Decorative screens are a fast and easy way to improve the architectural facade of your building or home. Read on to understand the main uses of decorative screens and the best materials and construction to ensure they last for years to come.
A screen is a fairly broad term, and is used for many different products. However, in this case we are talking about when it is a stand-alone item attached to a building, over against something used in the garden or the type to protect against insects that are attached to your front door or window frames.
You may be asking, why call it a decorative screen, when it does the same thing as a shutter? Shutters are normally an item smaller than a door, and have louvre-style blades. These often open and close depending on what the user wants. Screens on the other hand often don’t have louvre-style blades. They could be a flat sheet with a patter perforated into it, or they could have metal trellis-style configuration on them.
Decorative screens have two main uses: simple decoration like a shutter, or privacy. Often they perform both.
Decorative screens take this name because they are literally used to give an otherwise bland building a more interesting look. Rather than giving it a Mediterranean style like a shutter, a screen could add any kind of style, such as industrial or contemporary. Decorative screens are often a combination of materials, especially metal and timber, and can be stained, painted or left in their natural state. They can create a façade on a building, or simply be dotted around to add character and finesse.
Where a decorative screen comes in particular use is when they are fixed in front of an exterior element that would otherwise look ugly and unkempt. For example, screens wrapped around air conditioning units or areas that hold the buildings waste and wheelie bins. This is an effective way to add a feature to an otherwise bland area of a building, whilst covering up unattractive utilities or necessary equipment, which would otherwise be an eye-sore.
Screens, much like shutters, are used to assist with privacy. However, whilst shutters are normally used inside the building for privacy, screens are normally fixed to the outside. Once again, this creates an opportunity for a feature on an otherwise bland wall, or around an otherwise plain window, and gives the room-user better all-day privacy without having to constantly close blinds or curtains.
Especially with plots of land getting smaller (urban), and housing getting closer, a home owner can often see right into the neighbouring houses windows. Local governments add rules to the building code where a screen must to be put on windows within a certain distance of a window in a neighbouring home. This often has blades set at an angle so the view from the window is restricted to looking away from the neighbouring window. For example, the blades would point so the person in the house can only look out to the street, or to the ground, and the only way to see into the house would be from these angles as well. This is particularly the case with terrace housing, multi blocks or super units.
What are the Best Materials for Decorative Screens?
Screens are made from a small variety of materials that will handle the exposure to the elements. There is normally some metal component in them as opposed to a shutter that is normally made completely of wood.
Large screens (over 2400mm in length) can be made with a steel frame that holds aluminium or timber slats/blades within it. Smaller screens can be made entirely of aluminium and welded or riveted together.
Aluminium is excellent because it can be powder coated any colour, and it won’t rot, rust, twist, bow or crack. This is over against timber that can crack or steel that can rust if part of it is exposed to salt spray. Powder coating also requires a lot less maintenance than painted or stained timber.
Sourcing your Decorative Screens
As mentioned earlier, the market contains both locally manufactured and custom-made products, and imported products. The imported products are sometimes more lightweight and more economical, but may have trade-offs on their strength and durability. We recommend you check an actual product to see what best suits your project.