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Complete Guide to Insect Screen Mesh Materials – Choosing The Right Mesh For Your Insect Screen

Singapore’s warm and humid climate makes it an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. Unfortunately, this has left us dealing with these pesky, blood-sucking insects year-round. The June to October period is especially dreadful as it is when the peak dengue season occurs. While there are various ways to keep out these unwelcome guests, many have turned to magnetic insect screens to protect their loved ones against dengue fever.

Magnetic insect screens are a fantastic solution to keeping out mosquitoes. On top of that, they also prevent lizards, cockroaches and other flying bugs from getting in. But with so many options in the market, how do you know which type to choose? One of the biggest factors to consider will be the mesh material used. It is important that you choose the right insect screen mesh material that suits your needs.

In this guide, we will explain the differences between insect screen mesh materials, as well as their pros and cons.

Mesh Sizes Explained

Before going into details about the mesh materials, it is important to first understand insect screen mesh sizes.

Mesh size is measured by the number of openings in one square inch. For example, a mesh size of 18 x 16 means that there are 18 openings per inch when you count from the left to the right corner. When you count from the top to bottom corner, there should be 16 openings per inch.

How to Measure Insect Mesh Sizes

How does the mesh size affect the insect screen? The greater the number of openings per square inch, the smaller the holes. A higher mesh size is thus more effective in keeping out smaller insects. Mesh size affects the rigidity of the screen as well. Smaller openings mean a tighter weave. In turn, the screen is less prone to sagging.

The standard 18 x 16 mesh easily keeps out larger insects such as mosquitoes and flying termites. However, if you would also like to keep out tiny insects such as fruit flies, sand flies (AKA biting midges) and drain flies, a 20 x 20 mesh would be your best bet.

Another factor to keep in mind when selecting insect mesh size is ventilation. Larger openings allow for more airflow at the cost of allowing smaller insects through. Conversely, smaller openings keep out tiny insects while slightly sacrificing airflow.

Regardless of mesh size, choosing a lightweight mesh will help to improve airflow through the insect screen.

Mesh Colour – Does It Matter?

You may be surprised to learn that an insect screen’s mesh colour affects much more than just aesthetics. Some may prefer a mesh colour that blends in with their interior décor. For example, a white mesh against a white window frame. However, white mesh is actually not recommended due to problems with visibility.

Black, white and grey are the three most common mesh colours available. We explain their differences below.

Common Insect Screen Mesh Colours


The black mesh is by far the most popular choice among homeowners, and for good reason. Black objects are the best at absorbing light.  Because of this, the black mesh offers the best outward visibility and the most protection against UV rays. You not only get to enjoy a clear view through the screen, but also a reduction in sun glare. Additionally, the black mesh is the least visible among the three colours. Many insect screens that use black mesh are able to achieve the “invisible” effect.


White mesh has the opposite effect of the black mesh. As white objects reflects light, a white mesh offers lower outward visibility and the least protection against UV rays. In terms of visibility, white mesh is the most visible and gives off a “translucent” look. But it is the best at diffusing light, which could be useful if your room requires even lighting throughout. White mesh is typically the least popular option among the three colours.


Grey mesh offers similar advantages to the black mesh, but to a lesser extent since grey objects cannot absorb light as well as black. One thing to note is that the amount of sunlight affects how visible the mesh is. While not very noticeable in the day, the grey mesh becomes much more visible at night.

Comparison of Insect Screen Mesh Materials

Strength, durability, cost and outward visibility are some of the considerations to keep in mind when choosing mesh material. The right mesh material will depend on which factors matter more to you.


Fiberglass Insect Mesh For Mosquito Net Insect Screen

Fiberglass is one of the most commonly used mesh materials for insect screens. The reason for its popularity is simple – it is inexpensive and offers good outward visibility. Fiberglass is also lightweight, flexible and corrosion-resistant. Some manufacturers may coat the fiberglass with PVC to improve its strength.

The greatest disadvantage of fiberglass is that it’s not as durable as other mesh materials. It is prone to tearing/fraying at the edges and tends to stretch over time. When exposed to strong sunlight for long periods of time, its strength will deteriorate and discolouration may also occur.


  • Cheap
  • Good outward visibility
  • Lightweight
  • Flexible


  • Prone to tearing/fraying
  • Stretches over time
  • Not as durable, needs to be replaced more frequently
  • Strong UV rays result in discolouration and reduction in strength


Polyester Insect Mesh For Mosquito Net Insect Screen

Polyester mesh has been gaining popularity as an alternative to fiberglass mesh. It is flexible, tear-resistant and less prone to sagging, making it stronger and more durable. It is usually also coated with vinyl, which serves as an additional protective barrier. Polyester mesh coated with a thicker layer of vinyl is often used in pet screens. The thick vinyl coating grants increased resistance to abrasions, which makes it difficult for pets to damage the screen.

A downside of polyester mesh is that the thick coating results in a decrease in outward visibility. It is also more expensive than fiberglass. And if you’re opting for vinyl-coated polyester, you’ll have to fork out much more.


  • Flexible
  • Tear-resistant and less prone to sagging
  • Coated polyester is strong and durable
  • Vinyl-coated polyester is suitable for pet screens


  • Thick coating can result in decreased outward visibility
  • Most expensive out of the non-metal options

Polyethylene (PE) / Polypropylene (PP)

PP PE Insect Mesh For Mosquito Net Insect Screen

Polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) are mesh materials that have caught on in recent years. Both plastics are used in a wide variety of applications and are similar in physical properties. When used to make screen mesh, they are commonly available as PE mesh, PP mesh or PE + PP mesh (made with a combination of PE and PP). 

Both PE and PP are strong fabrics that are tear-resistant and less prone to sagging. PE is a good electrical insulator and is slightly sturdier than PP. Meanwhile, PP has a higher chemical resistance and is more lightweight. Both are mildew-resistant and offer good outward visibility. Like the polyester mesh, most PE/PP mesh sold are coated to further enhance their strength and durability. Coated PE/PP mesh is also UV-resistant and waterproof.

While PE/PP mesh has many strengths, one drawback is that they are not suitable for pet screens. The coating on PE/PP mesh is not as thick, which makes it less resistant against scratches and damage caused by pets. PE/PP mesh is also more expensive than fiberglass mesh.


  • Strong and durable
  • Lightweight
  • Good outward visibility
  • Tear resistant and less prone to sagging


  • Costs more than fiberglass mesh
  • Not suitable for pet screens


Aluminium Insect Mesh For Mosquito Net Insect Screen

Another material used to make screen mesh is aluminium. While popular in countries such as Australia and the USA, aluminium mesh is rarely seen in Singapore. Aluminium mesh offers superior strength and durability as well as excellent outward visibility. It cannot be torn and its rigidity means you won’t have to worry about the screen sagging. The mesh often comes in a protective finish that is corrosion-resistant.

However, as you may have expected, aluminium mesh is very expensive. It may also dent/crease upon heavy impact.


  • Excellent outward visibility
  • Strong and durable
  • Sturdy, will not sag
  • Resistant to high temperatures


  • Very expensive
  • Can be permanently dented/creased upon heavy impact

Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel Insect Mesh For Mosquito Net Insect Screen

Finally, we have the stainless steel mesh. Stainless steel is the strongest and most durable mesh material available. It is rust- and corrosion-resistant, offers excellent outward visibility and will not stretch or sag. Other than its natural colour, the mesh may also be powder-coated for a black finish which further improves visibility.

The main disadvantage of using stainless steel mesh is the cost. It is easily the most expensive mesh of the lot due to the premium material used. Additionally, the mesh may also dent or kink upon heavy impact.


  • Extremely strong and durable
  • Excellent outward visibility
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Sturdy, will not sag
  • Resistant to high temperatures


  • Most expensive mesh material
  • May dent or kink upon heavy impact


The table below summarises how well each mesh material performs in various aspects.

Comparison of Mosquito Net Insect Screen Mesh Materials

With so many options available, choosing the right mesh material may seem difficult. Our advice would be to figure out which considerations you deem more important, then make the decision from there. For example, if you’re looking for the cheapest option that works, go for fiberglass. If you are willing to spend more for a premium material and performance, consider the stainless steel mesh. Finally, for those who want the most cost-effective solution, polyester and PE/PP mesh will give you the best bang for your buck.

Looking for insect screens for your home? Find out more about AmazingSeal’s magnetic insect screens here!