When discussing screen, it is important to know the different sizes and applications. The sizes refer to the number of holes per square inch.
It is also important to know what screen is made out of, which in most cases is a nylon coated fiberglass mesh. Once the nylon deteriorates from sun exposure, the fiberglass starts to show through, becoming shiny and brittle. If your screen has become shiny, brittle, and prone to ripping at the seams, it is time to get a full rescreen.
Common Sizes: 18/14 Mesh – Basic or standard size mesh, keeps out mosquitos and bugs, but not no-see-ums.
20/20 Mesh – “No-see-um” Mesh, keeps everything out. If you have an issue with no-see-ums in your yard, you need to have the roof and walls screened with the 20/20 mesh. Some installers may tell you that it isn't necessary to do the roof as well in the 20/20, that just screening the walls with it will prevent the tiny flying insects from getting into your enclosure, that is inaccurate.
If there are pine trees adjacent to the enclosure, even if you don’t have an issue with no-see-ums, 20/20 mesh is recommended for screening the roof only, as the pine needles won’t stick through for the most part.
Specialty Mesh Types:
Twitchell Brand Super Screen – Heavy duty polyvinyl extrusion for applications with pets, also the only screen with a manufacturer’s warranty of ten years.
Twitchell Brand Shade Screen - Twitchell also manufactures several different ratings of Shade Screen.
Patio Scenes – Is a company that prints large screen murals which are enjoyable to look at, while providing that extra sense of privacy.
*Rescreen cost is generally 1/3 of the original cost of the full enclosure.
Manufacturers: Phifer Incorporated - Premium Highest Quality Fiberglass Mesh
Twitchell - Premium Specialty Screens
New York Wire - basic quality mesh, used by most companies unless specified.
The Screening Process: What's Right and What's Not
There is more than one "acceptable" or "common" method of screening, or installing a fiberglass screen mesh into an aluminum flange with a rubber gasket otherwise know as spline.
However, it is not acceptable to roll over the roof purlins, or not screen each roof section indivdually. During the pre-construction phase of your enclosure an engineer was involved, site specific plans were dafted and approved by the county, and the job was constructed to that specific set of plans as drawn by the engineer. Among the state codes and laws governing the construction are requirements that each panel be screened individually. The reason behind this has to do with the distribution of wind loads throughout the structure, it is not merely a preference or cosmetic issue, and not screening each panel is not an optional or discretionary method of installation.
In additon to misdirecting the transference of windloads on the aluminum structure, not individually screening each panel can take up to 2-3 years off the lifespan of the screen mesh product itself. Standard screen is a a fiberglass mesh coated in nylon and as it ages, sun exposure deteriorates the nylon, allowing for the unprotected fiberglass to become brittle and rip. When screen is rolled over a roof purlin, the sun heated metal touching it increases the deteriotion rate of the nylon, leading to premature sagging, ripping, and ultimately earlier replacement than necessary, costing you more money. Additionaly, if just one screen is ripped or damaged, the whole section will need to be replaced, costing you more money.
If a company is not screening each panel individually they just don't care, they are in too big of a hurry to get to the next job to do a proper one on yours, they are not aware of the reasons requiring the necessity, or they have poorly trained low-motivation employees working for subpar wages.
Make sure that you get any estimate in writing and ask them to specify that each panel will be screened individually.