The Parts of a Window Screen

A window screen is a frame on which a porous fabric is mounted. The frame is then attached to the interior or exterior of an operable window to prevent insects or foreign objects from entering when the window is open.

Window screens came into common use in the mid-1800s as a defense against parasitic diseases carried by flying insects, and the ultimate eradication of such threats in the United States is attributed in part to the common use of window screens.

Today, almost all the homes in the United States use window screens on all operable window openings.


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Window Curtain

The frame of a window screen is an assembly on which the screen material is mounted and attaches to the window jamb.  The screening mesh is stretched taut across the frame assembly and secured to it by means of stales or a molding strip on wood frames, and a rubber or plastic channel gasket on metal or plastic frames.

Frame Types

The frame of a window screen can be made of wood, metal (usually aluminum or aluminum alloy) or rigid plastic.  The frame typically matches the geometric shape of the window opening it is intended to cover.

Screen Features

Screen material, also referred to as hardware wire cloth or hardware mesh, can be made of several materials.  The typical construction is a woven mesh of smaller gauge wire, with a weave open enough to allow ventilation and light penetration, but tight enough to stop any infiltration by insects. A typical residential application uses a 1/32-inch to 1/16-inch weave. 

Types of Weave

Stainless or galvanized steel hardware cloth is used for window screens where strength is a consideration, such as for larger window openings or where durability is desired.  Galvanized hardware cloth can be electro galvanized or hot-dipped as a galvanizing treatment. Galvanized hardware wire cloth offers good corrosion resistance, bright appearance and a long service life Aluminum hardware wire mesh is a lightweight screening material that also offers excellent strength and corrosion resistance, and is less costly than stainless steel with the same bright appearance Fiberglass, plastic or other synthetic materials are another common window screen material, and are generally the least expensive screening option. 

Hooks and Latches

There are numerous ways the window screen frame is secured to the window.  Here are three common examples Often the screen is supplied by the window manufacturer and fits into a notch or groove in the window's frame. In this case, the latching mechanism can be part of the screen frame or mounted on the window jamb Window screens are also hung from the window frame on specialized metal hooks.  The most common screen hooks are a loop-and-peg style that supports the screen frame from the top, with a hook and eye latch that holds the bottom of the frame securely against the windowsill Slide bolts or hook-and-loop latches also are commonly used to secure the screen unit in place.

About the Author

Paul Massey has been writing since 2009, drawing on a 35-year career in the construction industry. His experience includes 15 years as a general building contractor specializing in architectural design, custom homes, commercial development and historic renovations.