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The Skylight Place

What Screen Door Is Right For You?

Written by Paul Eastman of The Skylight Place


           Now that spring is here you are looking for a new screen door. There are many choices to consider when shopping for a screen door. The main factor you want to consider is the durability of the screen door frame. Are you looking for the least expensive door you can find or do you want something that is going to last? There are also various types of screen material to choose from.
            The screens doors you will find at the big box store all have steel frames. I would recommend that you not purchase a steel framed screen door. Although they are inexpensive they are not good quality. If you decide to buy a steel screen door be prepared to purchase another one in a couple of years. I recommend only purchasing aluminum framed screen doors.
            If you are purchasing a screen door for your sliding glass door a roll formed aluminum frame should be sturdy enough to work properly. If you are looking for a heavier duty screen door you will want to upgrade to an extruded frame.  An extruded frame is going to reduce the chance that the rail will get bent if someone walks through it. Another thing to consider is the rollers. If you live close to the ocean like we do in Santa Cruz, California, you might want to spend a little extra and upgrade to stainless steel rollers.
            As far as swinging screen doors, you want to purchase an extruded screen door with a removable hinge bar. If the hinges ever break having a removable hinge bar will make it possible for you to just purchase a new hinge bar, not a new door. I advise you again to stay away from steel screen doors. They are garbage and the hinges always break. Spending a little extra now will save you a lot of money down the line. Also, I wouldn’t suggest a vinyl screen door because the corners are welded together and can crack just by slamming the door too hard.
            If you are looking for a retractable screen door there are two things to keep in mind: do you have kids and do you have pets. Most retractable screen doors have a feature where they will retract open if the bottom of the screen is hit to prevent people from walking through. So if your kids or pets frequently bump into the screen door it is going to open. This can lead to your pets running away.
            If you do have pets there is a newer product on the market call pet screen. It is seven times more durable than the standard fiberglass screen. The disadvantages in going with the pet screen are that it is much darker than standard screen and also about twice the price of standard screen. Other screen options include sunscreen which can block up to 80% of the sun, aluminum wire and Pure View screen. The Pure View screen is a fiberglass product that is easier to see through than the standard fiberglass screen.