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What to Consider When Choosing the Mesh for Your Re-screen (or New Screen Enclosure)

Is it time to re-screen your pool cage or screen enclosure? Or have you recently purchased a screen enclosure or pool cage and are wondering how to go about choosing the best mesh for your enclosure?

The process might seem daunting, but it is easier than you think!

Here in this article, we are going to walk you through the different considerations to keep in mind when looking at various screen meshes. This article will provide you with the high-quality information you need to make the best mesh choice for your personalized screen enclosure.

How long do you plan on staying there?

The first thing you will want to consider when choosing the best mesh for you and your screen enclosure or pool cage is the length of time you are planning on staying at this home. Since each type of mesh has a different life span, you can choose the best option for you based upon how long you intend on using your structure.

It is ideally recommended to avoid low-grade fiberglass mesh as said mesh is not designed to last more than a few years (3-5 years), so you won’t be able to get as much bang-for-your-buck as you would be able to with a stronger mesh that is designed to last for several years.

A premium fiberglass screen such as Phifer 18/14 is the best starting point for most property as it has a longer lifespan at 7-9 years and the marginal cost difference is minimal.

With a burst strength test rating in excess of 180 pounds, polyester mesh comes with a 10 year warranty and this type of mesh won’t turn the shiny white color that fiberglass mesh does at it ages. That means you’re also not going to get those tears along the aluminum members common with fiberglass. Polyester mesh also has a biocide designed to prevent mildew and algae growth, additionally improving the life expectancy of the mesh itself and preventing algae growth in our sub-tropical climate.

Do No See’ums, and sand flies bother you?

If you want to stay as protected as possible from insects and tiny bugs, then you would benefit from a mesh that is made with a tighter weave. Tighter weaved meshes are able to keep more tiny bugs away since the open spaces within the mesh are smaller.

Both polyester and fiberglass meshes are available with this tighter weave option.

Mesh Size
  Standard No See’um
Fiberglass 18/14 20/20
Polyester 14/16 17/20

Are you going to want to clean the aluminum framing?

It is important to clean the aluminum framing of your screen enclosure or pool cage from time to time to ensure the structure will look as good as possible without becoming an eyesore.

The best way to clean the aluminum frames is with a power washer. However, after a few years of exposure to the harsh UV rays of Florida, the common Phifer 18/14 mesh becomes  weak and brittle and can’t withstand the force of the high pressure water.  The lower grade artisan and New York wire mash fare even worse.  On the other hand, polyester mesh can withstand power washing throughout its life.

Therefore, if you are looking to properly maintain your structure to its best recommendation, then a polyester mesh might be your ideal fit.

Do you have pets?

If you have pets, then you might want to consider adding pet screen to your pool cage or screen enclosure.

Pet screen goes around the bottom of your screen enclosure and is made of a fiberglass material that is four times stronger than standard screen, thus being able to withstand the demands pets place on screens.

Still, with enough persistence, pets could get through the pet screen even though the screen is incredibly strong. Such an instance where this might occur would be when squirrels or other animals are on the opposite side of the fence.

If you feel like you could see this scenario playing out at your residence, then it would be a positive idea to consider a solid metal kick plate surrounding the bottom of your screen. This kick plate can either be 16 or 36 inches tall and will protect against any damages occurring at the bottom of your screen.

Conclusion

Finding the ideal mesh for your pool cage or screen enclosure is easy when you consider all of the variables that will affect your enclosure. You will want to keep in mind how long you are planning on living at this home, the amount of tiny bugs you commonly have in your area, how often you plan on cleaning your aluminum frames, and the number of pets you have. All of these variables will play a role in helping you decide what mesh option you will benefit from the most!

Why Many Pool Cages In SWFL Need A Re-screen After Only 3 Years

If you recently purchased a new home and found the screen mesh to be tearing or falling out after just a couple years, you’ve certainly wondered how long screen mesh should last.  And you’re not alone, many home owners around southwest Florida have thought the same thing after needing to re-screen their relatively new pool cage.

There is a reason for that and here in this article, we are going to guide you through why that is and we will offer solutions that will help you enjoy a longer lasting screen that will endure for many years to come.

Standard Grade Meshes Are Not Made to Last

The main reason why many pool cages and screen enclosures have to be re-screened so soon after construction is that the mesh they used to begin with was not made to last.  Of course, this might not seem right, after all why would a company deliver such a low grade material?  To find an answer for that you have to consider who is building most of the screen enclosures around Naples.  They (screen enclosures) are nearly all built by general contractors and developers with the objective of keeping costs low.  They know that in the midst of everything else going on when buying a home, details such as granite counters, and tile, are more in your eye than the type of screen mesh on your enclosure which probably doesn’t even make it to the back of your mind.  For this reason, they (home builders) frequently skimp on the materials used and thus a low grade screen is used.

When building pool cages and screen enclosures, most contractors in the Naples region use what is called “artisan mesh.” This mesh is a low-grade fiberglass mesh with a life span around 3 years, made in China and is the general, standard quality used by most contractors. Since it is the cheapest mesh available to contractors, most contractors use it for their structures to help them save a few nickels and dimes, even though it will be more expensive for the customer in the long haul.

Good News

The good news is there are stronger meshes available to you that will provide you with the stability and durability you are looking for when it comes to your pool cage or screen enclosure screen.

Let’s take a look at the screens that are built to last and that will provide you with some extra comfort in their longevity:

Phifer 18/14

The Phifer 18/14 mesh is a premium fiberglass screen that would be an ideal starting point for finding a stronger mesh as this mesh has a longer lifespan at 7 to 9 years. The marginal cost for this mesh in comparison to the low-grade fiberglass mesh traditionally used by contractors is minimal, but the benefits you will receive from a longer lasting mesh will certainly be worth the minute extra cost.

The Phifer 18/14 premium fiberglass mesh has a burst strength test rating that exceeds 60 pounds, It has a good ability to withstand most of weather the southwestern Florida receives over its 7-9 year life span. That said, while this material will withstand power washing for the first few years of its life, it is susceptible to tears from power washing as it ages (before it reaches its life expectancy.

Phifer 20/20

The Phifer 20/20 Standard Mesh is a premium fiberglass mesh with the same benefits and features as the Phifer 18/14 mesh, but features a tighter weave, allowing you to escape from and stay protected from even tinier insects, like No See’Ums.

Polyester 14/16

The Polyester 14/16 is a super-strong polyester mesh that is tear and puncture resistance and has stability from UV damage. In fact, it is over 100% stronger that the American made fiberglass screen with a ball burst strength test rating about 180 lbs. Even though the openings with this mesh appear to be larger than the two premium fiberglass meshes mentioned above, the tensile strength of each individual strand is thicker, ultimately making the openings smaller and stronger for long-lasting use.

Furthermore, polyester mesh has a biocide protectant that is designed to help prevent mildew and algae growth which will further improve the mesh’s life expectancy while preventing algae growth, even in our local sub-tropical environment.

Polyester 17/20

Lastly, the polyester 17/20 has the same features as the polyester 14/16 but with a slightly different weave option. This mesh still maintains the strong quality that all polyester meshes carry throughout.

An added benefit of polyester mesh is that it can withstand the strength and power of most non commercial power washers, so even as you need to clean your mesh over the course of several years to come, you can do so appropriately with the Polyester 17/20, knowing that even after 7, 8, 9, and 10 years of having the screen, you can still use a power washer to clean it!

Conclusion

Not every pool cage or screen enclosure has to be re-screened every 3 years. The reason many pool cages and screen enclosures are re-screened so often is because of the low-grade fiberglass mesh that is used. When you upgrade to a more durable and more strong mesh, such as a higher-grade fiberglass or a polyester mesh option, you can enjoy a screen that can last for more than a decade.

6 Things You Need to Know About Getting Your Pool Enclosure Rescreened

All pool enclosures will eventually need to be rescreened, whether the screen’s lifespan is 20 years or just 3. Weak or discolored screens detract from your home’s value and usefulness without giving you anything valuable in return. Screens can become torn and damaged to the point that they no longer serve any purpose at all. As a pool enclosure specialist once put it, “A screen with tears is like a boat with holes in the bottom.”

Replacing the screen yourself is out of the question. Rescreening requires specialized knowledge and skills. At the same time, learning about the rescreening process can help you make better decisions when it’s time to have the job done. Here are 6 things you need to know about pool enclosure rescreening.

  1. The right screen makes all the difference


    When you request bids for your pool enclosure, you may get a wide range of prices. It’s always tempting to choose a low bid. Yet, the difference in bids may have more to do with the quality of screen that’s being used than it does with someone giving you a great deal. To be sure your new screen is worth the time and effort, you should stay away from cheap Artisan screen. Instead, choose Phifer screen or better.

    Polyester screen is stronger than Artisan screen or even Phifer fiberglass screen. The manufacturers stand behind polyester screen with a 10-year warranty, but these screens often last 20 years or longer.

  2. You can choose a No See Um screen if tiny bugs bother you


    Both fiberglass and polyester screen come in a No See Um weave. No See Ums are those tiny flying bugs that are plentiful in Florida. People who have lived in Florida all their lives may be so used to them they barely notice them anymore. People new to the state often find No See Ums so annoying they spend little time outside where the bugs can bother them. No See Um screen eliminates the problem because the mesh is so fine that even bugs too small to see can’t get through it.

  3. The best time to change the fasteners is when you’re getting a rescreen


    Many pool enclosures are put together with cheap steel builders grade screws. That kind of fastener rusts in a few short years, weakening the pool enclosure (read: Is your pool cage still rated for 150 mph?) and making it look ugly. Better fasteners are available, though. Nylo-tec fasteners retain their perfect appearance longer and stay strong in the long term.
    Replacing fasteners without rescreening is a difficult and time-consuming task. The work actually costs more than just a screen replacement. However, if you have the fasteners changed at the same time as the rescreening is done is much less expensive than getting the two jobs done independently. As a bonus, your pool enclosure will all be new at once.

  4. A full rescreen is more economical than replacing miscellaneous panels

    After taking a casual look around your pool cage, you might come to the conclusion that you can get by with replacing just a few of the panels. The problem is that it’s much more expensive to choose that method than getting a full rescreen. First, the individual panels cost more per size than the larger area of mesh that is used for a rescreen. You pay for just one service call when you have the full rescreen done instead of many service calls for each individual replacement. You save on labor costs because the workers only have to work around the plants and other objects surrounding your pool enclosure once.

    With standard screen, a full enclosure rescreen typically costs about 1/5th as much as replacing the entire pool enclosure panel by panel. Choosing the complete rescreen, then, will save you a huge amount of money that you can save or put into other home improvements.

  5. Screen enclosure work is dangerous.

    It’s crucial that the screen enclosure company has Workers Comp insurance. Why? Working high above the concrete below, climbing on tall ladders, maneuvering around all the obstacles surrounding your pool enclosure is dangerous work. You could end up on the wrong side of a lawsuit if an uninsured worker is injured.

  6. A contractor’s license is required

    When you hire a screen enclosure contractor, you need to make sure they have a valid contractor’s license. Licensing ensures that the contractor knows the state standards for screen enclosure work and follows those rules. Don’t take their word for it or believe what it says on their business card without investigating it for yourself. In Florida, a bona fide contractor’s name will appear on the website of the
    Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.