We get asked about security screen doors frequently. This article is intended to shed some light on the topic. Your investment in security screen door choices varies greatly, so it’s important to understand the differences so you can choose a door that is the correct solution for your specific needs.
There are several options of security screen doors. One, we will refer to as a “light security” screen door. Most appropriate when you want to deter intrusions, ensure pets and/or children won’t get out but one which will allow an ample amount of light and air into your home. There are also security screen doors considered to be more “heavy duty.” These are most appropriate when you want the highest level of security from aggressive intrusions. They can be heavier to move and often have thicker screens, which cuts down on the amount of airflow and light they allow.
Below are examples of the types of screens you may find in light security screen doors and heavy duty security screen doors.
Light security screen doors may come with standard mesh or heavier duty mesh options.
Heavy duty security screen doors may have stainless steel wire screens or a perforated metal screen.
Features you will want to look for in a light security screen door:
- An aluminum frame
- Reinforced corners
- Aluminum mesh screen that does not come out or tear easily
- Durable cross section construction
- A lockable handle
Features you will want to look for in a heavy duty security screen door:
- 16 gauge steel frame (or aluminum alloy construction)
- Perforated aluminum screen mesh (or perforated metal screen)
- Reinforced corners
- Welded cross sections
- Lockable handles -- many screen doors do not come with hardware or handles, so you may need to purchase those separately
A light security door would be enough to allow time to close a main door should someone be trying to get in. Heavy duty security screen doors are very near to impossible to break into due to the heavy duty frame and metal screen, can be more cumbersome to handle, and may look more industrial simply due to their construction.
In summary, the 4 main differences between light security and heavy duty security screen doors:
- Mesh Screens – Light security screen doors typically have a variety of aluminum mesh screen choices, which are sturdy but still allow for plenty of fresh air and light. Standard screen door mesh is 18/14, high traffic or pet screen mesh is made of heavy duty aluminum and is 7 times stronger than standard screening. Heavy duty security screen door screens typically come in a variety of diameter choices of 304 stainless steel wire or stainless steel and aluminum combination screens. The screens will withstand around 60 pounds of static weight. The latter limits the amount of light and airflow in exchange for security and heavy-duty screen doors are generally heavy to open and close than their lighter alternative.
- Construction – Heavy duty security screen doors feature all steel construction, welded mitered joint & corner construction, have stainless steel hinges and a baked-on power coat finish. The main benefit of this type of construction is durability, however they can be heavy to move. Light security screen doors will be made with a .065 heavy wall aluminum frame to ensure strength and no warping or twisting. The corners of the frames will have reinforced construction and ideally they have been engineered to ensure heavy duty durability at critical joint points. PCA doors, for instance, feature a thru-lock system that doubles the wall thickness wherever frame members cross. Lastly, kick plate panels help screen doors withstand stress blows whether they are aluminum or steel construction, and are an important component of a security screen door.
- Locks & Hardware – One of the most important aspects of a security screen door of either aluminum or steel construction is the lock. To add security to any screen door, the handle and lock are critical components. A Tasman lock, for instance is a handle that features a lock with a dead bolt and a double key locking system. It can be locked from the inside or out with a key. Another option is to add a Kephart Deadlock. It adds security to a screen door by providing a supplemental deadbolt and features a key lock on the outside.
- Cost – Many homeowners choose a light security door due to the cost savings over heavy-duty alternatives. They can be 1/3 the cost of heavy duty security screen doors.
PCA Products screen doors fall into the light security category. They feature .065 heavy duty aluminum construction, thru-lock construction to double the strength of cross-members, and a self locking screen system which means that the more pressure applied to the screen actually makes it hold even tighter. PCA provides additional security options like the Tasman lock and Kephart deadbolt. If you are looking for a heavy duty steel constructed option you may want to check out these brands to learn more: Guarda, Larson, Unique Home Designs, Titan, Sentry or Gibralter.
Lastly, you’ll want to make certain to carefully check the warranty of whichever security screen door you choose (see the PCA lifetime warranty here). You want a door built to last, with features that fit your lifestyle.