Shopping for new replacement windows? There is much more than meets the eye. Sounds like a simple proposition get a couple of estimates to pick out the best ones and get them installed right? Maybe not when you start shopping around, you begin to realize there is a lot more to it, should I go with vinyl or wood replacement windows? If you decide on vinyl then there are many different frame sizes and styles.
Do you want double hung sliders or casements? What color should you go with beige white or bronze? Wait till you start with glass options. Any way some times the last thing anybody thinks about is the screens they may not be the most important thing on the list but they are some thing to consider, because they are not all built the same. Cheaply made screens may look just fine when your looking at a sample, but a year or two after their installed you can tell the difference.
Paying attention to how the screen is put together can tell you a lot about the quality of the rest of the window and the manufacture who built it. The first thing to look for is how the corners of the frame are put together, a real dead give away is the plastic corner key. It allows the manufacture to use straight cut pieces of the aluminum screen frame and just slide the pieces together which is all held in place by the screening. Its simple and quick to put together, and when its brand new it works great. What many people do not realize is that over time, the shiny maintenance free vinyl window they have gets coated with road dust, air pollution and pollen. It covers all surfaces of the window including the screen track which creates a lot of friction, and increases the force it takes to open and close the screen. That puts a lot of stress on those cheap plastic corners to the point they can easily break.
The better choice is a screen that has a miter cut at the corners and uses a aluminum corner key, it looks better and is much stronger. Often times once assembled the corners are stamped together for extra strength. It may seem obvious, but check to make sure your screen has a lift rail of some kind because some screens do not have one. If you think about it its cheaper for a manufacture to use the same extrusion profile for all four sides of the screen. Incorporating a lift rail into the screen causes them to have one extra piece to deal with, multiply that little cost times tens of thousands of windows and it becomes a factor.
If you’re shopping for a double hung window with a half screen check the top of the the screen when closed to see how it seals against the window sash. Look for some type of vinyl bug flap or a piece of wool pile that is inserted into the extrusion and not something that is glued on. Again anything like foam tape or even wool pile that is glued on will come off over time no mater what they tell you. All of these tactics are cost cutting measures, if a window manufacture is doing that with things you can see, just imagine what are they doing in areas you can not see?