How to Choose the Right Screen For Your Windows


Choosing the right screen for your windows is a more involved decision than you would think. You need to consider if it is small enough to keep out the insects in your area and if it fits the look of your home. Moreover, you need to choose a screen that would last without breaking your budget. With this guide, you will have no trouble doing so. You will learn the important screen specifications, how to choose the best one for your situation, the advantages and disadvantages of each material, and the special features for window screens.

Mesh Count

Also known as mesh size, it is the number of openings for every square inch of the screen. This is often indicated with two figures – the respective number of holes horizontally and vertically. For example, if it indicates that it has a mesh size of 20×20, it means that the screen has 20 openings horizontally and 20 openings vertically.

The 18 x 16 is the common mesh count that you will find on most homes. It is small enough to keep insects, pests, small animals, and debris out. As for screens installed on patio, porch, or pool enclosures, the standard is a mesh count of 18 x 14.

Some homeowners might need a screen with smaller openings due to the prevalence of no-see-um insects in their area. These insects are so tiny that the screens with the standard 18 x 16 mesh count can’t keep them out. To keep them out, you would need a screen with a mesh count of at least 20×20. It is for this reason that any mesh screen with a mesh count of 20 x 20 is more popularly referred to as no-see-um window screens.

If you prefer a higher mesh count for a certain material, it will have a relatively higher cost compared to a screen of the same material but a lower mesh count.

Wire Gauge

This is the thickness of the wire strands that make up the mesh screen. Wire strands with a bigger diameter will increase the durability and strength of a mesh screen. Thicker mesh screens are often preferred for covering and protecting windows and doors from punctures or tears. But, keep in mind that you will have decreased outward visibility with higher gauged window screens.

glass with reinforcing mesh, silhouette of windows and doors behind glass

Window Screen Material

Fiberglass Window Screens

Fiberglass screens are the most common material used for windows, doors, and enclosures. It is considered the standard mesh screen for windows and screen doors. It does not dent or unravel easily even when bumped by a branch or a person. It is also the most affordable screen material that you can choose.

Unfortunately, fiberglass screens can easily fade and degrade due to exposure to the UV rays of the sun. It is also easily torn by any sharp objects so it is best to avoid it for security screen doors and keeping pets inside or outside your house. 


  • Most affordable mesh screen
  • Best for windows and doors
  • Does not dent or crease easily


  • Not suitable for enclosures
  • Not suitable for exposure to direct sunlight
  • Easily torn or puncture by sharp objects

Aluminum Window Screens

If you want better durability than the common fiberglass screens, aluminum is a good alternative for your windows or doors. And, unlike fiberglass screens, it can endure the sun’s heat and exposure to the elements. Moreover, as long as you’re not in a coastal area, aluminum window screens will not rust.

However, aluminum screens are not recommended for any window or door that has a retracting mechanism. Aluminum screens easily dent and most creases will be there for a long time.

It is more expensive than fiberglass screens. But it is the second-most affordable screen that you can buy anywhere. If you want metal window screens and keep the costs down, aluminum should be your material of choice for your screens.


  • Weather-resistant
  • Corrosion-resistant (non-coastal areas)
  • Best for areas with direct sunlight exposure


  • Easily dents and creases
  • Not suitable for retractable windows

Bronze Window Screens

Bronze window screens have greater durability than those made with aluminum. But, the greater durability of this material makes it harder to work with during sizing and installation.

New bronze screens will have a beautiful gold-like color that shines under the sun. This will eventually fade to a deep dark finish over time. This change in color is just how bronze ages and is not a sign of corrosion since it is completely resistant to it. Moreover, it does not degrade from long-term exposure to sunlight, heat, or cold. 

You can expect to spend significantly more when you use this for any application in your home. It can cost at least five times as much as a good-quality aluminum mesh screen.


  • Beautiful shine and color
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Weather-resistant
  • Future restoration is possible


  • Changing colors is not be for everyone
  • Does not fit all styles
  • Expensive

Copper Window Screens

As a material, copper has great durability. And, with its good ductility, it will have little to no sagging even after a long time. It is also resistant to corrosion, UV-ray damage, cold, and heat. So, you don’t have to worry about it degrading from its exposure to the outdoors and the elements.

Copper window screens are also quite beautiful with its characteristic reddish-yellow color. And, because of its toughness, it is a great material for security doors and screens.


  • Tough material
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Weather-resistant
  • Does not sag
  • Long-term shine


  • Difficult to cut and install
  • May not fit all styles
  • Expensive 

Brass Window Screen

Brass is another great decorative material. With its unique color and shine, it can make a statement on any home or enclosure. Brass window screens also have a long lifespan and good corrosion resistance so you can expect your investment to last. Moreover, brass is a more malleable and flexible material compared to copper and bronze.

If you choose to use brass for your windows or enclosure, make sure that you are getting it from a reputable supplier. This ensures that you are getting brass that has been treated to resist corrosion and degradation from water exposure.


  • Unique color and shine
  • Long lifespan
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Weather-resistant
  • Easy to cut and shape


  • Expensive
  • Should only be purchased from legitimate construction suppliers

Stainless Steel Window Screen

Stainless steel is durable, does not stretch, and has a long lifespan. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about stains, corrosion, and degradation after exposure to the elements over time.

But, when it comes to looks, it is quite neutral. This can be either good or bad depending on what you’re looking for. It can be a good thing if you’re looking for a material that will go well with any style. But, if you’re looking for something that will stand out or make a statement for your home, stainless steel will fall short of what you want.


  • Neutral look
  • Will not fade or wash out
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Weather-resistant  


  • Expensive
  • Not for those looking for something that will stand out
Modern new screened porch with plastic windows and composite floor with summer woods in the background.

Special Features

Retractable Window Screens

Retractable window screens are a great solution if you don’t want to commit to a fixed window screen. It is fixed right by your glass window so you can open it and have a screen to block direct sunlight and keep insects out. And, unlike curtains and blinds, it doesn’t block your view of the outdoors.

However, keep in mind that this is not designed to be permanently retracted over your window opening. They are also more expensive compared to fixed screens. Moreover, they use less durable screens since the more durable ones cannot be retracted in and out of their mechanism. 

Solar Window Screens

Solar screens are fitted and placed outside of your windows and glass doors to block out the sun. Unlike a tinted window, the screen is completely heat resistant and completely separated from your glass window so it will not emit heat into your house. Moreover, the screen lets in enough light and air so your visibility and ventilation don’t have to suffer.

You can use this by itself with the windows open. Or, you can use it as an external shade to your closed windows. Either way, your home’s interior experiences minimal heat gain from sunlight exposure. Your home has more efficient cooling so your air-conditioning is not working as hard. It might even let you turn off the air conditioner and let natural ventilation and some fans take care of cooling your home. And, since these are removable, you can store them in the garage when you don’t need them. 

Pet-Resistant Window Screens

These are screens using Tuff mesh or pet screens. Pet screens use aluminum material that has enough thickness to resist the damage than what you would expect from an animal’s nails when they scratch screen windows, doors, and enclosures. Since it does not degrade from acid or alkali exposure, you can expect it to retain its durability over time. Moreover, it is also useful for resisting punctures and tears that intruders might inflict in attempts to get into your home.

Outdoor Screen Enclosure

Ready to Have Your Windows Done?

After reading this guide, you probably already have an idea of the best option for your home. Contact us today for a quotation for its installation. We can even help you if you’re still unsure about your decision. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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