When it comes to window screen cloth, you have many choices, including aluminum, fiberglass, bronze, and copper. But you have even more choices. There are also heavy duty, no see-um, and pet resistant screening materials.
Before choosing the screening material that’s best for you, first consider some of the key characteristics of each type of material.
Aluminum Window Screening
- Strength and durability. A protective finish is usually used to strengthen the weave.
- Resists rust. The protective finish also helps prevent corrosion.
- Less prone to sagging.
- Tends to last longer than fiberglass.
- Color choices: Typically available in a natural color. Also available in dark grey/charcoal, and black. If you choose dark grey, the screens will look less visible in your windows. If you choose black, you will be better able to see out the window as there will be less glare, but the screens will be more visible.
Fiberglass Window Screening
- Most popular
- Less expensive than other window screen materials.
- If vinyl-coated, it is resistant to corrosion, rust, and staining.
- On the negative side, it can stretch and tear more easily than the other types of screening material.
- Color choices: Grey/charcoal or black. The charcoal type provide a better view of the outside.
Bronze Window Screening
- Strength and durability. Made of 90% copper and 10% zinc. Also resistant to denting.
- Long life. Bronze screens tend to last longer than aluminum or fiberglass screens.
- Color: When first used, the screening material has a bright gold appearance. Over time, the color changes into a bronze patina. The patina contributes to the screen’s durability.
- Provides more visual privacy than standard aluminum or fiberglass screening.
- Style. The patina screen coloring contributes to the overall curb appeal of the home.
- More expensive than aluminum or fiberglass material.
Aluminum, fiberglass, and bronze home window screens are usually made in an 18 by 16 mesh. That means that for each square inch there are 18 horizontal and 16 vertical wires interwoven. The standard diameter of the wire is .011. Other weaves and diameters are available for special situations, as discussed below.
Copper, Brass, and Stainless Steel Window Screening
These specialized screening materials are usually made of an 18 X 14 or 16 X 16 mesh using a .011 wire diameter. Brass screening is made in a 16 X 16 mesh with a .018 wire diameter.
These type screens will typically cost more than bronze screening material.
Copper screens, because of their visual appeal, tend to be used in older, historical homes.
Stainless steel window screening is good for use in businesses because this material provides added strength. If security is a concern, read about security window screens.
Heavy Duty Screening Material
The material is usually 18 X 14 weave fiberglass, and the width of the wire strand is increased to .013.
No-see Um Screening Material
This material is intended for windows in marshy wetlands or coastal areas where small insects, such as gnats and sand flies are common. This screening material is fiberglass in a 20 X 20 weave with a .013 diameter. This tighter weave does a good job of keeping the smaller flying creatures outside.
Pet Resistant Screening Material
If you have pets such as a dog or cat, you may soon find that if he or she wants to, they can scratch or paw their way through standard screening material. In this case, you may want to use a heavy duty pet screen fabric. This material is usually vinyl-coated polyester that is manufactured to be heavier and stronger than the standard window screen material.
This is often a good choice for a screen door, screened patios or porches, or pool enclosures. Another choice is using a pet door.
People who have cats in apartments that are above ground level find that their cat is smart enough not to scratch through a standard aluminum or fiberglass window screen.
There is no one best window screening material. The “best” depends on what you want to accomplish with the screening material and how much you are willing to pay.