Not all window screens are created equal

There are several options you should consider when selecting screens for new windows, but first, consider this: Do you really need screens at all? Do you ventilate your home in the summer by opening up the windows, or do you simply turn on the AC? I live in North Carolina where we have two weeks of cooler weather in the spring followed by months of pine pollen, then another two weeks of cooler weather in the fall followed by months of dust. I don't use my windows to ventilate my home, so I don't have screens. But if you need them, read on.

Window screens with good visibility

As soon as you put a screen over your window, you reduce your visibility. However, you can get something that's pretty close to invisible. If the view is one of your favorite things about your home, check out screens with better visibility, like the True Screen from Andersen Windows. This is a tighter woven screen cloth painted black. Black might seem like it would create a strong visual impression, but actually, you'll find it disappears. Grey screens, on the other hand, reflect light and are not as transparent.

What to know about window screen cloth and where to use it

There are many types of screen cloth, each made for specific window applications, so let's break down the basics.

  • Shade screens are very tightly woven with two extra horizontal screen filaments per opening. This is good for windows you want very little visibility through or for areas of your home that get a ton of sun you want to keep out.
  • Stainless steel screen cloth is also made with steels frames, and is used for security. It's usually bolted to the window.
  • Screen cloth for screened-in porches runs the gamut from simple to custom made, and you should consider things like your sade vs visibility needs when you're choosing a fabric. However, whichever fabric you choose, consider getting the screens framed, as they will be much easier to replace or repair in the future.
  • Pet screens have become available on storm doors. Pet screen is made from vinyl coated polyester and is seven times stronger than traditional screen mesh. When a pet jumps on the screen it expands, pushes outward, but doesn't tear or come out of the spline that holds it.
  • Retractable screens are a popular option. They ride on a track outside a door. When retracted, they're all but undetectable. These are great for single exterior doors, patio doors, sliding doors, and swinging doors.

So as you can see, all screens are not created equal, and it's worth paying attention to it. You can change the way the world looks from inside, how the sun shines in, and how easy it is to use doors.

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