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Windscreen Buyer’s Guide – What you should know before you buy

Windscreens, shade screens, privacy screens – regardless of the name, this product is very useful for a wide variety of applications Tennis courts, baseball / softball fields, residential & even construction sites benefit from a quality windscreen.

The windscreen selection process can be very confusing if you aren’t educated. The result is often over or under-buying, resulting in the wrong material for your application – costing you more money than needed, or causing you headaches in the long-run with maintenance due to screens falling apart prematurely. The worst scenario is spending hundreds of dollars, dozens of hours installing – only to have the windscreens tear after a couple windy seasons.

We’re here to help. Check-out the windscreen comparison review below, which will help you identify the pros & cons for each material & narrow down your search.

Our Experience with Windscreens

Our vinyl & fabric shops have been building custom windscreens for more than 25 years. We are proud to offer the widest variety of windscreens in the business, with the highest quality materials & craftsmanship.

Applications

  • Tennis Courts
  • Baseball / Softball Fields
  • Parks
  • Golf Courses
  • Home & Garden
  • Construction sites
  • Mountain ski resorts

 

Benefits

  • Improved appearance – chain-link fences are upgraded overnight
  • Privacy – excellent for city parks on busy streets
  • Wind reduction – helps minimize gusts which may affect events
  • Shade – makes tennis courts & ballparks more comfortable during hot summer months
  • Block out distractions or unsightly areas – allows your players to focus on what’s in front of them
  • Provides excellent visual background for players – helps baseball & tennis players see the ball better – commonly referred to in baseball as the “batters eye”.

Sizes

Our Windscreens come standard in 6′H or 9′H but can be custom sized to ANY height or length.

We recommend ordering your windscreens in 50′ – 75′L increments for ease of installation and future maintenance – which allows for sections to be easily removed & replaced.

TIP: Some windscreens are manufactured slightly shorter than conventional fence sizes, which makes installation easier, and allows the screen to be stretched properly reducing wrinkles. For example, many fences are 4′, 6′ or 8′H – in which case the proper windscreen sizes are 3’8″, 5’8″ or 7’8″ give or take an inch.

Material Types

ArmoMesh Windscreens

ArmorMesh with Heat-Sealed Seams

 

VCP / VCM

Vinyl Coated Polyester (aka Vinyl Coated Mesh) is often manufactured in the US, but some versions are also imported from China. This material is a higher quality product, but quality can vary widely so buyer beware.

Designed using 50% Vinyl & 50% polyester, Vinyl Coated windscreens are some of the most durable windscreens available, and optimal for baseball fields, tennis courts, and other high-wind areas. Coated screens are designed to withstand the elements, will not fray when cut, and will even allow your personal silk-screen logos to adhere nicely.

  • Pros: Economical material available in lighter ounces (8 oz). Can be very durable in higher ounces (14 oz).
  • Con: Being a coated product, the coating can eventually wear away, causing material to become brittle.

Tennis Court Windscreen with TuffPrint Lettering

Polyethylene

A plastic based material, commonly used in plastic applications like soda bottles & netting.

  • Pro: Heavy-duty material, durable in all climates. Extruded black material, will never fade or chip.
  • Con: Plastic based material which can be bulky and not very flexible.
  • Tips: Knitted is superior than Woven. High-Density Knitted Polyethylene is the best.

Open Mesh Polypropylene

A plastic based material, used in a wide variety of sports & consumer applications. Typically used indoors due to lower quality material.

Open mesh windscreens allow more air-flow, are lighter-weight & more economical. These screens are not recommended for high-wind areas & long-term use.

  • Pro: Softer material, takes up less space when folded up than others.
  • Cons: Weaker overall material, tends to become brittle after being exposed to harsh conditions.

Closed Mesh Polypropylene

A plastic based material, used in a wide variety of sports & consumer applications. Typically used indoors due to lower quality material.

Closed mesh windscreens allow limited air-flow, and work great for applications requiring increased privacy & greatly reduced air/light flow.

  • Pro: Softer material, takes up less space when folded up than others.
  • Cons: Weaker overall material, tends to become brittle after being exposed to harsh conditions.

Privacy Screens

Great for applications requiring increased privacy & greatly reduced air/light flow. Common applications are school gym divider curtains.

Trade Names

  • Tuffy (10 oz VCP) – 5 year warranty
  • ArmorMesh (14 oz VCP) — 5 year warranty
  • Enviro Screen (5.5 oz Polyethylene) — 4 year warranty
  • Extreme Screen (9 oz Polyethylene) — 7 year warranty
  • Puffy (VCP)
  • DuraScreen (VCP)

Features & Accessories

The details of a windscreen are what sets it apart, and will affect it’s life-span.

Cable Ties Polytie Spool

Standard

  • All of our windscreens include EMBEDDED UV Inhibitors for maximum sun protection, instead of surface coated.
  • All windscreens also come standard with Brass Tooth Grommets, spaced 18” on ALL FOUR sides.
  • All custom windscreens taller than 6 ft now come with a free CENTER “lacing lip” with additional grommets to secure the windscreens in the middle, preventing billowing & breakage from wind.

Grommets

Brass grommets on bound reinforced hems.

3-Ply hem sewn with two rows of lock-stitched threadSeams

  • Heat-Sealed – 2-ply with the material folded back on itself.

Logo Printing

Team logos & lettering can be applied to most all of our custom windscreens to give your fence a professional touch and encourage team spirit, or even sell space to sponsors to help pay for the field.

Digital Printing

Pros:

  • Economical
  • Efficient
  • Wide variety of colors for same cost

Cons:

  • Ink has shorter life-span than paint
  • Logos are not as bright after years of use, compared to painted / screen-printed logos
  • Some logos / letters must be sewn to windscreen, creating 2 layers
  • Some logos will have white mesh backing, unless factory has large enough machine to digitally print entire sheets of colored mesh

Screen Printing / Painting (Chroma-Bond)

Pros:

  • Extremely durable
  • Longer life-span than material logos are printed on
  • Always maintains bright appearance
  • Crisper appearance than digital

Cons:

  • Much more expensive than digital logos
  • Longer overall process
  • Multiple colors require additional screens / up-charge

Air Vents (Half Moon or Rectangle)

Available in half-moon or 6” x 12” block style. Recommended for high-wind areas to help with air-flow & prevent damage to the windscreens or your fence. These are installed just above the lacing-lip. Recommended spacing is every 8 – 12 ft.

Half-Moon air vent for tennis court fence screen Tennis Court Windscreen Boxed Air Vent
Optional half-moon air vents or 6” x 12” boxed
air vent.

Lacing Lip / Grommet Line

A hemmed row of reinforced fabric & grommets, this adds an attachment point, reducing movement from wind. Greatly reduces stress on screens, and a key to extending life-span of screens in windy areas. Lacing lips are installed at seam points on custom sized windscreens, and included standard at the mid-point on all screens taller than 6 ft.  Additional lacing lips can be added as needed for a cost – you can’t go wrong with additional grommet lines.

Lacing Lip for 6’ Tennis Windscreens

Lacing lip for tennis court windscreens over 6’ high.

Colors

Available in full spectrum of colors. Match your team colors to highlight your area. Darker colors are optimal to make more discreet and provide dark background – Forest Green & Black are most popular.

We  can even build with multiple colors to match your team colors. A popular style is a 2-color combo with a base color on the bottom 80% and a 2nd color on the top 20% for a highlight.

 

At this point you have probably learned far more about windscreens than you ever thought existed or wanted to know. It’s important to take all key areas into consideration when comparison shopping – material type, features are vastly different. Let us be your guide in the maze of windscreen options.

Contact Us today for a quote today on your custom windscreen project, or shop online here.

Thanks for reading.

Chad Schneider, Operations Director

Practice Sports, Inc.

402-592-2000

 

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2 Comments

  1. Posted June 13, 2016 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Your guide to windscreen materials, etc. is very helpful. From it I conclude that our best choices, for the long term, would be either high density knitted polyethylene, or 14 oz VCP/VCM. But I don’t see any availability of that knitted product, nor have I found any cost information. Also, which is better, the crescent openings or the rectangular openings for air flow and to reduce wind damage?
    I’m an avid pickleball player. We just had three new courts installed in our town, where the wind is often a big factor so we are going to purchase windscreens for the courts, which we’ve measured.
    What is our next step in making an intelligent purchase?
    Steve Auerbach
    Oak Bluffs, MA

    • Posted June 30, 2016 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Hi Steve,
      It was a pleasure discussing our windscreen material options on the phone a few weeks ago. Thanks again for your order.

      Chad Schneider | Operations Director

      Practice Sports, Inc. | 14706 Giles Rd. Omaha, NE 68138
      800.877.6787 x801 | 402.592.2000 | Fax: 800.577.3046
      chad@practicesports.com | practicesports.com

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