Right now, with the full heat and humidity of the Florida summer blasting down on us every day, you’re probably spending as much time as possible in cool, air-conditioned rooms, and trying to avoid spending time outdoors if at all possible. But in a couple of months, when the temperatures fall, it’ll be time to enjoy those pleasant evenings outdoors on the porch with a cocktail. And soon after, you’ll be able to turn the air off completely at night, throw the doors and windows open, and let the fresh air circulate through your house or garage.
But, as Floridians know only too well, with the breeze come the insects. Mosquitoes, wasps, moths, spiders and more – they all just seem to love coming into your house. You may even get larger visitors – squirrels, neighboring cats, or perhaps snakes! And as the leaves start to drop from the trees, you’ll get detritus from the garden blowing in as well.
The answer, of course, is a simple screen. There’s nothing like the simple pleasure of opening those doors and windows and enjoying the late fall or winter weather. For the locals, it’s a welcome relief from the 90° heat we’ve been used to. And for those who come down here to enjoy the winter, it brings perfect warmth into your vacation home.
Now’s the time to start thinking about installing, replacing or upgrading your screens. Many Southwest Florida homeowners leave it until November or December to deal with these jobs, but that’s when contractors are often booked solid. Here’s what you need to be doing right away.
- Examine your existing screens and see if they need cleaning, repairing, or replacing.
- Call around and check for availability of suitable local contractors.
- Consider your options on the types of screens available: your contractor will be able to give you impartial advice on what’s best. Remember you may have different needs in different parts of the building.
- Consider the type of material you’re going to need: fiberglass is cheaper, but more prone to tearing, while aluminum is more durable but considerably more expensive. You may need to look into specialty materials, such as pet-resistant screens.
- The tightness of the mesh is critical. Tighter meshes keep out smaller insects, but block more light.
- Do you need retractable screens, or will they be permanently fixed in place? If you want retractables, will you have them hand operated or electrical?
- Will your chosen screen be compatible with your hurricane protection?
- Budget for the work and set the money aside. Remember to include the cost for both materials and installation.
- Book your installation date!