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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.