Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Keeping the Bugs Out

The next part of my patio revamp includes a method to keep bugs out. Because of our mild winter this year, we are seeing mosquitos already in SE Michigan and they are out for blood! When I was power washing the patio, a good 20 mosquitos were lined up on the siding of the house just waiting for me to turn off the sprayer so they could get me. Mosquitos + patio ≠ my idea of a good time.

I searched online for some mosquito netting but I really didn’t want to spend much on this project and everywhere I found it, I would be spending a lot of cash. So, I looked at IKEA’s Lill curtains. Each panel is 110”x98” – nearly perfect for my patio.


I bought two packs (so four panels since each pack had two) at $4.99 each and a huge roll (30’) of sticky back Velcro from Amazon ($24). Why the Velcro? I had hoped to hang the hook strip to the patio panels and the loop strip to the curtains so that I could remove the curtains to wash them as needed.  


You may wonder why I don’t just hang them on a suspension line or curtain rod. I thought about that but, since the panels were only 98” long and I needed them to be at least 100” to reach the patio floor, I cut the curtain panel pocket (where you would normally slide the panel over a curtain rod) so that I had the extra length.


I could still use clips to hang the curtain on a rod (like the office curtains) but I really wanted a ‘seal’ of sorts along the top so mosquitos couldn’t just fly into the patio. That’s where the Velcro came into play. I attached the loop strip to the top of the curtain panels and then attempted to sew them on. DON’T DO THIS. I got as far as sewing half of one curtain when I quit since I screwed up my sewing machine and now it is all sticky. I bought the sticky back stuff since I thought it might be easier to attach to the patio but I really wish one strip was sticky and the other ‘normal’ so that I could sew it. Lesson learned.


My original goal was to attach the Velcro to the horizontal wood beam behind the lattice panels (see picture below) but when I did that the curtains weren’t long enough to reach the floor. So, I stuck the hook strip along the top of the patio panels like this instead (knowing that now I’d get some mosquitos in the patio if they were smart enough to fly up and over the top of the lattice panels)…


…but when I hung the curtains, they still didn’t reach the ground. Odd since the length I needed was 100” and these were now over 100” long but it just didn’t reach. So, removed the strips and lowered them a bit.


I then tried to hang the curtains to the strips. FAIL. The curtains wouldn’t lay right and kept bunching up on the Velcro so I still had issues at the bottom of the panels. I decided at that point that I would just forego the Velcro and staple the suckers to the patio….so that’s what I did. The panels all fit perfectly but the top edges certainly aren’t nice.


The doorway was another issue. I used an entire panel to cover the door and I didn’t want to cut it since I was afraid it would unravel and make a mess like the top of the curtains did. So, I just hung it over the doorway the best that I could.  The breeze makes the bottom blow out a bit but the bottom still drags on the floor so no bugs have gotten in that way yet.


I then added the Velcro along the right side of the doorway and to that section of the curtain so that I could close it tightly to keep out bugs.


When you are in the patio you can tell there is a nice, soft texture surrounding you due to the curtains and surprisingly despite all my issues and fear that it wouldn’t work the curtains have kept out the bugs so far. I’ve used it since Saturday and no issues yet.



So what did I learn?

  • The IKEA curtains are a great price and do a great job of keeping out bugs if you hang them correctly (which I didn’t but yet miraculously they are working so far).
  • DO NOT use sticky back velcro in your sewing machine.
  • Staple guns are awesome. I already knew that, though.

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