Window screens keep bugs and debris outside your home while allowing a breeze and fresh air inside. A quality window screen will be hardly noticeable, allowing you to enjoy the comfort of your home without a hassle. But window screens, like all home improvement tasks, aren’t without hassle. There are a number of reasons your window screen should be replaced. Learn when and why you should address these issues.
Clean Your Screens Regularly
Cleaning your window screens can help lengthen the life of the screen itself, in addition to adding brighter feel to your home. A clean screen will help you identify and rips tears or broken seals that may require a full replacement. To clean your window screen follow these simple steps.
- Remove the screen from the window.
- Create your cleaner by mixing a small amount of mild dish soap and warm water.
- Use a soft bristle brush to gently scrub your window screens using the solution.
- Rinse the screens with clean, warm water.
- Wait until the window screens are completely dry, then replace them in their window frame.
Many people also like using a vacuum with a soft brush attachment to remove dust and debris from screens. This can be done during regular cleaning, as well as prior to cleaning with soapy water. Regular cleaning can help extend screen life by 5 to 10 years in many cases.
Identifying Screens in Need of Replacement
The right time to replace your window screens depends on many structural and environmental factors as well as the material used in screen fabrication. A standard window screen in average condition will last for 10 to 15 years. Additional factors that can affect screen lifetime include:
- Structure of the screen – heavy-duty, middleweight, or economy
- Mesh material – Steel, aluminum, fiberglass, and even plastic
- Frame fabrication – Is the frame made of steel, aluminum, or vinyl and is the corner plastic or mitered?
- Usage – Windows that open or screens that are moved more frequently are more prone to damage
- Water – Few things are designed to stay wet all the time
- Impact – Pets and children are frequent reasons for screen tears, but screens may also be damaged by moving furniture or miscellaneous accidents. Don’t forget hail for those in prone areas.
- Environment – UV rays, salt water, freezing, thawing, extremely low humidity, and other environmental conditions can all affect screens life
These factors will combine to help indicate whether your screen needs replacement. Replace your screen if there is physical damage such as rips or tears, or if the spline in the edge is dry, cracked, or missing. Press lightly on your screen to see if the mesh has become brittle. Check for stranger puckers or divots in the material, or gaps at the edge. Review the time since installation, as screens should regularly be replaced at the 10 to 15-year mark above. You should also consider replacing your screens when replacing windows in your home.
From the exterior of your home, check for mold and mildew. Look at the edges of the window to identify stubborn dirt and grime that may not come off in a cleaning without damaging the screen itself. Review your gutters and downspouts, making sure seasonal debris has not created puddling or a water drip near your window. Consider routine replacement earlier based on your climate. If you experience harsh heat or cold regularly, you may want to shorten your timetable.
Pro Tip: Consult with a professional simply to ask questions before creating a screen repair schedule. Check with your window cleaner to understand the condition of your screens if you employ one. Ask your general contractor about screens when getting a window estimate. And don’t forget the experts at your local hardware store, who can advise you on screen material maintenance and repair.