Fly Screen Buyer's Guide
So you've decided that you're fed up with flies buzzing around when you leave the windows and doors open to let the fresh air in, but you're not sure which fly screening product is right for you. There are so many different types to choose from: fly curtains, hook and loop (Velcro) mesh, hinged, retractable, DIY, professional - the list goes on. It can all get a bit confusing, so we've done all the legwork for you and come up with the seven questions that you need to ask yourself to ensure that you get the product you want.
1. Price - how much do I want to spend?
If you're looking for something that won't cost too much and will keep a few bugs at bay then products like fly curtains, stick-on meshes and hook and loop (Velcro) meshes could be right for you. These will typically cost between 10-20 pounds but buyer beware. As with most products you get what you pay for and many products at this end of the market tend to only last a short while before they start to wear. If you're looking for something more sturdy but still at a reasonable price, you might consider a framed product which you fit yourself like DIY retractable screens, fixed frames or hinged frames. These can cost anything between 50 pounds for a small window up to 350 pounds for a double door. If you don't fancy yourself as a DIYer you could consider a professionally fitted screen. The price can range anywhere between 230 pounds for a small window to 5000 pounds for an extra-large screen but this will include fitting by a trained professional so you can rest assured that your screen will look amazing and work perfectly.
2. Protection - do you want to keep a few insects out or as many as possible?
If keeping insects out is your absolute priority above anything else, then the best choice for you would be a retractable cassette screen or a fixed screen. Cassette refers to the frame of the fly screen which is u-shaped so that the mesh fits securely into it and is usually held in place by stiff brushes. This type of frame ensures that insects cannot sneak in around the edges of the screens keeping your room entirely bug free. They are available as both a DIY product or you can have them professionally fitted. A fixed screen is also very effective when it comes to keeping insects out but you will not be able to open and close it so it is therefore no good for doors.
3. Appearance - do I want the solution to fit in with my decor?
Fly curtains, stick-on and hook and loop meshes tend to be more functional than fashionable and should only be considered if you're not too concerned with the aesthetics. DIY screens are usually white uPVC and look smart and discrete on white windows and doors. For those looking for something that extra bit special, a professionally fitted screen can offer you the most aesthetic choice. Professional companies like Phantom Screens, the UK's leading manufacturer of professionally fitted fly screens, offer a wide range of screens for insect protection, solar shading, privacy screening and blackout, which feature robust aluminium frames that can be colour-matched to complement your existing decor. They also offer a range of wood grain effects for a more traditional look. You can then choose any mesh or fabric of your choice to suit your specific requirements.
4. Product quality or durability - do I want the screen to withstand constant use?
As previously discussed some products at the cheaper end of the market can wear very quickly and cheaper mesh products can tear with frequent use. As far as mesh durability goes, retractable screens are usually the most resilient as the mesh is protected by the retractable housing when not in use. As for the frames, most DIY products are made of uPVC while professional screens are usually aluminium both of which are equally resistant to daily wear and tear. If you're looking for complete peace of mind, some manufacturers of professional products will offer a guarantee. For example, Phantom Screens offer a Lifetime Mechanical Warranty on all their screens so long as they are fitted by an approved professional.
5. Ease to fit - do I want to do it myself or get the professionals in?
This depends on how confident a DIYer you are. Most people can fit a fly curtain themselves as they tend to be either stick-on or tacked on with nails. Made to measure stick on fly screens are still simple to fit as you just have to click them together and then stick them to your existing window or door frame. It starts getting a bit more complicated if you buy a DIY fly screen in kit form as you may be required to saw through the tracks and cut the mesh to the right size so these are more suited to keen DIYers. If you're really concerned about your DIY abilities then you're probably best off leaving it to the professionals. A professional fitter will be able to advise you on all your available screening options and will ensure that your screen is finished to the highest standard.
6. Removability - do I want something for a few weeks or a permanent feature in my home that will last for years?
Different fly screens have different degrees of flexibility when it comes to fitting, refitting and removing. With stick-on fly curtains you will usually find that they're only good for one use. You're not likely to be able to remove them and stick them up elsewhere but they also won't leave any marks on your door or window which is a bonus. With hook and loop (Velcro) fly curtains you will usually need to tack these onto your door frame. This means that they are fairly easy to remove but will leave little holes in your surround. DIY retractable stick-on screens offer a good balance of durability and removability as they are adhered to the existing window or door frame with strong adhesive tape but can be removed easily without leaving any marks and refitted with new tape. A professionally fitted screen will usually require permanent changes to the surrounding wall as they are generally quite heavy so need to be properly fitted with screws. You will most likely need to hire a professional if you wish to remove the screen for any reason.
7. Discreetness - do I want the screen permanently on show or retracted away when not in use?
If you want to solve your insect problem but without drastically altering the look of your windows, then a professionally fitted screen is probably the best option for you. Professional fitters can match the screens to your existing colour scheme and recess fit them so that you barely see them when not in use. DIY retractable screens can also achieve a discreet look when used on white windows or doors as they simply stick to the frame and the mesh retracts into the housing. This means that they are not particularly noticeable when not being used. Fly curtains and fly screens are very obvious when they're in use but can be taken down and stored when you don't need them. However, if you have to use tacks to fit them then you will either need to leave the Velcro or brackets up or else, take it all off and reinstall it from scratch the following year.
Hopefully, this has unpicked some of the product options available to you and given you enough information to go out and purchase a fly screen that will fulfil all your requirements. We hope you found it useful and wish you happy shopping and a fly-free summer!