If you feel like you are constantly repairing or replacing window screens, you might be wondering why they all seem to be deteriorating at the same time. Unless you can blame a pet for scratching your screens, they are probably just reaching the end of their expected life, especially if you have an older home. If you don't know whether to keep patching them, replace the screening material or start over with all new frames, here are some things to consider to help you decide.
If your screens are more than 20 years old, they are probably aluminum. Aluminum screens do get brittle over time. If you take the screens down and put storm windows up for the winter, your screens might last a bit longer than if you have insulated windows and the screens stay up all year. The snow and constant moisture can accelerate the natural corrosion and shorten their lifespan. You've probably noticed that the screens get discolored and that it's easier to accidentally put your finger through them.
Unfortunately, screens don't last forever. If they are all the same age, when one starts to fall apart, the rest will probably follow shortly. Unless you replace them all, the whole exterior of the house can start to look pretty ragged.
Newer homes can have screens made of aluminum, a copper and zinc blend or fiberglass.There are advantages to each material. It's easier to patch metal screens because they are made of thin, woven wire. The wire stays stiff and can be folded into place to cover a small hole or tear. Fiberglass is extremely durable and won't corrode like metal screens. However, fiberglass screening is made of softer fibers that are more difficult to patch, so you'll probably have to replace the entire piece of fabric when it tears, which is more expensive and time-consuming.
Aluminum screens get dirty and discolored. Fiberglass will stay new-looking for a long time. Another good thing about fiberglass screening is that it comes in many colors and looks more updated and contemporary. If you are thinking about replacing screens, you can get new fiberglass screens to match your house. You can also replace your old screens with screening that filters UV rays and pollen, something that old screens can't do.
So if you are going to repair one or two old screens, maybe its time to upgrade all of them to a more modern material. You'll avoid the inevitable repairs and give your home's exterior a fresh, updated look. Of course, if you have old screens that are in good shape and function well, there's no need to replace them. Just keep in mind that they do have a limited lifespan. When you do decide to replace them, you'll have lots of attractive and functional options.