By Taylor Kerkham
A window screen is a mesh designed to cover the opening of a window while the window is open. Often known colloquially as an insect screen or bug screen, a window screen serves to prevent debris, animals and insects from entering a building while a window is open, while still allowing fresh air to circulate.
Much like storm windows, window screens are often mounted over the outer frame of a window, outside the glass. Traditional designs required the screens to be manually removed and replaced by storm windows with the same size of frame for full coverage during the winter. However more modern designs incorporate storm window frames and an outer frame for the window screen into a single unit. These units often make use of a sliding frame to house the storm window, with the screen covering the entire window from the outside, precluding the need for manual replacement.
Window Screen Fabric Type
The two most common types of material used for window screens are aluminum and fiberglass. Both are sufficiently durable for window size screens; less firm and more durable fabrics like nylon and polyester are often used for screen doors where the area that must be covered is greater, but these are rarely seen used for window-sized screens.
Fiberglass screens come with various levels of durability and in various colors. Common colors are black and various shades of grey; darker colors are generally less noticeable when viewed from a distance outside the window, but may make the window more noticeable or dark in appearance from the inside. Aluminum screens offer durability similar to the most durable fiberglass screens, at a similar price point. Aluminum screens are usually only offered in their natural metallic color or in a brushed black “charcoal” color.
A rarer and more expensive material seen in some screens is bronze. Bronze screens are sometimes labeled as pure copper screens since they contain much more copper than zinc; they are marketed to be far more durable and last longer than either aluminum or fiberglass. Often bronze screens cost three to six times an aluminum screen for the same area. Bronze screens are usually offered in their natural bronze-gold color, although the color usually darkens after one to two years in service.
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