Window manufacturers are battling a necessary evil: window screens. “No one wants a screen in their window,” says Laurie Reding, group product planning manager for Marvin Windows and Doors. “We want the benefits of a screen, like keeping out bugs and debris, but when we go to look out the window, we all really want the screen to disappear.”
And disappear they are, thanks to EVIS, or excellent visibility insect screens that many manufacturers have introduced. By making the mesh from finer fiberglass yarns than are used in traditional window screens, EVIS are less easily detected by the eye, allowing the view to shine through. Our customers tend to be located in places that offer them a great view, and they don’t want that compromised,” Reding says. “It makes our Hi-Transparency screen a great option.”
At Weather Shield, brand manager Dave Koester notes another reason why EVIS, such as the maker’s No-See-Um screen, are gaining interest. “Windows are getting larger and larger,” he says. “People love natural light and the health benefits associated with it, as well as the fact that if you use more natural light, you use less electricity generating artificial light.” But larger windows mean larger openings and more screen mesh needed to keep the outside out. Moreover, Koester suggests that investing in home upgrades over the last several years has seen homeowners putting more money into expanding their landscaping and outdoor living spaces. “When you’ve worked so hard on those upgrades, why wouldn’t you want to see them clearly when you look out the window?” he asks.
At Phifer Wire, a major supplier of EVIS, vice president of sales, Alan Gray, explains that the benefits of low-visibility screens go beyond their subtle impact on the eye. “There’s a trade-off between the number of yarns per square inch and the size of the yarn,” he says. “You’re making smaller holes, but there are a lot more of them compared with what you would find in a standard screen. As a result, you’re getting improved airflow as well as the ability to keep smaller and smaller insects out.”
Both Weather Shield and Marvin are offering their low-visibility screens as upgrades, and both manufacturers offer wood-wrapped screens that make the screen even less apparent by hiding the metal edges. Several other manufacturers, including Andersen, Kolbe, and Jeld-Wen have similar products available. “We’re seeing a trend similar to the way manufacturers introduced good, better, and best low-E as an upgrade to clear glass,” Gray says. “The market and building codes helped change from clear to low-E. We probably won’t see codes force a change on screening, but if enough people take advantage of the benefits that EVIS screens offer, we’ll probably see it become a standard down the line.”