Polyester Screens VS Phifer: Which Material Is More Resistant To Strong Winds?
This a is question we get quite frequently. Our customers would like to know whether the upgraded polyester screen choices (Super Screen / Ultra Screen) are more resistant to high winds than our standard Phifer 18/14 screen (Phifer is stronger than many cheaper types of screen mesh). The answer is YES but not the kind of winds you are thinking of.
When Phifer is new it has a ball burst strength test rating of about 63lbs. The polyester screens are inherently stronger with a rating of 180 – 190 lbs. Those are lab test though. In reality, the 63lbs of Phifer is strong enough to withstand hurricane force winds for a sustained period of time – when the Phifer screen is new.
The difference comes over time. As Phifer screen ages, spending its life under U/V rayes, the fiberglass based fabric quickly beaks down and quickly loses its 63lbs rating. Although no aged testing has been done, I would estimate it loses 75% of its strength in the first 3 years. At this point hurricane force winds will tear it. Fortunately we don’t
have hurricanes that often. At about 7 years, the Phifer screen will have lost most of its strength and the charcoal coating has started wearing off leaving shiny white/gray the fiberglass stranded exposed. This is the time when wind from a regular south Florida afternoon storm can tear it. You will notice tears along the sides of the panels near the aluminum members. It almost looks like the screen has simply ‘pulled out’. What actually happened is that there was enough wind to tear the screen at the point where energy (pressure from the wind), can be transferred no farther.
The polyester screens, Ultra-screen and SuperScreen, are warrantied against tears like this for 10 years.