I’ve been doing some work around the house this spring, and noticed that my half screens (screens on the bottom of my windows) are looking pretty beat up, quite of few of them had bent frames and torn screens. So I decided that it was time to replace all of the screens on my house. The question was which style of replacement window screen I should go with – traditional insect or solar. So I did a bit of research to understand that the differences were. Here’s what I found Window.
Insect screens are traditionally made of Fiberglass or Aluminum material with the sole purpose of keeping insects out. The material does come in a variety of colors, to allow you to best match your existing screens or house. There are a number of different types of insect screen material such as traditional fiberglass, BetterVue (for a clearer external view), Pool & Patio (a tougher material built to take more exterior abuse), and many others. I think the other thing to keep in mind with Insect Screens is the price, as compared to Solar Screens. Generally with an insect screen you’re looking at right around twenty dollars versus significantly more for solar screens.
Solar screens are traditionally made of a PVC material with a dual purpose, to keep insects out as well as provide blockage of the sun’s harmful UV and heat. The weave of the mesh is very similar to that of insect screens so they do a great job replacing traditional window screens when it comes to protection from bugs. The most popular product I found online was Phifer® brand solar screen material. Their material comes with two additional features, GreenGuard (a certification for products and materials ensuring that they have low chemical emissions) and MicroBan (antimicrobial product protection that inhibits the growth of microbes, such as bacteria, mold and mildew that can cause stains, odors and deterioration of a product). Just like insect screens, solar screens come in a variety of colors to match your home’s exterior or your particular style.
Based on my research, I decided that window screens were the best choice for me this time around. I was basically interested in opening my windows to let the spring breeze in, and wasn’t too worried about the sun protection. The fact that the insect screens were much cheaper than solar screens wasn’t a bad thing either. Next season I’ll take a look at Solar Screens, at least for the east and west facing sides of my house.