Having to live in south east Asia, one of the biggest health
threat we face, are mosquitoes. Every year, thousands of people are killed by diseases spread from mosquitoes here in my country. I face the same issue, even though I’m living about 75m above sea level or around 10 storeys high, mosquitoes are still able to find its way through the windows to suck my blood! And nowadays, new viruses like zika are spreading across equator, or anywhere else that’s hot and humid.
Installing proper mosquito window screens are very costly here! It cost almost 50 decent meals just to fix a 120cm x 120cm screen. There are many poor people in the country where 50 meals mean a lot to them. And imagine that they have to install the screen to the entire house. That is a lot of meals for the family they have to skip.
This tutorial I will be showing you how to make a mosquito screen using PVC trunking. Why do I use PVC trunking? The reason would be for the sake of durability. Our environment is always sunny and rainy on daily basis. Therefore, a wooden screen like this, could not last long in the sun and rain. The wood will crack over rain and long term UV exposure in the sun.
Comparing to magnetic screens, I heard they are not that durable and usually will last only a few years. And it is not cheap too.
Step 1: Preparation and Screen Design
You need the following tools and material to make yourself a PVC trunking mosquito window screens.
- Pen knife
- Electric drill with size 2.5 drill
- Measuring tape / ruler
- PVC trunking pipes 3/4 inch
- PVC cement (best using PVC adhesive glue)
- Garden wiring /zip tie
- Aluminum mesh/mesh of your choice(preferable UV resistant)
- Aluminum L shape thingy
- Drilling skill
- Gluing skill
- Pen knife cutting skill
Depends on how many screen you need to make. For me it takes about 1 full day to complete 1 window screen of about 60CM x 160CM.
You will have to make 2 identical PVC trunking frame for a window screen. After you made 2 frames, you will have to sandwich the mesh between 2 PVC trunking frames by using zip tie or garden wires.
Step 2: The Blueprint
Always start with a PROPER Plan. Sit down and draw the plan of your windows. Measure the width and length of the windows as for myself I measured about 0.5cmshorter so that I am able to slide the screen. Design your screen whether you want your screen to slide? Or are you going to stick the screen there and leave it as it is forever. Have a good look at your windows too, and figure out if the curtain rail will get into your way? Your window latch’s design and etc.
Proper planning helps you to estimates the material you are about to purchase too.
Tips: do add at least a muntin if your window is more than 2 feet 60cm long or wide. Otherwise the frame will not be strong enough to hold the entire window screen properly.
Step 3: Cut ‘em Up!
After you designed your plan, it’s time to put the plan to work!
Use Pen knife to cut the PVC trunking (or if you know the proper method of cutting, use them). There are basically 2 method to cut the PVC trunking’s base and cover, which is the corner and also in the middle section.
Firstly, pry open the PVC trunking and begin to cut as instructed in pictures attached.
Tips: what I do is I always cut the PVC trunking to the height of the window and slide the PVC trunking vertically to make sure the height measurement is not too long otherwise you won’t be able to slide around the windows. Cut a PVC trunking for its width and measure if it is wide enough to cover the window.
Step 4: Stick ‘em Up
The screen relies on the PVC trunking base as its frame. So, we need to glue the base of the frame base on your design.
Place the PVC turnking base on a flat floor. Glue the corners together. Allow the glue to totally DRY, this may take up to 2 hours. (Follow the instructions written on the adhesive label)
Tips: I used my floor tiles as 90 degree measurement, it is not a correct way, but I do not have a proper equipment to do so, that’s why my screen is a little out of shape.
Remember, you will have to make 2 identical PVC trunking frame.
Tips: use something to weigh down while you glue them, such as a dictionary. I used ikea stools and they were perfect.
Step 5: Drill… She Said
When the base frame is totally dried, it is time to drill holes on the frames.
Here’s some suggestion to where you should drill the holes. Refer to the attached picture.
Place 2 of the base together back to back, and drill 2 holes about 1 inch apart from each other where you will be tying up the zip ties/ garden wires.
Tips: tie the corners of the frames once you drilled it. It helps your frames to stay in place so that you do not drill the holes at different spots for both the base frames
Step 6: Sandwich ‘em
Now you have both the PVC base frames drilled. Place the mesh between both the PVC base frame, use something sharp and long such as a pen, poke through the holes to make the mesh does not block the holes. Then use the garden wire to poke through the holes and tie them together.
It is a bit hard to put them all in place. But be patience you will be able to make it.
tips: work from left to right side of the frame, this helps to prevent the mesh scrunched up
Step 7: Cover Up
After you sandwich the mesh with zip tie or garden wire, cover the frame with the PVC trunking cover. Cut them into proper length and cut the corners as attached pictures.
Snap them all together to cover the wires/zip ties.
Now your mosquito screen IS COMPLETE!
Step 8: The Sill
I used a 3/4 inch L shape aluminum bar as the window upper and lower sills.
Now drill the L shaped aluminum. For my sills, they are very lightweight, so I basically drill 3 holes to keep them firmly on the wall.
Tips: remember to take your time and MARK the place u will be drilling. I made mistake for drilling at the wrong section. Silly! The concrete walls were too strong that I can’t get the house hold drill to drill a hole. End up I used double sided 3M tape to stick the sill. *Been there for a few months now and it’s still fine, thankfully!
Place your mosquito screen into the sills and YOU ARE DONE!!!!! Now reward yourself a beer or orange juice if you’re underage.
Step 9: Final Words
Here’s the pro and cons of PVC trunking mosquito screen.
- Cheap – it is about 85% than proper window screen (as for where my region is)
- Lightweight –you don’t have to worry the screen fall over and hit your children. It weight about 1kg a screen of size 160x60cm
- Durability – don’t worry about it getting in the sun and rain
- Maintenance – very easy to clean. It is basically water proof, wipe with damp cloths or just rinse it outside your backyard with a hose.
- Time - Requires a lot of time and energy to build the screens
- Flexible – the screen is way too flexible and bent easily but sturdy enough to keep in place
- Not a proper screen – gaps between the windows allows bugs to crawl in. unless you stick them on the window with double sided tape.
- Out of shape – I have done several of these windows and it is very hard to keep them in exact 90 degree at every corner. So it will be slightly out of shape and that will cause the windows to be unable to slide properly.
Take a look at the picture attached....
BOOM! Those bastards ain’t biting nobody in my house no more. HA HA!!!!
I hope this PVC trunking screen could give an idea for those who can’t afford to install a window screen. Also, this could be an alternative of any other screen DIY methods.
And I really, really hope it helps to reduce the number of zika, or dengue cases as much as possible, especially those who can’t afford proper window screens.
As of writing this, I have already used the screens for few months. And it is still working great! During the day the daylight made the mesh almost looked invisible to the eyes, but during night time, there's a slight reflection from the light bulb on aluminum mesh. Its been through heavy wind blows a few times and staying strong on the window.
I am not sure of the durability yet but I will update the condition of the screens here in the future.