DIY Phone Screen Replacement

cracked phone screen

Yup, that’s a cracked screen.

I’ve had my cellphone for over two years now and in that time, I’ve dropped it dozens if not hundreds of times.  The phone has fallen on concrete, asphalt, tiles, gravel, hardwood floors, grass, beds, pillows, etc.  Other than in water, I’ve dropped this thing everywhere.

Each time I’ve dropped it I held my breath hoping the screen would survive the fall and time after time the screen had survived.  That was until the last time I dropped it.

I was just sitting watching TV with Luna – cat #1 – and had the phone on my knee.  Luna, being a cat, decided she didn’t want to be next to me anymore and used my knee to jump from the couch to the floor taking the phone down with her.

This happens all the time so I just picked up the phone, to put it on the coffee table this time, and felt a weird texture on the screen.  Looked at it and saw what it looked like spider web.  Yup, cracked screen.

This is really all my fault for not having a phone case or a screen protector, but since I’ve dropped my phone a million times I really didn’t think I needed either.

What should I do?

My first thought was “eh, it still works.  I don’t mind rocking a cracked screen.  It gives the phone some character.”  But after sliding my fingers on the screen and almost shredding them with broken glass, I changed my mind.

I got a little upset because now I’m going to need a new phone.  But then Kate intervened and asked, “Can’t you just get it fixed?”

But of course!

I searched for places near me that can fix phone screen and gave them a call. The guy on the phone said he would fix it for $125!  I can get a whole phone for $125 – used or refurbished.  I said thank you, but no thank you.

I then decided to go to my favorite Do-It-Yourself school… YouTube.

And sure enough, I found a few videos on how to replace my phone’s screen.  I also checked on Amazon to see if they had a replacement screen and Amazon had one for $50.

Weighing Out My Options

1. Get a new phone – This is the most expensive route, but I will have a brand new phone with the latest technology.  There’s really no big difference between my phone and the latest phones so this will not improve my phone experience.

2. Have a repair person fix my phone – If I pay somebody to do the job, they’ll probably do a good job at fixing my screen and all I do is sit back and wait.  The bad thing is they were charging me $125.  I could probably get a phone on Ebay for that price.

3. Leave it as is – I consider myself a very simple person who doesn’t really care about having a phone with a cracked screen.  The phone still works and since I put a screen protector, it no longer makes my fingers bleed.  But I have to admit that I was hesitant to take out my phone in front of people – I guess I care a little.

4. Fix the phone myself – By doing it myself I would save some money and I could pat myself in the back for learning how to do it.  The only thing is I could mess it up and ruin the phone.

I decided to try to fix it myself and deal with the consequences later.

DIY Phone Screen Replacement

I ordered the screen replacement kit on Amazon, looked up a video on YouTube, and got my tools ready.  Midnight wanted to help but she doesn’t have opposable thumbs.

Midnight phone screen

Midnight wants to help – cat #2

Since the YouTube video was only 9 minutes long, I thought it would take me about 20-30 minutes with watching, pausing, and then doing each step.  But I was wrong.  It took me about two-hours to replace the phone screen.

The main problem was that I watched the wrong video.  The 9-minute video was only to disassemble the phone and not how to put it back together.  If I would’ve watched how to put the phone back together I would know that I needed clear epoxy to glue the new screen to the phone housing.

After I had the phone disassembled I had to go to the hardware store to buy the epoxy and that took some time.

disassembled phone screen

This is when I found out I needed epoxy!

Anyways, I got it done and now my screen looks like new!  Well, almost.

The new screen is a little raised because I didn’t clean the old adhesive very well before applying the new adhesive and putting the new phone screen in place.  Not too bad but I definitely feel an edge around the screen which I didn’t feel before.

New phone screen

Job done!

All in all, I’m glad I did it myself.  It no only saved me $70, but now I know what to do – and what not to do.

The main lesson I learned from all this is that I have to work on my way of thinking.  When the phone screen cracked, I jumped to the conclusion that I needed to buy a new phone.  If it wasn’t for Kate asking me if I could fix it, I probably would have spent hundreds on a new phone.

From now on, I’m going to try to remember to look for ways of fixing it myself before hiring a repair person or before buying it new.  Doing it ourselves is a great way to save money and it makes us feel accomplished… I know I did!

Please keep in mind that this process was a bit difficult for my phone, but it is a lot easier on other phones such as the iPhone.  If this happens to you, find out whether you can do it yourself or not.  You’d be surprised of the things you can do yourself.

P.S. I now put a case and a screen protector on my phone.

Are you a DIY person or would you rather pay somebody to do it for you?

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20 comments

  1. I have heard about this repair kit but haven’t had any personal experience with it. I’m so glad you shared this DIY just in case I need it in the future, I’ll be saving this! I’m sure it will help a lot of people.
    Natalie @ Financegirl recently posted…6 Strategies to Keep You Focused on What’s ImportantMy Profile

  2. I think it’s really awesome that you did it yourself and saved money at the same time! I don’t even dare to put the screen protector myself because there will always be bubbles and it bugs me a lot 😛
    Suburban Finance recently posted…Hidden Costs in RestaurantsMy Profile

  3. Lauren says:

    It’s always great when you can DIY repairs like that. Good job on saving cash!
    Lauren recently posted…Side Hustle Ideas: My Fiverr ReviewMy Profile

  4. I have seen quite a few people do the repairs themselves. I think it is a viable solution. Not only do you learn how to repair your screen, but you also save good money. Nice work!
    Grayson @ Debt Roundup recently posted…I’m Back! Updates and Changes ComingMy Profile

  5. DEBt DEBs says:

    Good job! Aren’t youtube videos wonderful? Gives you confidence to fix the next thing. My daughter took her phone in to get fixed after she dropped it in an ice bucket and didn’t have any rice she could put it in. I think the charged $170 or something ridiculous and it’s still not completely functional! She’s always losing or breaking her phones! gah!
    DEBt DEBs recently posted…Top Ten Reasons You Need to Manage Your FinancesMy Profile

  6. Wow! I am impressed with you for doing this! We are DIY people, but for some reason, electronic repairs like this freak me out. My intern has a phone that looks like yours, though, and I am going to encourage her to DIY like you. Thanks for sharing!
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted…Music Mondays – We Are OneMy Profile

  7. Interesting… I had always wondered how much work it is to replace the screen yourself. I shattered my iPhone 4s’ screen twice, but have been much more careful with my new phone. *fingers crossed*
    Christine Berry – Wealth Way Online recently posted…Is Not Paying Taxes Immoral?My Profile

  8. Josh @ CNA says:

    Hey Aldo, it’s awesome that you were able to fix the phone yourself. To tell the truth, I’ve thrown away phones because they had a cracked screen…I know phroogies go ahead and start with the “You made the wrong decision”. Anyway, spending $50 compared to $125 is always great in my book!
    Josh @ CNA recently posted…Sunburn, Curling Irons & Financial JustificationMy Profile

  9. This is awesome! Way to DIY it and save money.
    Cash Cow Couple recently posted…Your best anti-frugality arguments debunked!My Profile

  10. jefferson says:

    That’s awesome!

    You can start a little craigslist business doing this for people, if you are so inclined.

  11. This is amazing to me, Aldo!! Great job on taking the time to learn a new skill. Maybe now you can make a side hustle biz out of this!
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted…How to Deal With CriticismMy Profile

  12. Great job on the repair! I haven’t needed to fix my phone or iPad, but I always put them in an Otterbox the day I buy them. However, I have repaired my laptop, replacing the screen and rebuilding the power supply. I also change oil on the car, rotate the tires, simple stuff like that. If you are willing to take a chance, and have access to YouTube, you can generally save money! 🙂

  13. Great job, but it is technical work and due to a minor mistake you suffered a big loss. Your mistake increase your phone problem (Like damage of any other part of phone due to non-repairing experience and skill.) and increase repairing cost. This incident happened with me and I bear double charges.

  14. I am happy to know about your quick service and i would definitely use your service in the future providing good repairing services.

  15. Frank Kelly says:

    Great job on the self fix! Believe it or not, the owner and founder of our company (iDropped) started a franchise business based completely on teaching himself how to fix phones. Once he got really good at it, he opened his first location and the rest is history. Maybe you’ll inspire others to do the same!

  16. Hi Aldo,
    Great job indeed. 🙂

    I love your technique to repair phone screen. It’s your skill and passionate that you have done it. Reading this article on damaged screen replacement I just couldn’t hold myself to tweet this on twitter to my follower.

    Without experience it is not possible to repair it but you have done it without having any special kit for repairing this phone. Awesome work. Give it up! 🙂

    I appreciate your wonderful work. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    – Ravi.

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