Window Screen Introduction
A window screen, insect screen or fly screen is a metal wire, fiberglass, or other synthetic fiber mesh, stretched in a frame of wood or metal, designed to cover the opening of an open window. Its primary purpose is to keep leaves, debris, insects, birds, and other animals from entering a building or a screened structure such as a porch, while permitting fresh air-flow. Most houses in Australia, the United States and Canada have screens on all operable windows, which are most useful in areas that have large mosquito populations. Formerly, screens in North America were usually replaced with glass storm windows in the winter, but now the two functions are usually combined in combination storm and screen windows, which allow glass and screen panels to slide up and down.
Types Of Window Screening Fabric
The most common materials used for insect screening material are aluminum and fiberglass. Aluminum window screen is generally available in natural aluminum or in an applied charcoal color; the charcoal is much less visible. Fiberglass is available in light gray as well as charcoal colors, the charcoal again offering better viewing and appearance. Fiberglass is less expensive, and has the advantage of not "denting" when hit or pushed. However, the fiberglass mesh is somewhat more opaque than aluminum mesh, which darkens the external appearance of the window and reduces the amount of light transmitted from outside. In addition, fiberglass screen degrades rapidly with exposure to UV light, leading to it fraying and breaking after just a few years, unlike aluminum which lasts considerably longer.
For applications requiring greater strength, such as screened doors, nylon and polyester screening are also available.
Bronze insect screening is much more expensive, but gives much longer service than either aluminum or fiberglass. When first installing window screen, it has a bright gold color; this weathers to an unobtrusive dark charcoal within a year or less. Bronze is somewhat more resistant to denting than aluminum. Less common screen fabrics include copper, brass, stainless steel, and galvanized steel.
In addition to insect screening, denser screen types that also reduce sunlight and heat gain are available. These offer significant potential energy savings in hot climates.
Do-it-yourself screen and frame replacement kits are widely available at hardware and home improvement stores. These frames are usually composed of straight aluminum sides (which can be cut to size) and plastic corner inserts. Screen replacement kits usually consist of a roll of nylon screening fabric and a generous supply of rubber spline.