One fact of home ownership is that many parts of your home eventually need to be replaced, some sooner than others. Window screens are one of those things. Sometimes you move into a new house only to find that a screen is broken or missing entirely. Replacing window screens is very common though, so it is fairly easy to find replacements.

Before you head out to buy replacement window screens, be sure to assess just how bad your old screens are. A little dirt can be easily cleaned, and small tears can usually be repaired with a drop or two of household cement. Screens need to be replaced when they are sagging, are dirty beyond cleaning (you’re having a lot of trouble seeing out of them), have large tears or holes in them or are missing parts and are loose.

Nowadays, the most commonly used materials for window screens are aluminum and vinyl-coated fiberglass. Vinyl-coated fiberglass screens costs about half of what aluminum screens do, and therefore vinyl-coated fiberglass is now more common. Some specialty window screens include solar screens, pet screen fabrics, and bronze, copper and brass screens. For the most part, you won’t have to replace the actual frame, although home improvement stores do carry replacement window screen frames (if you want custom window screens, you’ll have to order those separately). Instead you will only have to replace the actual screening. So, if you want to transition from one type of screening to another, you can do it without buying entirely new frames.

But now for the most important question: how much do replacement window screens cost exactly? The price all comes down to the materials used to create the screen. As mentioned, aluminum is around twice as much as vinyl-coated fiberglass, but what is the difference between them? Aluminum screens are a metal mesh. The average cost of this kind of replacement window screen is currently set anywhere between 30 and 35 cents per square foot. On the other hand, vinyl-coated fiberglass does not rust or corrode like aluminum mesh can. Since the materials are cheaper, these screens cost around 15 to 25 cents per square foot and have become the standard in many homes.

There are nevertheless other types of replacement window screens, although these types are more expense and are considered specialty screens. The main types include solar screening, bronze screening and copper screening. Solar screening only comes in black (it is meant to protect from the sun), and it generally costs around $1.50 per square foot. Bronze screening, on the other hand, is the most economical option among specialty screens. However, it still costs around $1 per square foot, which is more than aluminum or vinyl-coated fiberglass screening. Last but not at all least in the price department is copper screening, which costs around $1.20 per square foot. Copper screening is only made of 90 percent copper, however, as the rest is actually 10 percent zinc.

Then there is pet screen fabric, which is not very common but has been somewhat increasing in appearance. This screening is designed for people who have pets that frequently shred the screens, such as families with cats that like to sit in their windows and claw at the screens. This type of screening material usually comes in vinyl-coated polyester. You won’t find this in ready-made screens, however. Pet screen fabric is designed only for DIY projects, and the kit it comes in costs between $20 and $24.

If bugs are a problem where you live, you should look into insect screening. This is a heavy-duty type of fiberglass screen mesh meant for use around pool, patio, porch and sunroom areas. It still allows the sun in while keeping insects and bugs out. It typically comes in gray tones. There is also no-see-um insect screening, which is a finer mesh fiberglass and serves very much the same purpose but does not have as good visibility as its counterpart.

If privacy is an issue, the Florida glass privacy screen could be the answer. This is the same heavy mesh used in Pool and Patio insect screening, but it has the unique addition of a plastic laminate to protect against prying eyes and the elements. It can be used around pools or anywhere that privacy is desired.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, if you don’t like the look of screens at all there is a potential answer for you— the BetterVue screen. This kind of screening is more of a brand than a general type of screening, but it has nevertheless become widespread (although still not as common as others). BetterVue screens are a very light mesh and are practically invisible because they are made out of small, refined fiberglass yarns kept at a light color. Some say they also provide better airflow than other replacement window screens.

If you are still unsure about which kind of replacement window screens are best for you, head to a home improvement store to consult a professional or go online to read both customer and manufacturer reviews. Some companies even have websites that can help you decide— Anderson Windows and Doors has a section on its websites called “Help Me Choose,” where it gives you options based on your style preferences and needs. Anderson replacement window screens are also top notch and come in a decent variety and price range.

Of course, most people will be looking into the standard Lowes replacement window screens and Home Depot replacement window screens. Theses home improvement professionals very often have example screens on their floors that you can look at and literally get a feel for to help you better decide which is best for you. Of course, Home Depot screens can also be found online, and with each listing there is a close up of what the mesh looks like. On the other hand, Lowes screens can also be purchased online, and its website even includes articles on how to repair and clean them.