Fixed Screens versus Retractable Screens


Outdoor screens offer many benefits, including weather protection, insect protection, and privacy. When it comes time to choose screens for your patio or porch, you have two main options: fixed screens and retractable screens.

Fixed screens are permanently installed and cannot be opened or closed. They are typically less expensive than retractable screens and can be more durable. However, fixed screens can be inconvenient if you need to open or close them frequently, such as on a windy day or when it starts to rain.

Retractable screens can be opened and closed with the pull of a cord or the push of a button. This makes them more convenient than fixed screens, but they are also more expensive.

Before we take a look at both options on how to protect the walls of your outdoor space, we have a solution if you need to waterproof your space that is below a deck. It’s called UnderCover System and it’s used to create a year round outdoor living space under a deck.

Now, let’s weigh some of the pros and cons of both options to hopefully help aid with a decision between fixed and retractable screens.

Fixed Screen porch covering in Richwood, KYFixed Screens

Pros of Fixed Screens

  • Lower Price: It’s the most cost-effective of the two solutions, making it a good decision if your primary goal is to get a good return on your investment when you sell the home. High-quality screening systems like SCREENEZE are affordable for most homeowners.
  • Inexpensive to Maintain and Repair: Fixed screen systems are fairly simple once they are correctly installed by a professional. Newer systems like Screeneze make repairs simple. You can address just the panel with the issue without having to reinstall the entire screen.
  • Look Great: Many people are surprised by how good they look nowadays. There are fewer needs for posts than with older systems, and the screens are nearly see-through, providing a barrier that’s practically invisible, but still bug-proof. Or we can install privacy screens which are designed to block your neighbor’s view.

Cons of Fixed Screens

  • Less Flexibility: For some, this is a major downfall; others don’t mind. But these systems are intended to be installed permanently for year-round use. That means, during the months that you don’t truly need bug protection, your screen will still be up.
  • Hard to Remove: Some fixed screen systems can be removed for seasonal use, but it’s something we don’t recommend to clients. Why? It’s a major hassle. First, it takes you at least a full day to remove all of them. If your porch isn’t ground level, this is even more difficult and time-consuming, involving climbing up and down on ladders. Second, you have to find storage for the screens where they will be protected from potential rips or damage. Third, you have to go through the process again, in reverse, to put them back up.

Learn More About Our Fixed Patio & Porch Screens

Retractable Screens

Pros of Motorized Retractable Screens

  • Eliminates the Need for a Door: You just hit a button, and the walls all go up. It’s a neat feature that helps your living space to feel wider.
  • Wide Openings: The screens can span over 20 feet, which means fewer (or no) columns.
  • Seasonal: With the push of a button, you’ve transformed your screened-in porch into an open-air, covered deck. This means you can just use those screens for those months where you typically need it.
  • No Screen When You Don’t Need It: Those months where bugs aren’t a worry, you don’t need to be bothered by that screen. It’s a great option for people who truly dislike screens. You’ll still have the benefit of the roof to get away from the sun.
  • Connect Two Porch Spaces: If you have an exterior porch or deck alongside your ground level screen porch, retractable screens are an ideal way to connect the two. You can simply open the screen to take advantage of one larger area, and you can put the screen down if you want the screen to act as a wall between the two spaces.

Cons of Motorized Retractable Screens

  • More Expensive: Retractable screens are typically at least 4 times as expensive as fixed screens. For just one motorized system, the typical cost is ,700, and you’ll need 3 systems (for the 3 “walls”) in most screen porches. That’s around $8,000 for your project. Compare that to the average cost of $2,000 or $3,000 to install a quality fixed screen system.

Learn More About Our Motorized Retractable Patio & Porch Screens

Inside Motorized Screens

Motorized screen from inside - Prospect, KY

Outside Motorized Screens

Motorized screen from inside - Prospect, KY

Last Thought About Fixed vs. Retractable Screens

Ultimately, the best choice for you will depend on your budget, your needs, and your preferences. If you are looking for the most affordable option and don’t mind the inconvenience of fixed screens, then fixed screens may be a good choice for you. If you are looking for the most convenient option and are willing to pay more, then retractable screens may be a better choice.

Here are some additional things to consider when making your decision:

  • The size of your patio or porch: If your patio or porch is large, retractable screens may be the better option, as they will allow you to open and close the screens in sections.
  • Your personal preferences: If you value convenience, retractable screens may be the better option for you. If you are on a budget, fixed screens may be a better option.
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