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  • Writer's pictureSara Johnson

How to Choose a Screen Door?

Integrity Woodworking - Secuirty Screen Door Installation

It's summertime in the Northern Hemisphere of our planet and that means its time for outdoor activities like swimming and BBQ's. It also means high temperatures that can overheat not only us and our cut furry pets but our homes as well. So, what can you do to keep your home cooler?

There is, of course, the Air Conditioning unit that can always save the day on a hot summer's night, but what can you do if you don't have one or you're in a blackout? That's where the handy dandy screen door (as well as window screens) comes into play. Back in the day before the days of air conditioning (that's right kids at one point in the past the only air conditioning that existed was the wind) people needed to keep their homes cool but keep the bugs out.

What did our ancestors do you ask? They would use materials such as cheesecloth to drape over the window or doorway to prevent all the disease-infested insects out while letting the air circulate in the home. Eventually, the ingenious farmers came up with the wire mesh screens that revolutionized the entire concept of screen windows and doors. Unfortunately, it cost anywhere from $0.75 or more per screen on the home (Yikes!) and was considered a luxury item.

Fast forward to our day and there is a wide variety of screens doors. You have your hinged screen doors, your invisible screen doors, and your sliding screen doors. They also come in a variety of materials, colors, shapes, and sizes.

Screen Door Types

Hinged Screen Doors are just how they sound – they have hinges. They open and close similarly to the way a door opens and closes. They are made from wood, aluminum, or steel. Some are designed for security, while others are designed for looks. The ones made for looks tend to have a mesh center with, the security screens tend to have heavy metal screens. Still, others opt for the storm door which I've seen our neighborhood dogs love since they tend to come with glass in the center and have an unobstructed view of the people walking near their house. You can also get them with an interchangeable mesh screen too.

Invisible Screen Doors are not actually invisible (Although I can attest that I did accidentally run into one when I was younger, but that's another story). They are mesh screens with vinyl or aluminum frames that roll away and blend in with the frame of the door and can be pulled from their rolling mechanism to create a barrier between your home and the bugs. They also allow you to enjoy your front entry door if you have a fancy one that you want to show off.

Sliding Screen Doors are usually used for sliding doors and typically found with sliding glass doors. They are large mesh screens with a metal frame that can slide along the track of your sliding glass door. Some come with mesh barriers on the bottom and others do not. Either way they are great for your patio sliders.

What is the difference between a storm door and a security screen door?

Both a storm door and a security screen door come with a frame that is bolted into your door frame. The difference comes with how they are sealed. A security screen door is generally not sealed however you can add weather stripping afterward. A storm door comes with a full-frame and weather-stripping that will help during – that's right- a storm. In general we don't have to deal with large storms in Orange County, California (with the exception of this past winter when we actually had so much hail it left 6 inches of slush we had to drive through and left us with a cracked windshield) but we do want to keep our houses draft-free during our version of cold weather and ventilated in the heat. Since there is weather stripping on a storm door its better at keeping the bugs out of your house than a security screen.

Which screen door is best for you?

If you have a sliding glass door a sliding screen door will work best for your needs, but you can also use an invisible screen for your patio door as well. As for your front entry door ask yourself these two questions: Am I more concerned with looks or am I more concerned with security? What's my budget?

Of course, we all want something that looks nice, but finding a security door with a fancy hummingbird on it is not something you'd find in your average store. When thinking about looks you should think of and picture the front door of your house. A typical security door, for example, will cover up your front door to the point of not seeing it unless your right next to the door. It's not something you want to go for an invisible screen or a fancy regular aluminum screen or a glass storm door to accentuate the front of the house.

If you're more concerned with security – then a security screen or a storm door would be something to consider. If you're looking for security and bug security opt for the storm door since they can give you both. At the time of this writing, security screen doors start at about $100 and go up from there depending on size and style and storm doors start at about $275. If your budget-conscious a security screen door may suit your wallet better than the storm door.

Whichever screen door you choose just remember this, its better than cheesecloth.

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