When choosing types of screen, there are two main materials that screen can be manufactured from: fiberglass yarns and metal wires. Of course, some screens are manufactured out of polyester yarns as well. So, how do you choose between the three? Read along to learn more!

What’s the Difference?

The very first insect screens were manufactured out of metal, so we’ll begin with metal screen. Generally manufactured out of aluminum, metal screen is a more traditional choice of screen material. It is very strong, making it ideal for geographical areas with insects such as grasshoppers that could pose a risk to eating through screens. Traditionally, metal screen delivers a more visually appealing 

experience when looking through them. Other metal screens are made from bronze, stainless and galvanized steel wire. 

Fiberglass screening began being manufactured in the late 1960’s, and was developed for its forgiving nature. Fiberglass, coated with a vinyl protective layer, offers a durable, longer-lasting option in coastal climates, since it is not susceptible to corrosion. Over time, fiberglass screen has become a popular option for pool enclosures and patios. Generally, fiberglass screen is only available in shades of charcoal or gray.

In the early 1980’s polyester fabrics were first produced by Phifer for outdoor furniture applications in our Phifertex® product line. Its strong, durable and weather resistant features in any outdoor application led to the development of other woven polyester products such as PetScreen®, TuffScreen® and SunTex® exterior sun shading fabrics.

Pros and Cons of Metal, Fiberglass, and Polyester

While all three types of screen weather well and offer clear views, there are certain characteristics of each screen that make them more preferable in certain applications.


Metal screen, while sturdy, is also not forgiving, meaning that if pets, people or other object impact the screen, it will dent permanently. The fact that metal screen isn’t forgiving, also makes it difficult to install in DIY projects. There’s a specific process that must be followed when installing metal screen, and most experts suggest hiring a professional to do the job. One more characteristic to keep in mind, is 

Bronze Screen

that metal screen generally comes in maximum widths of 60 to 72 inches. Therefore, if you’re looking for screen large enough to cover a wide opening space such as in pool cages, the 6-foot maximum width would not be ideal for projects with wide expanse requirements.


Fiberglass, unlike metal screen, is very forgiving, and can withstand the hustle and bustle of people and pets and accidental bump-ins. This forgiving nature is also a great quality for DIY installs. So, if you’re wanting to screen in your back porch one weekend, this material is your better bet. The width range for fiberglass screen is vast, and can be as wide as 132”, making it a great option for larger installs such as

18x14 Fiberglass

pool and patio enclosures. Fiberglass is also more cost effective than aluminum.

However, fiberglass screen can have its setbacks as well, with fewer colors available and a greater vulnerability to damage from insects such as grasshoppers.


The primary difference with polyester screening products such as Phifer PetScreen® is not only the different core yarn but how it is coated with the protective vinyl. While metal screens are painted after weaving and fiberglass yarns are coated with a liquid vinyl prior to weaving, polyester yarns are vinyl coated in an extrusion process which places more vinyl on the yarn when compared with

SunTex 80

liquid coating. The result is the ability to make a larger diameter and “softer” coated yarn. The larger polyester yarns are woven in all SunTex® sun shading fabrics and many popular pool and patio products such as TuffScreen® No-See-Um screening.

Where to Buy Metal, Fiberglass or Polyester Screen?

If you’re in the market to buy metal screen, Phifer® offers Aluminum No-See-Um screen that is perfect for keeping most small insects out, and providing great visibility. As for fiberglass screen, UltraVue 2® is an excellent choice of screen that provides unobstructed views and is infused with Water Shed Technology® to keep screens clear by preventing water collection on the screen while also repelling dirt and debris. TuffScreen® is a very popular polyester mesh product for screen porches or pool enclosures where durability is a priority feature. To buy any of these products now, click here.

Check out these and other screening products at www.phifer.com. From our website, you can live chat with us or give us a call at 800-854-9473 to ask questions or receive more information.

June 12, 2024

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