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Window Screen Material Choices

December 4th, 2010

window-screen-material-installation.jpgWindow screen material is one of those everyday items that few of us take the time to consider. When you think about how long these screens have been a part of our history, it is surprising that we do not know much about them.

In 1861, workers at the Gilbert and Bennett manufacturing company were busy making metal sieves for food processing plants when an employee realized by accident that if you painted them, people would buy them to cover their windows. A few years later on July 7, 1868 another company by the name of Bayley and McCluskey filed a patent to provide roof screens on trains to improve the ventilation and protect the passengers. Further improvements and combinations of these two ideas took off quickly, leading to the development of our modern screens.

What material makes up a window screen though? The two most common are aluminum and fiberglass. Each one has its own distinct pros and cons, but both will do the job of keeping those pesky bugs out. Aluminum, the older and more common of the two, has a longer life span than its distant cousin but has the problem of bending and rusting. Coming in two colors — the standard grey or a charcoal black — it does give the consumer somewhat of a choice. The biggest difference between the two is that the charcoal one will allow you to see out of it better.

Fiberglass as a window screen material is a little more durable when it comes to bending and to rusting, but it does weather a lot faster giving it a shorter life span. One great advantage fiberglass has over the aluminum is that in either the grey or charcoal versions you can see through the screens easier than you can with aluminum.

Those who have a relatively high budget for their screens can also choose bronze as the window screen material. Starting out very shiny, it soon dulls down to the traditional charcoal. However bronze is more durable and the visibility is much clearer than its two counterparts. The choice of bronze window screen material largely comes down to whether or not you are able to bear the extra expense.

Installing window screen material is a relatively easy task. All one needs to do is lay the framing flat over the screen material and crimp it into place with a gasket. Be warned though this can be a tedious and time consuming project.

Discovered about one hundred years after the manufacture of their basic technology, window screen materials have been credited with saving people in all areas of the world from deadly diseases such as yellow fever that hit Philadelphia hard in the late 1700s. So although most people do not think about it much, that little piece of metal or fiberglass that sits so quietly in your window is actually protecting us from the sickness and disease that many bugs can carry.


This article on window screens was supplied by the freelance writer Blizzerand.


2 Responses to “Window Screen Material Choices”

  1. comment number 1 by: Ireland5

    The article says, “Aluminum, the older and more common of the two, has a longer life span than its distant cousin but has the problem of bending and rusting.” I don’t think aluminum rusts…maybe corrodes? I know it lasts a long time - rips and tears are most often the problem. That’s true with the fiberglass also. A suggestion for another article might be how to replace screening and where to buy not only the screening, but the frames.

  2. comment number 2 by: Ireland5

    Does anyone have a good idea on where to buy frames for window screens? Thanks for any suggestions!

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