Our home is filled with traditional, double hung windows. Several are original to the home, which was built in the 1930’s (that’s prehistoric by California standards). One of the first things I did when we bought the home was to remove all the aftermarket screens. They were ugly, hard to clean, in rough condition, and I like a clear view not obstructed by unsightly mesh. Fast forward about a decade (yes, I said decade), and much to my wife’s dismay, we still didn’t have screens on our windows. My attitude was always, “We’re in San Diego, we don’t have bugs!” However, last summer, I was seen running around our bedroom at 3:00 am, hunting a mosquito that was tormenting me. Since my tolerance for late-night wakings has never been good, and because my wife is convinced our family is an ideal target for the Zika virus, something had to be done. I had seen adjustable window screens online a couple times, and it was time to give them a shot.
How Adjustable Window Screens Work
Adjustable window screens are designed to fit into an open window, typically in a double hung or single hung window. As their name implies, they can be adjusted to different window opening widths. In essence they are like two narrowly overlapping screens that share a sliding track enabling you to expand or contract the screen. Their height is usuallly fixed at about 12″ or less, while their width can adjust to fit most typical double hung windows.
The Original Marvin Adjustable Window Screens from Frost King
When I decided to explore adjustable window screens, I assumed there would be countless options. Instead, I found relatively few to choose from. The Frost King Original Marvin adjustable window screens seemed pretty legit. And, since I had posed with Mr (or Ms?) Frost King several years ago at the National Hardware Show, I felt like I shared a special bond with them.
If you’re looking for a precisely engineered product, prepare to be underwhelmed. These adjustable window screens are a combination of wood and metal that appear to be nailed together. They’re functional, but not high-end. Another thing to be aware of is that if your window opening isn’t entirely square (a common feature of older double hung windows), then you may find a gap where the screen frame meets the bottom of the window sash. We ran into that issue on a couple of our windows and my plan is to get a thin strip of adhesive weatherstripping and run that along the top edges of the screen. Sealing any gap in that way should help the screen do its job of keeping the critters out.
Adjustable AND Louvered Window Screens?
I was recently ordering a couple more of these and discovered they also have a louvered version. There are a couple reasons why you would potentially go this route:
1) Privacy – If you have a shade you want to close for all but the open portion of the window, a plain screen is still easy to see through. A louvre will provide additional privacy, while still providing some ventilation and insect protection.
2) Rain (and Snow? and Wind?) – Some reviews of the louvered version touted their rain protection abilities while again still allowing for insect-free airflow. The packaging for mine claimed they keep snow and wind out too. Speaking as a thin-skinned San Diegan, if it’s snowing, I’m going to step out on a limb and suggest maybe you should just close your window.
Despite my initial skepticism on the louvered version, I have to say the privacy and wind-reducing abilities make the louvered version worth considering for at least certain windows that are more exposed to weather and / or the peering eyes of neighbors or passers by.
Adjustable Window Screen Sizes and Cost
I ordered two particular models and sizes of the Adjustable Window Screen:
Model AWS1033 – which is 10″ tall and adjusts to openings 19″ to 33″ wide
Model AWS1045 – which is 10″ tall and adjusts to openings 25″ to 45″ wide
Model AWS1207 – which is a louvered screen 10″ tall and adjusts to openings 21″ to 37″ wide.
There are even adjustable window screens that are as tall as 2′ and extend to almost 4′ wide.
Pricing varies, however most are in the $10-$20 range.
While the fit, finish and appearance of these isn’t likely to amaze, the fact that they are quick to install and that they do their job while still allowing clear views out the window make them easy to recommend. If you’re looking for a seasonal screen for a handful of your double hung windows, check out the Marvin Adjustable Window Screens as a potential solution for keeping the critters out (and hopefully avoiding a Zika virus outbreak in your home).