Window screens in the UK

One of the things that often confuses Americans when they visit the UK is our lack of window screens.

All the Imperialist Yankee media I consumed as a kid had a delightful array of screen doors and windows. But here in rainy old England, there's never been much call for them. Mosquitos are rare. Our bugs tend not to be large and terrifying. Our summers are rarely hot for long enough to warrant opening the windows.

But, hey, climate change is real. After sweltering last year and getting a fair share of mozzie bites, it was time to switch things up.

So I bought the cheapest magnetic window screens I could. Here's what they look like:
Product image of a flexible window screen.

For about £15 - £20 per window (depending on size) you get a couple of rolls of sticky magnetic tape, a mesh curtain, decorative strips, and some corner pieces.

I'd say the quality is... adequate. In the positive column - the magnetic tape sticks well to a uPVC frame and the magnets cling well to each other.

The mesh is fine. It is a bit stiff so it worth ironing before deploying in order to get the creases out. Bugs are unable to penetrate it - but it isn't so dense that it replaces the need for a net curtain for privacy.

Sticking the mesh to the magnetic strips is a bit fiddly. Unless you can get it perfectly taut, you'll end up with wrinkles and bunches of fabric. Nothing too obnoxious though.

Bunching of fabric in the corner.

Sadly, the decorative strips are a bit crap. The have glue on one side and - I guess - are supposed to bond with the glue on the magstrips through the mesh. It doesn't work.

Window mesh collapsed a little.

In the end, I squirted a bit of OB1 adhesive on the decorative strips and that seemed to hold them in place.

Once it's all stuck down, it is easy to trim the mesh to size. The corner pieces (once also glued down) are easy to use.

Pulling at the corner, it comes away and snaps back easily.

The end result? Yeah, they work. I can leave the windows open and I occasionally see bugs struggling to get in. The mesh keeps out flies, mosquitos, moths, wasps, hornets, and any other winged beastie.

These are much cheaper than pre-fabricated meshes. They're a bit of a faff to fit and get looking just right. But they work - our house is bug free.

And, no, they're not connected to the Internet!


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7 thoughts on “Window screens in the UK”

  1. Daniel says:

    We use the version with the velcro-like adhesive strip that goes on the inside of the window frame, where the seal of the window closes. The mesh goes onto the velcro. It works really well and is supercheap. You need side-hung windows for that to work though. Looks like with your type of window, the hinge would get in the way?

  2. Chris R says:

    We lived in Australia for 25+ years, and all houses there have mesh on the windows and doors (except for the front door, IIRC). Most of the windows were hinged at the top and had a winder at the bottom with a mechanism that pushed the window open or pulled it closed, without moving the flyscreen. Without that, it would have been a complete PITA, I think. Luckily we don't seem to need them here (Midlands).

  3. Kai says:

    I have tried various iterations of these and they work to a point but the design of our window frames with a protruding handle always gets in the way. Once you stick stuff to windows like with velcro and the like, it is always a bad result generally. Plus we have solid plantation blinds internally which makes this ridiculously fiddly.
    So this summer I have decided to do things differently. I am planning to create rigid but light window frame panels made with mesh sandwiched with a 5mm art foam board with strong magnets to attach to the frame. They come off quite easily when you need to remove them to close the window and can be moved out of the blind space easily as I plan to make several small ones like fencing panels so I only need to remove a part of the window mesh to close the window. It won't be easy but hopefully, the result will look far more professional and practical than previous efforts.

  4. says:

    TY for this. I rent a historic house that I can't modify. Many windows do not have screens. Now, I have an idea of how I can get screens for those windows. I might not use the magnets - possibly staples.


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