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Preventing and Minimizing Screen Rot

Screens are important parts of your home that protect against bugs and other debris when windows are open. Under certain circumstances, the material of your screens may begin to break down, forming large holes, loose areas, or an insecure attachment to the frame. This process of breaking down is called screen rot, and there are ways to prevent and minimize the damage it causes.

Types of Screens:

Many screens consist of aluminum window screen mesh. While it tends to be more expensive, aluminum window screen mesh is one of the best options for avoiding screen rot. It is durable against the elements and lasts longer than other materials. Fiberglass window screens are another popular option because of their affordability and ability to hold shape even when pushed against. Though there are multiple benefits to fiberglass screens, they are more fragile than aluminum screens and prone to screen rot. Polyester screens are incredibly flexible and resistant to tears, so they are often found on doors and in homes with pets. If you live in areas with extreme weather conditions, copper-bronze window screens offer unmatched durability and longevity; however, it is one of the most expensive screening materials on the market. 

What Is Screen Rot?

Screen rot is the deterioration of screens due to natural elements. Heat, moisture, wind, and UV rays all contribute to screen rot. Extreme elements and long-term exposure cause the screen to break down or “rot” over time. Your screen’s material may be a contributing factor, and fiberglass screens are at a higher risk of deteriorating more quickly. While some screen deterioration is natural over time, screen rot occurs much faster, especially in climates where the screen is exposed to heat, humidity, and moisture. Sometimes, screen rot is accompanied by dry rot, which is caused by a fungus that attacks organic materials. Depending on the material of your screen and its spline, dry rot can take over and cause detachment around the frame and loose sagging areas.

How To Prevent Screen Rot:

Though natural elements are the main factor that causes screen rot, there are several steps you can take to prevent and minimize the amount of screen rot that affects your home. It is necessary to replace broken screens, but pricey if it needs to frequentl updating. Addressing screen rot before it happens will enhance your screens’ longevity and save money in the long run. 

  1. Storm Shutters: In areas that commonly forecast heavy rain, strong winds, and other severe weather, homeowners should consider purchasing storm shutters. Not only will this protect your screen from rips and tears, but it can fight back against screen rot by shielding the material from large quantities of water and abrasive winds. 
  2. Frequent Screen Replacement: While this sounds like a poor solution for combatting screen rot, it can save you a lot of hassle once the deterioration becomes a problem. In climates that experience intense temperature fluctuations and extreme cold, screen material can wear down quickly, becoming extremely susceptible to rips and screen rot. By replacing screens when spring rolls around, extreme cold is one less factor to worry about as a contributing factor to screen rot. 
  3. Install Some Shade: UV rays are one of the primary factors that expedite screen rot. The strength of UV rays compromises the screen’s structural integrity and breaks down its material over time. Shade can provide much-needed relief for your screens and minimize screen rot. Notice which windows get frequent
    sunlight and consider installing an awning or shutters to block excessive rays. 
  4. Choose Durable Material: The different materials from which you can purchase screens make a big difference in their longevity and ability to avoid screen rot. Materials like aluminum window screen mesh and copper bronze window screens are more expensive but durable against screen rot. Other materials may need more frequent replacement.