Window screens are primarily designed to let in fresh air and keep most everything else out. The most common materials used for screens are aluminum and fiberglass.
- Aluminum screens generally come natural or with an applied charcoal color. Charcoal is much less visible and preferable where views are important.
- Fiberglass screens are available in light gray as well as charcoal. Fiberglass screens are generally preferable to aluminum screens because the fiberglass is less likely to corrode or dent upon impact.
With most windows or doors, screens are placed on the exterior side so that you can open and close the window from the inside of your home. The exception is for casement and awning windows. These have the screens on the interior side of the window so that the window can be cranked open for ventilation.
Retractable screens are sliding door screens that roll into a pocket when not in use. These screens virtually disappear when you don't need them. They usually have a built-in dampening system for smooth, easy retraction—they won't slam shut if accidentally released.