The contractor that built our wood screen porch installed screen with wooden strips and nails. Unfortunately, our indoor cat has figured out that he can rip the screen out from under the wood strips and get out of the porch.

I'd like to replace the screen, and make a sturdier screen installation, while keeping the nice natural look of the wood strips.

Here's my idea:

Using a circ saw set to a depth of about 1/8", with a 1/8" blade, I'll cut a spline channel around the edges of the window openings. I'll then install the screen with spline, and nail the wooden strips back over the spline channel, both securing the spline in the channel, and making for a nice look.

Is this crazy? What could go wrong? I haven't heard of anyone using this method, so I assume there's something about it that's not ideal. I guess trying to use the circ saw on a vertical surface is a bit dodgy. Is that the only problem? Thanks!

  • There is dog or pet screen out there. Mine is a black color Tough stuff . A good old spray bottle works too.
    – user101687
    Commented May 26, 2019 at 3:30
  • Yes. Beautiful new fiberglass screen, and my cat sliced it like butter, right where her old 'hole' was. Your design idea sounds great! Commented May 26, 2019 at 15:06

3 Answers 3


This is a good idea, except 1/8" x 1/8" is kinda small. 5/32" would let you use common .160 spline. Check spline availability in your area prior to choosing groove size.

Yes, "trying to use the circ saw on a vertical surface is a bit dodgy". You should remove the panels and lay them flat on sawhorses if possible.

You should consider using a router, which would be easier to control (i.e. perhaps safer). Another benefit of the router is that it "does corners". With a circular saw (or even a table saw) you will need to saw beyond your spline corner to achieve the correct depth at the corner, which will look crappy if the cut extends beyond the wood molding.


There's less chance of ruining the door if you use the existing wood strips. When you replace the screen, add a layer of galvanized hardware cloth on the cat-facing side of the screen.


This Old House TV // Jamestown Net-Zero House // Episode 11 just covered this last season. Silva's solution are typically simple and ingenious.


Silva creates a groove by the framing design, then creates a mating piece that serves to hold the screen in place, and also easy to remove and replace.

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This solution in the video is the result of the framing construction, but the method could be applied to any screened porch, especially if the window frames are made of wood. Cutting a dado in each sash, then a mating piece with a matching rabbet would allow you to create tension in the screen while you push and secure this mating piece in.

  • 2
    Please provide the gist of the solution here. Link-only answers are discouraged on Stack Exchange networks, as they can die, leaving your answer without value.
    – isherwood
    Commented May 28, 2019 at 17:44
  • I recall that episode, however, when (not if) PBS rearranges that site, the link is of no use. Please describe the process here.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jun 3, 2022 at 16:50

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