Patio Fixed Screens vs. Retractable Screens [Price, Pros, Cons]


Patio Fixed Screens vs. Retractable Screens

If you are in the process of installing a new screen for your patio, there are two options that you have to choose from.

The first option is a fixed screen that does not retract and can be installed permanently on one side of the door or window opening – this will provide privacy when desired.

The second option is a motorized retractable screen which provides all-weather protection and can be retracted outside when not needed.

There are many pros and cons to each type so read on before deciding! So let’s get started.

What Is A Fixed Patio Screen?

Patio Fixed Screens vs. Retractable Screens

A fixed patio screen is a type of screen that doesn’t move and is fixed. It usually fits into the opening on your patio or window so it can block out bugs and other insects from coming in while also letting fresh air circulate through.

It is a solid structure made up of aluminum or steel panels. It can be designed to hold screens in doors, windows, and sliding glass doors while still allowing natural light into your home.

They are ideal for keeping an open concept space since they cover the whole width of the door or window which helps keep drafts away but still allows you to see outside when needed.



It’s the most cost-effective of the two alternatives, making it a smart option if your primary objective is to make a good profit when you sell your property.

Cheaper To Maintain

Once they are installed by a professional, modern screen system are straightforward to use. You may simply fix the panel without reinstalling the whole screen if you address just the problem.


Many people are taken surprised by how good they can look. There are fewer posts required than with older systems, and the screens are nearly see-through, creating a nearly invisible barrier that is still bug-proof.

Alternatively, we can install privacy screens to block your neighbor’s view.


Less Flexibility

For some, this is a major disadvantage; for others, it is not. However, these systems are designed to be installed permanently and used all year.

That means your screen will be up even if you don’t need bug protection during the months when you don’t.

Hard to Remove

Some fixed screen systems can be removed for seasonal use, but we do not recommend this. Why? It’s a major annoyance. To begin with, it will take you at least a full day to remove all of them.

If your porch isn’t at ground level, this will be even more difficult and time-consuming, as it will require climbing up and down ladders.

Second, you’ll need to find a place to store the screens that will keep them safe from rips and damage. Third, you must repeat the process in reverse to put them back up.

What Is A Retractable Patio Screens?

Patio Fixed Screens vs. Retractable Screens

A retractable patio screen is a retractable cover featuring mesh panels that roll open and closed as needed to allow air or light in.

Retractable patio screens are an excellent alternative to traditional fixed porch screens. Motorized retractables give you the freedom to open your porch when you need to.

They provide options that traditional screens do not, whether it be in shape or color. Patio screens come in several different shapes and sizes to fit almost any patio size, and they also often double as room dividers which will help divide up space without blocking light.


No Door Needed

You simply press a button, and the walls all rise. It’s a cool feature that makes your living space appear larger.

Wide Openings

Because the screens can span more than 20 feet, fewer (or no) columns are required.

Use It When Needed

You don’t need to be bothered by that screen during the months when bugs aren’t an issue. It’s an excellent option for those who despise screens. You’ll still have the roof to keep you out of the sun.


You’ve converted your screened-in porch into an open-air, covered deck with the push of a button. This means you can only use those screens during the months when you need them.

Connect Two Porch Spaces

Retractable screens are an excellent way to connect an exterior porch or deck to your ground-level screen porch. Simply open the screen to take advantage of a larger area, and close it if you want the screen to act as a barrier between the two spaces.


More Expensive

Retractable screens are typically four times the price of fixed screens. A single motorized system typically costs $3,000, and most screen porches require three systems (for the three “walls”).

That works out to about $9,000 for your project. When compared to the average cost of $2,000 or $3,000 to install a quality fixed screen system, this is a bargain.

How Much Are Retractable Patio Screens?

Motorized patio screens can range in price from $3,000 to $9,000 for an entry door screen depending on how many openings you want to be covered.

There are many different styles that offer different levels of protection and privacy. A thorough installation process may add another $175-$450 depending on what type is used and how it needs to be installed (anchored into stucco, masonry or wood).

Good quality retractable screens use durable materials and can last for years without showing too much wear and tear. If you choose a poor quality screen however, the mesh may become damaged easily and one small rip could render the entire thing useless.

Retractable patio screens come in many different sizes to accommodate any window or patio opening from under 40 inches all the way up to 10 feet.

Most of these screens are custom made for individual openings due to their size and shape, but some companies offer standard shapes that they will make fit most openings.

How Much Is Fixed Patio Screens?

A standard patio screen cost between $800 and $5,000 and goes up, depending on your choice of mesh openings, aluminum thickness, powder-coating colors, hardware finishes, and panel designs.

If you hire a contractor, the average labor cost is $110 for the first 38 square feet, then $2 to $3 for each additional square foot.

For basic inserts, labor to replace glass windows in a sunroom or porch costs around $500. However, if your repairs are significant, you may have to pay up to $2,000 in labor alone.

What will it cost in your area?

  • Tampa, FL: $430-$1,200
  • San Diego, CA: $2,200-$11,100
  • Chicago, IL: $800-$2,800
  • New York, NY: $960-$5,000
  • San Antonia, TX: $1,800-$21,100
  • Atlanta, GA: $1,100-$23,000

How Does A Retractable Screen Work?

Retractable screens are also known as Retractable Screens Door or Rolling Screen Doors. A retractable screen is a multi-layer combination of mesh and a heavy duty, spring loaded roller system that retracts to store behind the door panel when not in use.

When the homeowner wants fresh air in their home they just pull on a handle that extends the layered screen from its’ housing above the door.

The screen continues to roll out over the top of the door, catching on a stainless steel track system, creating a soft barrier between your home and outside elements.

Do Retractable Patio Screens Last?

Most companies recommend changing screens every seven years regardless of location because even if it has survived this long, extreme weather conditions can affect performance which could pose safety issues for your family.

Much depends on several factors: location, climate, and weather conditions as well as proper installation and maintenance.

If you live in a place where it gets extremely hot, such as Arizona or Nevada for example, or if your house is by the ocean or near saltwater since those substances cause rusting which affects the structure of the screen’s components.

Your location plays a huge part in how long your screen lasts because different climates require different materials to withstand them.

Retractable screen doors and window screens are a great way to keep insects out of your home during the summer months.

They also add increased security, block light when needed and provide year-round protection from the elements.

One big advantage is that they can be retracted in nice weather when you want to enjoy your view outdoors but don’t want any uninvited visitors coming inside.


If you’re looking for the best patio screens, then it’s important to consider your options. You can choose from fixed or motorized retractable patio screen doors and windows. There are both positives and negatives with each option.

Fixed screens offer a more permanent installation but they don’t allow ventilation like retractables do.

Retractable screens provide good ventilation because you can open and close them as you need them.

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