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.


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!


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.

I-Beams And Corrosion To GCA Standard

It was about that time. Try as we might have for a simple restoration and repaint, it just wasn’t in the books for this screen enclosure in the south Fort Myers area.. With its old, white I-beams deemed unpaintable (more on this down the page) and hard to rescreen, it was decided between us and the homeowners that it was indeed time to replace the entire pool cage in south Fort Myers. However, this would be a good thing! The new screen would include one of our favorite items to install and build, a picture window, also known as a clearview window. It is an extremely large opening of the screen enclosure that is unobstructed by any aluminum beams, offering a maximum view from inside. These windows provide an alternative to the ‘cage feeling’ that one often feels inside the pool “cage” and make for a great view of the surroundings, such as this homeowner’s beautiful water front view. And rightfully so, as he quite literally had one of the most spectacular back yards imaginable!

This customer received our quality polyester mesh, 2604 powder coat acrylic paint, and NyloTech fasteners, complete with a 10-year warranty. Not only did he make an investment towards the asset of his home, he created a more pleasant, clean and fun experience for his family when enjoying the outdoor pool area and swimming facilities that overlook the amazing waterway behind the home.

Follow us as we go through the project from beginning to end results!

To discuss a project like this at your home reference project #12860.

As you look at the before images, you’ll notice it is built with I-beams, as in the beams are an I shaped aluminum extrusion as opposed to rectangular.  This type of beam was used in the early 90s, and has since became obsolete, making it near impossible to get members for repair, and the inverted corners on the extrusions corroded and cannot be prepped for painting.

The final project, engineered for maximum view.  No more I-beams.

Why Choose Gulf Coast Aluminum?

We’re not just another contractor! We’re the company to call when you want a headache free project!  Don’t take my word for it though, see what our more than 100 customer reviews say.  Keep on reading, to see exactly how & why we are the go to choice when you need a project done right.

  • Gulf Coast Aluminum is an established business with a great reputation for quality, and a physical presence.
  • They are a state licensed contractor in good standing with the community, google reviews and the Better Business Bureau just to name a few.
  • They carry over $1,000,000 of general liability and workers comp insurance for the safety and reassurance of their customers.
  • All of the employee’s are held to the highest standard, which includes periodic drug testing.
  • All permitted projects are assigned a dedicated project manager to ensure quality work from project administration through completion.

Replacement With A GCA Standard Enclosure In Naples

Can you say maximum view? That is exactly what this customer wanted when it was time to reconstructing his back pool enclosure. With the natural forest habitat that surrounded him, he wanted to be able to enjoy the view to the fullest without that “cage feeling” that sometimes develops with all the aluminum posts that comprise the enclosure. No problem! WIth a few heavy duty carrier beams, we were able to construct the screen enclosure that he envisioned. A newer, higher enclosure lifting two feet above the eve of the house.

This home received our quality polyester mesh with the top of the line 2604 powder coat acrylic paint to ensure a fine and lasting finish, NyloTech fasteners, and completed with a 10 year warranty. Not only did he make an investment towards the asset of his home, he created a more pleasant, clean and fun experience for his family when enjoying the outdoor pool area and swimming facilities that border the woodlands behind him.

Take a look as we take this project from beginning to end!

If you would like to discuss a project similar to this reference project #12354.

Here’s the original screen enclosure.  You’ll notice, that it goes right to the eave of the house and its got the old school configuration of many thing aluminum members.

At this point the old screen enclosure has been removed.

Here’s the new structure engineered for maximum view….

Tiny Lanai To Large Screen Room

Here’s the story of how a tiny, little lanai became a very useful and beautiful screened in porch. The owners of the home decided that they were ready to invest in more outdoor enclosed space for entertaining and enjoying the fresh air. They contacted an extremely reliable company, that would be us, with many years of experience, received an estimate, and immediately put down a deposit. Within weeks, the company had applied for proper permits, drafted up the engineering plans for a brand new outdoor structure, and began its construction.

With isolated footing, and strings to ensure a perfect levelness, they laid out the concrete, and a rebar in the footer for reinforcement. However, this wasn’t your average, run of the mill, back porch. We constructed a 3 inch insulated composite roof with a built in gutter system and two downspouts, as well as 2 fan beams in the ceiling and a light fixture outlet. We installed a large picture viewing screen wall in exchange for all of the aluminum beams that create that “cage” type feel for maximum and unobstructed viewing of their surrounding and built a 16-inch-tall kick plate all around the enclosure for the safety of the dogs, and the safety of the screen from the dogs.

When the screen enclosure was perfected and completed on our part, they homeowners took the interior a step further and laid down a wood inspired floor with matching door pads, and finished the decor with beautiful lanai furniture.

Follow us as we take you from start to finish!

(If you would like an estimate for a similar project reference #14440)

Started From:

Once We Were Done: