How Often Should I Replace The Screens On My Porch?

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey
Credit: Chad Robertson Media

A screened-in porch is a major selling point and a highly coveted outdoor feature on any home. These outdoor rooms provide the beauty and wonder of nature with the added protection of a screen. These screens keep out bugs and debris and allow you to create an environment that is a lot like the rest of your home. But screens don’t last forever, and therefore you need to replace them from time to time.

You need to replace the screens on your porch every eight to fifteen years. The exact amount of time you can wait depends on several factors. The quality of the materials, your climate, and your level of maintenance and upkeep impact the lifespan of your porch screens. If you notice fraying, discoloration, warping, or holes, then it is likely time to replace the screens on your porch.

If you have a screened-in porch, then you are probably wondering how often you need to replace the screen. After all, if the screens have holes and begin to fray, they become rather useless. But replacing a screen isn’t cheap, so keep reading to gain a better understanding of how long you can wait before replacing your porch screens.

How Often Should I Replace My Porch Screens?

A new screen for your porch can cost anywhere from $700 to over $5,000 depending on where you live, the size of your porch, and the type of project. Replacing the screens on your porch is not cheap, and therefore you will want to wait as long as possible to complete this project. In general, you should wait between eight and fifteen years before you need to replace your porch screens.

The amount of time you can wait to replace your porch screens will vary significantly based on several factors. Your climate and the immediate surroundings (plants, salt water, wind) all play a major role in the longevity of your screens.

The quality of the materials and your upkeep and maintenance also impact how long your porch screens will last. Often the best way to know when it is time to replace your porch screens is to look out for warning signs.

Top Signs It Is Time To Replace The Screens On Your Porch

They Are More Than 15 Years Old

The lifespan of your porch screens can vary significantly based on many factors. Still, even considering these factors, every screen will need to be placed eventually. Unless you use the best possible materials and do a fantastic job maintaining your porch screens, they won’t last more than 15 years.

If you can’t remember the last time you replaced the screens on your porch, or have never done so, this is another sign the time to replace your porch screens is near.

Warping Or Loose Mesh

Your screen porch will also start showing some visual signs once the screen has passed its prime. One sign that it is time to replace your porch screens is when the mesh becomes warped or loose. There are several reasons your porch screens might become loose or warped, but nearly all of these reasons indicate you need to repair them.

Warped screens could mean the structure of the porch itself has shifted. It can also mean the screens have begun to expand and sag due to weather and time. Either way, this is a sign that you need to give your porch screens attention before the problem gets worse.

The Screens Look Faded

Another visual sign that your screens should be replaced with new ones is if the screens look faded. Faded screens can be difficult to notice, as this is a gradual process. It is often most apparent on screens that are most exposed to the sun and other neutral elements. The faded color is usually a sign that the material is breaking down and slowly decomposing.

There is Noticeable Ripping Or Fraying

One obvious sign that you need to replace the screens on your porch is when there is noticeable ripping and fraying. Fraying is often common along the bottom or edges of your screen, especially where the screen meets the ground.

Rips, however, can occur anywhere on the screen and can happen for a myriad of reasons. One or two rips can be patched up and repaired. If more rips keep appearing, or if fraying worsens, then this is a sign your screens are passed their prime and should be replaced.

Large And Small Holes In The Screen

Whether a tree falls into your porch screen or your beloved pet claws at it, there are moments out of your control that can result in major porch screen damage. Sometimes these holes can be repaired with a patch job. In other cases, the best solution is to simply start over with a new porch screen.

The Screen Has Become Brittle

One final sign that it is time to replace the screens on your porch is when they become noticeably brittle. If you gently rub up against the mesh and find that it cracks under the slightest pressure, then it is time for a new screen. Ideally, you won’t wait this long to replace the screen, as this means the screen is far beyond its prime.

5 Ways To Help Your Porch Screens Last Longer

1. Regular Cleaning and Seasonal Maintenance

One of the best ways to ensure the longest life possible for your porch screens is to keep them clean and perform seasonal maintenance on them. There are several easy and effective ways of keeping your porch screens clean.

You can use a low-pressure setting on your hose to wash them occasionally. You can also use a vacuum attachment to suck up any dirt and dust. You should also remove any debris that clings to the screen as soon as you notice it.

Seasonal maintenance should be performed in the spring and fall. You can lightly wash your screens with soapy water to remove any dirt buildup. Before the winter, you can even apply a vinyl sheet on the screen if you live somewhere with harsh winters.

2. Apply UV Protection

Many modern porch screens have a coating that protects the mesh from harmful UV rays. This protection can wear off over time, especially after several years of strong sun and harsh weather. It is a good idea to add UV coating to your screens to give them extra protection against the sun.

3. Repair Damaged Screens Quickly

Another key to getting the longest life possible from your porch screens is to repair small problems as soon as you notice them. If there is a small hole or rip, patch it right away. Small holes can become big ones very quickly. The same goes for a little gap or even a bit of peeling paint on the beams that connect the screen.

4. Keep Nearby Plants Trimmed

Keeping plants near your porch is a great way to attract birds, and also a wonderful way to add bursts of life and color. But it can also cause damage. Birds can poop on your porch and the screens, and plants can start poking and scratching at your screens. Keep your plants trimmed and at a safe distance to avoid unnecessary damage.

5. Pet-Proof Your Screens

Pets are wonderful companions to have in the home, but they can spell trouble for your porch screens. Dogs and cats in particular are known to use their claws to destroy porch screens. There are many ways to pet-proof the window screens on your porch. There are sprays you can use, and you can also place barriers like plants or certain furniture that will help keep your furry friends away from your porch screens.

Summing Up How Often You Should Replace Porch Screens

Screened porches are a fantastic way to enjoy the beauty and refreshing splendor of the outdoors. These screens must be replaced every eight to fifteen years for them to effectively keep pests away.

The amount of time you can wait before replacing your screens depends on your climate, maintenance, and immediate surroundings. If you have pets, keep them away from your porch screens with sprays or barriers. Clean screens regularly, and apply UV protection to increase their lifespan.

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Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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