As beautiful as it is, nature is messy. Birds, insects, four-footed critters and even trees like to drop stuff on your screened pool enclosure or outdoor screen room. After all, that’s why you have a screen room, right? – To keep all that stuff outside, where it belongs. So, how do you keep your screen room or pool enclosure free of leaves, debris, and animal droppings?
An Ounce (or More) of Prevention
Take a look at the trees around your screen room. You will want to keep these trimmed back from your screen room as much as possible. At best, trees will drop leaves and lightweight seeds, which will need to be cleaned off (more on this later). Some types of trees are prone to dropping heavy fruit (such as avocadoes, grapefruit, or coconuts) or dead branches. Be vigilant about keeping these trees under control, because a heavy branch can do serious damage to your screen room.
Other plants that can cause damage include vines and vine-like plants such as honeysuckle and Bougainville. If you let these go, they can grow branches right through the screen material.
Keeping the animal kingdom at bay can be more challenging. If birds are congregating on your screen room and making a mess, consider one of these solutions:
Have a plastic horned owl (available at most home and garden stores) installed on top of the enclosure.
Have pigeon guards installed (these are spikes that make it difficult for birds to land).
Install a sprinkler or sprayer with a motion sensor.
Place a large rubber snake (also available at garden centers) on top of the enclosure.
The same solutions can work for other animals, such as lizards and squirrels, but this will vary by species.
Keeping Your Screens Clean
First, a word of caution: Many screen rooms and pool enclosures are tall, and keeping them clean involves ladders. If you are at all uncomfortable with heights or are unsteady on ladders, call a professional.
If leaves, lightweight seeds, or small branches are accumulating on your screen room, you can remove them with a light broom or a leaf blower. Once the debris is removed, wash the screens and frame as follows:
Using water and mild soap (such as dish detergent) and a soft-bristle brush, wash both sides of each screen panel.
You can also wash the aluminum frame with the same soapy water and brush.
Use a garden hose with a spray nozzle to rinse the screen panels off.
After rinsing, gently tap the middle of each screen panel to shake the water off.
While you are cleaning your screens, inspect them for damage. Most home centers and hardware stores sell screen repair kits to repair small holes or tears. For more extensive damage, you may need to replace the entire panel. Also look for rusted or missing screws and damaged frame pieces, and repair or replace as needed.
By following these tips, you can avoid expensive repairs, keep the wildlife outside, and keep your outdoor room looking good.