Who let the flies in?

Centor fly screens with stacker doors.

Centor fly screens with stacker doors.

At some point during the planning process I asked for stacker door windows instead of sliding doors at the rear of our house for a cleaner outlook towards the canals.  And voila!  They appeared on our plans with the added bonus that they were larger than the original windows.  End of story.

Wrong.  Once our builders started to order all the materials and fittings for our house, they realised that the selected stacker door windows were not wide enough to fill the “holes” in the dining room walls.  So we switched to a different brand of stacker doors.  The problem is that the new doors don’t have fly screens.

The living room stacker doors still have screens.  A fixed window in the dining room (not shown) will be screened.  Do we need screening for the dining room stackers too?  Photo from Webb and Brown-Neaves.

The living room stacker doors (on left) still have screens. A fixed window in the dining room (not shown) will also be screened. Do we need screening for the dining room stackers too? Photo from Webb and Brown-Neaves.

Years ago, when we installed bifold doors, we didn’t bother with fly screens in Mandurah.   I’m all for a bit of exposure to the great outdoors, bugs and all, but one of the Little Pigs tends to physically overreact to bites, so I think we need to keep the mozzies out of the house.

So… the options:

1.  Do nothing.  Close the unscreened doors at dusk.  We will still have 2 other screened openings in the living area for air flow.  Deter mosquitos with clever plant selection.

2.  Install fancy Centor Screens during construction at fancy prices.  These screens (shown at top) are recessed into the floor and retract into the walls when open, effectively hiding the screens when not in use.  They look great.  A preliminary quote suggests that this will cost about $2000 per set of stacker doors plus installation.

3.  Retrofit insect screens later, as necessary.  Probably a less aesthetically-pleasing option.

The builders suggested two brands of security screens, equally as expensive as the Centor screens, but I’m worried they’ll obscure the view and I also wonder how much airflow actually passes through those kind of screens.

We’ve just about decided on the Centor screens but I am not yet convinced that they can be installed under our circumstances – you need walls to retract the screens into, but we’re a little short on those.  I’m waiting for some reassurance on that one.  Also, the builder wants to know what allowances need to be made to accommodate the screens…. somehow I’ve ended up as the middle man on this one and I feel unqualified.

The tricky stacker door situation:

Dining room stacker doors.  Both sets open towards the walls, so where would the screens hide when retracted?

Dining room stacker doors. Both sets open towards the walls, so where would the screens hide when retracted?

What lengths have you gone to, to keep out mosquitos?

Does anyone have some great insect screens that work with stacker doors?

Or does anyone have a funny (or not so funny) story about the night they walked into a fly screen and broke their nose/glass/screen?  I think there has to be one of those stories for every Australian household.

P.S.  Due to the new “look” of my blog, if you are viewing this post via the home page, you may have to scroll to the top of this post to locate the “comments” area.  Sorry ’bout that.  Of course, you could just go out on a limb and comment before you read the post.  That could be fun.


19 thoughts on “Who let the flies in?

  1. Lydia says:

    We have 2x wide (3.6m I think)stacking doors in our living room.
    We didn’t put fly screens on because the doors are thick (double-glazed) and the would have sat out from the house by about 20cm with stacking fly screens.
    So we have had a summer without fly screens. Not a big problem with mozzies, but a few flies.
    We didn’t know about retractable fly screens at the time and have since thought about retro-fitting, but haven’t found out how much it is…
    If you think you MIGHT want fly screens I would put them in. A friend has the retractable ones and they look great. Very unobtrusive.

  2. trixee says:

    Your quote for the Centor screens seems quite reasonable (or maybe my perspective on money has been warped again!). I’m having trouble visualising how your stacker doors open. Say you’re in the dining room and looking toward the alfresco. Do the doors open to the right, towards the wall, so that the corner is open and exposed? If so, then I would have thought there’d be enough room on the walls for the screen to retract to. Can the Centor rep help you on this?

    • Trixee, when you consider that the ugly options are equally expensive, then the Centor screens seem reasonable! It’s just that you anticipate the cost of windows, but don’t expect that the screens, dressings, etc, to be more expensive. Yes, one set of stacker doors in the dining room opens to the right, and the other one opens to the left, creating one large open area (with column in the middle of the two). If the screens open out from the walls, then they will also unnecessarily cover the fixed portion of the stacker doors. So it would be better if they pull out from the column between the two sets of stacker doors, but I’m not sure if the column is large enough to house one retracted Centor screen, let alone two. Have I lost you completely? I am waiting for answers from the W.A. company that install the Centor screens.

  3. Africadayz says:

    I really like the idea of those retractable screen doors if you can have them. Maybe, if there is a lack of wall space, they have an option of rolling up into ceiling space? We’re putting a security roller door across our upstairs landing that rolls down from a fairly discreet ‘box’ set against the ceiling. Maybe they do fly screens that work on the same principle?

  4. We had old hooper windows with fly screens on the inside which were ugly so we removed them all. Now we cant open any windows in the house or wasps and flys come inside! We got some pull down retractable fly screens from Bunnings that fit nicely in the window frame but they didnt work properly and as we’d cut them to fit, we couldnt return them so that was $300 in the bin for just one window. So I know your pain when it comes to fly screens!
    I did house sit at a home that had the Centro fly screens in the first image and they were fantastic, although when you opened them they went flying open until they banged against the edge of the door frame, but they probably make them as a soft open now so they retract more smoothly. They were fantastic for big open doors, kept the bugs out, breeze in, and didnt stop the view like the metal security doors do. Id say they will be worth it in the long run.

  5. Kathryn says:

    Jo, we have a similar issue as we have bifold doors across the back of our house, which open onto the alfresco area. The solution we decided on was to fit zip screens to enclose the alfresco area to contain the summer mozzies. That was we can still have the bifold doors wide open….and use the outdoor area in summer 🙂
    We asked the builder to design a recess so we can hide the zip screens when open, and we will fit them at a later date.

    • Those look very clever and useful for shade too. Do you think they are in the same price category as the Centor screens ($2-3000 each depending on width, plus installation)?

  6. We’re struggling with the same thing for the new doors in our kitchen. Our solution might be magnetic screens that pull across the opening. I’m not sure if that’s something that could work for you, but it could be worth looking into. Keep us posted!

  7. Those are very cool. I hadn’t seen them before. I can’t immediately find a version that would work for walkways though. Do you have a brand in mind that I can look up? Thanks!

  8. Miranda says:

    As another person who overreacts to mosquito bites, my vote would be for the Centor screens. But it is much easier to vote for spending all that money when it’s not mine! (Although shouldn’t the builder pay – or at least contribute if it’s an upgrade – if you had flyscreens on the version in your contract?)
    Won’t the housing for the screens stick out as much from the column as it would from the wall sides? Presumably the column is solid brick so they’ll need to add some plasterboard wherever the housing goes? I think it might look cleaner to do it at the wall ends. You want that column to be as unobtrusive as possible, to keep that lovely open look.
    And I can tell you that our Centor screens retract softly – and can be easily stopped at any point along the way. It sounds like they have improved since the ones jarrahjungle used. (Or maybe it’s just that we haven’t used ours much yet.)

  9. Hi Miranda, yes I’m worried about the housing sticking out from the column – the screen needs a 10×10 cm box at either end of the window frame. I’m communicating with Centor Screens about it, but it’s one of those things that is difficult by email (and not helped by a delay in communication due to our time differences). Surely someone at WBN must know how to accommodate these screens into their homes since they put yours in. I will press them for some more help….

  10. Corinna says:

    We are building the same house. Well sort of since we have managed to more than double the cost – but we did start with the Rubix.. Anyway we replaced all the sliding doors with stackers and bifolds (this may give you some idea how we managed to double the cost). When I visited the Jason showroom the rep told me the stackers do not come with flyscreens however they recommend a recessed option by Armadale Glass and provided me with the details which I have added to WBN contract.. Not sure if this helps.

    • So nice to hear from another Rubix builder. I understand how easy it can be for the costs to escalate, when you add this and that. I’d love to hear more about your house. What stage are you at? Our sales rep was able to give me lots of photos of the original display Rubix which has been a great help. WBN did suggest Armadale Glass to me, but I was hoping for something even less obtrusive than that. Centor screens are the right concept, but wrong for our house plan. We are going to sort it out after handover now because I couldn’t be sure that any of the built in options weren’t going to create problems. Thanks for commenting. I hope you stop by again!

  11. We just installed the Centor doors with screens. Seemed like a fabulous idea because mosquitoes are brutal here. We used them for the first time last night and all seemed well until we wanted to close the doors at the end of the night. When we opened the screen to close the doors, all of the bugs/mosquitoes that had been up agains the screen all came into the house. We had HUNDREDS and used the shopvac to vacuum them off the walls and ceilings. I realized with sliders the screens are on the OUTSIDE of the glass. With these, the screen is on the inside of the glass. I am hoping we can come up with a solution or the screen does no good at all. We only have these doors in two rooms and no windows, so without opening them there is NO airflow. Hoping they can come up with a solution

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