever. May bend the screen a little but practiced repeatedly you can get the pins to pop out of the frame without bending the screen too far. (Pending on the size of the screen)

Just my experience.

The other day I did a house that had all the screens screwed on with phillips head screws at eight points per screen.:eek:

Crazy huh?

What will they think of next?

Holy Crabs!:eek:

Did you charge extra or just grin and bear it?