Retractable Screen Info

Table of Contents

  1. Will a retractable screen work with a sliding patio door?
  2. Can the screen be locked?
  3. Will the screen keep pets in (or out of) the house?
  4. How easy is it for children to operate?
  5. Will my pet damage my screen?
  6. Is the screen mesh replaceable?
  7. Can I install the screen myself?

Will a retractable screen work with a sliding patio door?

Yes it will.  In fact, people who replace their slider screens with one of my retractable screens no longer have to fight the typical sliding screen's annoying habit of always coming off the track (not to mention the fact that they also get an unobstructed view of the outside since the screen material is no longer constantly in the way).

Click on the picture below to see a larger image of one of my screens installed on a slider


The picture on the left shows the screen retracted into the housing.  The picture on the right shows the screen extended across the opened sliding door.

Its hard to see because it matches the sliding door exactly (black), but if you look carefully at the middle of the door you'll see a slight bump.  That's the retractable screen housing. On slider applications a retractable screen is installed in the middle of the door.  

In most cases the retractable screen cannot be installed directly against the sliding door frame because metallic "fins" (designed to hold a typical slider screen) at the top of the door are in the way.  Instead the retractable screen housing  is installed an inch or so away.  (This also facilitates the operation of the retractable screen as it clears the handle of the sliding glass door). 

Now note the grey colored strip between the housing and the sliding glass door.  It's a pliable rubber-like material called "bug flap" and is used to seal the gap between the screen housing and the sliding door frame.  Bug flap is used in most sliding door applications.

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Can the screen be locked?

Yes, with optional security pins. But I do not recommend their use.  Please bear in mind that this is a screen door designed to keep insects outside while you open your home for maximum ventilation.  It is not a security screen.

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Will the screen keep pets in (or out of) the house?

The screen will keep pets/animals in or out to a degree. An extended screen remains taut across the door opening and provides a degree of resistance which your pets/animals may not like to cross.  However, the screen is not secured at the bottom (or the top), therefore it is possible for a pet/animal to push it's way underneath. Cats seem more prone to do this than dogs. 

That said, I have customers who have used their retractable screens for years and have successfully kept their pets where they have wanted them -- be it in the house -- or out.

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How easy is it for children to operate ?

If a child can open a door, then they should be able open and close a retractable screen.  Some very small children may have to use both hands to operate the screen.  But in any case they should be shown how to operate it.

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Will my pet damage my screen?

It is very unlikely your pet will damage any of the metal components of your door as they are constructed from heavy gauge aluminum.  On rare occasions your pet may damage your screen mesh.  But a lot depends on the type and temperament of your pet. 

First I'll describe some minor mishaps your pet may encounter with the screen.  Some pets,  dogs, for example, might not see the screen and walk into it.  In most cases all this does is detaches the pull bar from the magnetic latch -- inadvertently opening the screen.  This does not damage the screen in any way.  Usually this will happen only once and the pet will not attempt to walk into the screen again. 

Sometimes your pet may encounter the screen with enough force that the screen pulls away from the roll bar (inside the housing).  This sounds (and looks) worse than it is -- but it usually does no damage to the screen mesh, and is easily fixed.  If the screen was recently purchased (and you can wait a day or so until I'm in your area) I will perform this repair for free.  Again, in most cases, the dog will usually not attempt to walk (or run) into the screen again.

Actual damage to the screen mesh is a rare event.  I have only encountered one "tear" incident in the the hundreds of doors I've installed.  Again, if this were a recent purchase and you and your pet are learning to use the door, I will repair your door for material costs only -- between $15 and $20.

Cats are surprisingly easier on these screens than dogs.  With cats its usually an issue of wanting to get in or out of the house.  With a typical screen door cats attempt to enter the house by clawing through the mesh.  With a retractable screen cats quickly learn that, since the screen is not secured at the bottom,  they can crawl under the screen.  This may become a wear factor and, if done enough times, may damage the bottom edge of your mesh.

If your pet is one that uses your screen this way,  it will probably  take several years to damage your mesh.  Retractable screen mesh is tough stuff.  It has to be to withstand the rigors of continually rolling in and out of the screen housing.  You may actually find that a retractable screen mesh lasts longer than what your used to.  That's because its not fixed in a frame, but gives, so is less prone to tearing.  Also, unlike a conventional screen door, your mesh is not exposed to your pet (. . . or the kids . . . or Uncle Charlie) year round -- only when the screen is pulled out.  Which translates to -- less exposure, less chance to be damaged.

One last thought to leave with you -- I have many customers who are pet owners.  They have found a way for their pets and their retractable screens to co-exist.

They love their pets -- and they love owning their Dean's Retractable Screen.

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Is the screen mesh replaceable?

Yes it is.  You do not have to purchase a new screen system to replace the mesh.

Screen mesh replacement should not have to be done very often -- if ever.  But if you find that a replacement is necessary, then I currently charge between $30 and $75 depending on mesh size and how soon you need to have it done. You will save the most on this service If you can wait a few days until I am in your area.

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Can I install the screen myself?

Yes.  I sell a do-it-yourself kit for a very reasonable price.  Price of the kit includes on-site measurements of your door by one of our qualified installers (if you live within our service area) and telephone support should you need assistance with the installation.  Note: the kit will work for all doors except sliders.

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