Windscreens are an important part of many ballfields. They provide an important functional role for both wind protection and privacy. They are also often printed to provide some branding for the home team or sponsors. At first glance, windscreens appear to be a simple commodity item. Aside from colors and brand image, one field’s screen may look like another. However, there are important differences in windscreen options with varying degrees of wind performance, visual appearance and longevity.
As shown in the comparison table below, there are three common fabrics: vinyl-coated polyester, woven poly (which can be further divided into woven polyethylene and woven polypropylene), and knitted polyethylene.
- Vinyl-coated polyester is the most commonly-used fabric for ballfields. This is largely driven by the variety of colors available and the ability to print high-quality graphics on this fabric. It has good durability, although it is not typically recommended for high-wind areas, with an expected lifespan of roughly 3-7 years depending on the weight of fabric, among other factors.
- Woven poly fabrics are often better options for high-wind situations given their ability to hold up to abrasion if partially disconnected from the fence. However, due to the relatively higher cost of these fabrics, limited color options, and inability to print on them, they tend not to be as popular as other choices.
- Knitted polyethylene fabrics can also perform well in high-wind areas if materials with lower opacities are selected (i.e., more open meshes). Printing is available on these fabrics although quality and durability can vary greatly so working with a knowledgeable vendor is important.