Ever since they were first introduced in the early 1800s, the window screen has been an important part of making a home comfortable, especially when the weather outside is good. The window screen allows residents to have an open view to the out-of-doors without letting insects and other flying creatures invade the house. They have been made with many different materials since their introduction.
Wires Make for Screens
Although metal wires of different sorts had been used for many centuries before the invention of the window screen, the need for very thin wire that could endure exposure to the elements. Iron wire might become brittle as it was subjected to the ordinary weather of the neighborhood. If the wire is made heavy enough to resist that rusting and brittleness when woven into a screen, it may end up too heavy for its duty in a window or door. Aluminum became popular for this task. The lightness and flexibility of the metal made aluminum wire very useful for the wire-weaving that provides material for screen. This continued the stability of the screen in difficult circumstances.
But growing use of screens in opening the household to the outdoors meant that additional materials had to be sought out. In some cases, homeowners wanted lighter more flexible materials to be used in screens for porches, for instance. On a porch, where greater openness to the outdoors is desired, a mesh screen door might be in order, calling for something lighter than woven metal wire.
The types of non-metal fibers that get used in screens can vary greatly. One of the most obvious, is of course, plastic mono-filaments. This material is lighter and more flexible, but it is also more susceptible to loss of shape due to heat. And if a plastic woven screen is near the outdoor grill, it could be melted by grill heat or sparks.
A fine screen similar to one provided for tents might be made from silk threads or strands of rayon or nylon. When this type of fiber is used, you can create whole sheets of woven fibers, allowing for whole screen “walls” that can be draped from the overhang of an open porch area. “Mosquito netting” would easily be considered a type of screening.
Fiberglass is also used in some screens. Because it is easy to use, fiberglass insect screens are more commonly used in homes these days. It is not very expensive to be used for window screen replacement. Because it is also rather long lasting, homeowners are inclined to choose it if they are redoing all their window treatments. Of course, pets and children can be hard on fiberglass screens, given their high activity levels involving direct contact with the screens.
The mesh used for screens can be as tightly or loosely woven as the homeowner desires. Fiberglass mesh is usually made with a weave that has 18 wires per inch by 16 wires per inch. Many patio screen doors use this type of mesh. If you need an even tighter mesh to keep out very tiny insects, you can find meshes that are 20 by 20 strands per inch. This finer mesh comes in black and gray colors, which helps cut the sunlight a bit. Even security screen doors can take advantage of lighter materials, when combined with protective bars.
Talk to an expert on window and door screens for what materials and weaves will work best for your home situation.