French doors with screens

Screened in porches are not new concept in the home design world; they have been a popular feature in homes since the late 1800s. However as the “open concept” layout grows in popularity interior design, which makes use of large, open space in floor plans, the same school of thought has been extended to the outdoor areas of a home, making functional common areas out of the home’s porch. This makes the screened in porch a more attractive upgrade than ever.

If you are interested in enclosing your porch to create a usable space with protection from elements and also keep bugs out, there are more options than ever for screened in porches:

Fixed vs. Retractable Screens
Installing fixed screens in your outdoor space is the most affordable option and achieves a comfortable outdoor living area. However, investing a little more in retractable screens for porches gives you the flexibility to choose when you want the sunlight and fresh air of an open porch, or the privacy and protection of a screened in porch. Retractable screens with a pull chain to manually open and close are so simple to install that many homeowners do the work themselves. If you have the budget for it, you can even choose motorized retractable window screens to add convenience to your outdoor living space.

Types of Screen
After you’ve chosen between fixed and retractable screens for your porch, there are myriad of options for types of screen:

  • Fiberglass. Fiberglass is the most common screen type. It is inexpensive, easy to work with, efficient at filtering out the glare of the sun, and isn’t prone to unsightly crease-marks that metal screen get. The drawback to fiberglass screen is that it tends to tear easier than other types of screen.
  • Sun-filtering screens. If you live in a harsh climate, you may want to take advantage of screens designed to filter out the heat from the sun while allowing the sunlight and visibility. The most efficient sun screens are able to efficiently cut 90% of the heat emitted by the sun.
  • Aluminum. Aluminum is more durable than fiberglass and is among the most desired screen types for visibility. On the downside, aluminum costs about 33% more than fiberglass screen and dents easily.
  • Premium Metals. If you have fixed screens but still want a upscale look, you can opt to use screens made of stainless steal, copper, nickel/copper alloy, or bronze. All of the screen types are tough and long-lasting and provide an elegant look for a screened-in porch.

Choosing Screen Weave
Regardless of the material of your screens, the weave density will determine the protection from bugs, durability, and visibility. Standard screens come in 18 X 16 mesh; this means that there are 18 vertical strands and 16 horizontal strands per one inch of screen. If you want greater protection from bugs and dust, you can get screen up to 20 X 20 in strand density, which is so tight knit that very little can get through. If your screen panels are larger than average, you might choose screen weave with fewer but heavier strands, such as 18 X 14. This provides greater structural support in the screen itself.

Have you installed a screened in porch in your home? What type of screen did you use? Are your screens fixed or retractable? We want to hear about your screened in porch in the comment section below. Refernce materials.

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