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

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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!

Corey Philip Administrator
Corey began working on screen enclosures as a teenager in 2004 after hurricane Charley devastated his home town of Punta Gorda. 7 years later, after holding positions from foreman, to sales, to project manager, while attending college at Florida Gulf Coast University, Corey and childhood friend Thomas Davis founded Gulf Coast Aluminum in 2011. With a focus on delivering an unparrelled level of service, the company has grown by leaps and bounds under their leadership. Today you’ll find Corey answering the phones In his free time Corey likes training for triathlons, running the trails at Ding Darling park on Sanibel Island, and of course, working on growing Gulf Coast Aluminum.
2 replies
  1. Joel
    Joel says:

    What do u reccommend to prevent critters, probably palm rats, gnawing through the screen of your ground level cage, besides removing the greasy old bbq attraction?

    • Corey Philip
      Corey Philip says:

      Joel, you can have a metal kick plate put on. You can also put realistic looking predatory bird decoys on top of the enclosure.


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