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No longer will the screech of a sliding patio-door screen or the slam of a screen door be typical sounds of a Canadian summer. Instead of viewing lake panoramas and lush garden vistas through distracting screen mesh, homeowners, cottagers and condominium residents can enjoy the clear uninterrupted views that drew them to their properties in the first place.

Retractable screens stretch across doorways or window openings when needed and vanish into an unobtrusive protective housing on the frame when screening is not required. Picture a sophisticated -- and usually horizontal -- variation on the roller blind and you’ve got the idea.

Originally developed by a manufacturer in the twenties that built retractable screens into its windows, retractable window and door screens have only been available as functional stand-alone units in Canada for about 10 years. Finally, these versatile barriers have gained consumer attention and are among the latest must-have additions to Canadian homes.

Each retractable screen unit usually consists of:

  • a low-profile, light-weight screen housing unit that mounts discreetly along the existing frame and protects the screen when not in use
  • a flexible, ultra-sheer fiberglass screen that ensures visibility, durability and flexibility
  • top and bottom guide tracks, magnetic closings and a spring mechanism that keeps the screen taut yet absorbs impact
  • a durable slide bar for extending the screen across the opening

For an example of design specifications, colour variations and construction details, visit Phantom’s site.

Phantom Mfg. (Int'l) Ltd. founded in 1992 and based in a 45,000 sq. ft.factory in Abbotsford, British Columbia, is a leading manufacturer of retractable screens. Phantom offers screen solutions for most standard and oversized door types to a maximum height of 120" and a maximum width of 96." This innovator also created the remote-controlled Executive Power Screen that fits most openings from balconies and lanais to garage doors, porches, Roman-style arches and picture windows.

Nanimo, BC-based Eclipse Technologies entered the retractable screen industry in 1998 and also offers customized screening for the variety of property management and design challenges faced by property owners, developers, managers, architects and others intent on visually-pleasing, insect-free natural ventilation.

Lovers of Victorian-style wooden screen doors may be shaking their heads at this point, but those with French doors will see a clutter-free solution to screening their elegant doorways. Whether your doors swing open, pull in or slide, are single or double, are on your boat, RV, cottage or your home, there is a retractable screen for you.

As architects and designers continue to incorporate creative openings into our new and renovated homes, the need for decor-friendly innovative barriers to aggressive Canadian insects increases.

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