There are three principal types of screen doors for patio doors, hinged doors and entry doors: gliding, hinged and retractable insect screens. They all have a primary purpose of keeping insects out of your house, but they are different in many ways.
Hinged insect screens are screens that attach to the frame of your door by three-part hinges (an upper leaf, lower leaf and pin). They can be used on gliding patio doors or hinged doors that swing into the home. These screens shut slowly thanks to a dampener at the top (and sometimes bottom) of the screen.
Gliding insect screens are most commonly seen on gliding patio doors. Gliding screen doors have a top and bottom track with rollers on the bottom, or a tensile spring set at top. The bottom rollers of these screens can be adjustable.
Retractable screens are the newest screen door to hit the market. They roll up into a canister on one side of the door. When extended, they attach to a hook or high-powered magnet to keep the screen door sealed. The coil in which the screening material is stored is typically regulated by a tension setting in the canister.
Though screens are primarily meant to let air in and keep insects out, they tend to be much more than that. In some cases they can add security to a home by adding another lock to get through, though they don't tend to come equipped with hardware as sturdy as you would find on a front door or primary entrance door. If your screen door doubles as a storm door, it will assist in energy efficiency in the home.
Does your hinged door swing into or out of the home? Do you have double opening doors or a single door? Is your patio door gliding or hinged? Some screens will not work with some types of doors.
On an out-swinging door, you do not want a gliding screen that will need to be opened before your door is opened, typically forcing someone to have to go outside through another entrance in order to open the screen.
If your door is at a corner of your house and you have a gliding door, the operating screen panel will need somewhere to go, and some way in which to be stopped. If you have a gliding patio door, a gliding screen door is a nice complement, though retractable screens are becoming more popular.
Retractable insect screens are either mounted on the inside of the home in the case of a out-swinging door, or on the outside of the door for a gliding or in-swinging door. If you have double hinged doors, you can also use a retractable insect screen with exceptionally long mesh.
Insect screens let you keep your door open in the heat instead of using air conditioning or climate control in your home. They will also keep the insects out. If you are going outside for a short while and you have pets that should stay in the home, it is a simple process to relatch the insect screen when you step out. Small children may not know how to unlatch an insect screen door, making it an extra barrier for toddlers to get through.
Screen doors are not foolproof. No matter how fine your mesh is, there are cluster flies that can get through it. Your screen is only as effective as the seal. If your screen door just hangs in front of your patio door, the insects need only fly around the side. Find an insect screen that forms a tight seal with either the door or some sort of interlocking molding to truly protect your home from flying insects.
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