Choosing the Right Motorized Screen: A Comprehensive Guide on Tracks and Fasteners

picture of three motorized screens

If you've decided to elevate your outdoor living experience, installing a motorized screen for your patio could be a game-changing addition. However, the options can be overwhelming, from selecting the right kind of tracks to choosing how the screen is secured to the tracks. In this comprehensive guide, we'll answer some of the most common questions:

- What is the best screen for an outdoor patio?

- Are motorized screens worth it?

- What are the cons of retractable screens?

- How long do motorized screens last?

And most importantly, we'll delve into the nitty-gritty of fixed track vs. floating inner track systems, and the three methods screens are secured to the tracks — cable, zipper, and Keder.

What is the Best Screen for an Outdoor Patio?

When choosing the best screen for an outdoor patio, a motorized screen is highly recommended. They offer convenience, enhanced privacy, and protection from environmental elements. The quality of your screen will largely depend on the type of track and securing method you choose, which we'll discuss in detail below.


Are Motorized Screens Worth It?

Absolutely. Motorized screens offer unmatched convenience with the push of a button. They can also be integrated into smart home systems, allowing you to control them remotely or set schedules. The added benefit of wind and sun sensors is that they can retract the screen automatically, saving energy and prolonging the screen's life.


Fixed Tracks vs. Floating Tracks

Fixed Tracks

Fixed tracks are permanently attached to your structure, offering sturdy support for your screen. They are ideal for small patios; however, where high winds are present, they must be retracted into the housing by 20 Mph. As a result, wind sensors are a must.

Floating Inner Tracks

Floating inner tracks allow for some lateral movement, making them easier to install and adjust. They are excellent for small and large areas and can be more forgiving if your outdoor space isn't perfectly square. Most importantly, because this is Florida, a few screens like MagnaTrack Defenders are rated for winds up to 155 MPH.

Three Methods to Secure Your Screen


Cable systems are generally the least expensive but allow elements like rain and bugs to slip through the gaps. A cable system could suffice if you're not overly concerned about full enclosure.


Zipper systems offer a tighter seal than cables but can be prone to dislodging from the track, requiring occasional maintenance.


Keder systems use technology similar to that which keeps sailboat sails secure. These offer the tightest fit, ensuring your space is almost entirely enclosed from wind, rain, and bugs. This option is ideal for those who don't want to compromise on quality.

What are the Cons of Retractable Screens?

While motorized screens offer many advantages, they're not without drawbacks. These can include the cost of installation and maintenance, occasional technical glitches, and the need for a power source, which can limit where you can install them.

How Long Do Motorized Screens Last?

With proper care and maintenance, a high-quality motorized screen can last upwards of 5 to 10 years, depending on environmental conditions and how often the screen is used; however, recent innovations by Progressive Screens and the patented Defender motorized screen system are stretching the life span beyond expectation.

So, when it comes to choosing the right motorized screen for your outdoor space, understanding the differences between fixed and floating tracks and the methods of securing your screen can make all the difference. We hope this guide has helped steer you toward the best decision for your needs.


Ready to make the best choice for your outdoor haven? Choose wisely, and you'll enjoy the fruits of your labor for years.

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