What are Retractable Screens?

Updated: Oct. 28, 2022

What are Retractable Screens?

doorsvia Home Depot

Mosquitoes, flies, gnats. Give them a chance and these pesky insects WILL invade your house. That’s why homeowners install screen doors. But, what if you could have the bug protection of a screen door (and the fresh air it lets in) without the door? You can! Retractable screens, also known as, hidden screens, are the answer.

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What are Retractable Screens?

Retractable screens are pulled out of a casing on the side of a door opening to cover the opening, keeping bugs out and letting fresh air in. The casing can also be installed at the top of an opening to provide screening for an open porch, covered patio or garage. These handy screens retract into the casing when you don’t need them. Typically, they glide along a track. Retractable screens for doors are usually manually operated and for large openings like those found on porches and covered patios they are sometimes motorized.

Maybe you have an attractive front door you don’t want to hide with a traditional storm door. Or, maybe you only need screens occasionally, when certain insects are in season. With French doors, you might not have space for hinged or sliding screen doors. And, if you have a covered patio or porch, you might want to transform it into a screened space occasionally, making your time outside more pleasant and the space more usable for more months of the year.

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Is There a Downside to Retractable Screens?

If you live in a climate where you need a storm door to protect your entry door or help make the entry more energy efficient, you don’t want to install retractable screens. And, if the opening is a door where security is an issue, you’ll need to make sure you’re comfortable with the durability of the lock on the retractable screen. This is how to install a storm door and storm door replacement.

What Should I Watch Out For When Shopping for Retractable Screens?

Make sure the screen rolls smoothly back into the casing rather than jerking back. Look for screens that have a subtle pattern; when a full screen covers an opening, the pattern helps make sure people see that there is a screen in the opening. And, if you want the screen to match the color scheme of your home’s exterior, look for a manufacturer that offers color options.

What Sizes Do They Come In?

Retractable screens are available in standard door opening sizes, including French doors. But, some companies also will customize retractable screens to fit a non-standard opening, whether it’s a door, a porch or a patio.

How Much Do They Cost?

At Home Depot, you can find an ODL Brisa retractable screen for a standard 32- to 36-in. x 80-in. opening for about $170. Larger and custom sizes can be considerably more expensive.

Are Retractable Screens DIY Friendly?

They are, particularly if the opening you’re screening is a standard size. Basically, you’re installing metal tracks and the screen casing.

Where Can You Buy Retractable Screens?

Home centers, door companies such as Andersen, and screen companies, such as Stoett.

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