Tom Shafer

5 requirements for ordering window screens

May 25, 2012

It's a common dilemma: You purchase a home, only to find out there are some window screens missing. Or your cat has taken a swipe, leaving the screen looking like shredded Swiss cheese. Many people just go to their local hardware stores or big box home improvement retailers thinking they'll find replacements there. They are usually disappointed when they can't get what they need.

5 window screen details

Buying replacement screens online is a good way to find the right ones, but you should have the following information ready before placing your order:

  1. Name of window manufacturer and product line. Screen sizes are specific to the window manufacturer and to each series that manufacturer makes. If you have this information, you can usually order the right screen online directly from the manufacturer.
  2. Window type. You need to know the type of window -- single hung, double hung, slider, casement or awning. Each type has screens with specific features. A screen for a double-hung window, for example, might need a center bar to keep it from bowing. A casement window requires a particular type of hardware for attaching the screen to the inside of the window.
  3. Screen measurements. How do you measure for replacement window screens? If you examine the outside of a single- and double-hung window, you will probably see a track where the original screen fit. Measure the distance between these tracks. Deduct 1/8-inch to 3/16-inch, so the screen is slightly smaller to maneuver it into the opening.
  4. Type and position of screen hardware. Your screens have hardware for inserting, removing and holding them securely in place. The most popular types of screen hardware are spring-tensioned plungers, butterfly retainer clips and bottom loops. When you order your replacement screens, make sure you specify the location of the hardware, i.e. top, bottom, left or right side.
  5. Type of screen cloth and mesh size. The screen cloth is the functional part of your window screen -- the part that keeps insects out. The most popular screen cloth is 18-by-16 fiberglass mesh. The mesh size refers to the number of tiny squares per inch. No-see-um screen cloth is 20-by-20 to keep out the tiny, biting insects, so-called because they are too small for most people to easily see. Mesh this fine is also referred to as invisible screening because the individual fiberglass strands are a smaller diameter, and thus, appear to be invisible. It also allows increased airlfow through the mesh. Two examples of high-transparency screen fabric are Pella's Vivid View® and Andersen's TruScene®, which provide 50 percent more visibility than their standard screens.

Armed with the above information, you should be able to order replacement screens from your windows' manufacturer or one of several online sites for sourcing replacement screens, including screenitagain.com, metroscreenworks.com, qualitywindowscreen.com and Lowes.com. Open the windows and let in the fresh air once your perfect window screens are in place.

About the Author

Tom Shafer has decades of experience in window sales, marketing and product development. He's worked closely with window design engineers in testing, design, and building code interpretation. Past employers include United Windows and Doors and Norandex, MI Windows. He currently works at a home improvement retailer.

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