If biting insects are keeping you from enjoying your deck, consider these solutions available to you. We want to help you navigate these alternatives so that you don’t waste your money on poor quality products.
Insect deck enclosures require some overhead structure to hang mosquito netting. It can be as simple as an umbrella, pergola, awning, or even a temporary frame made of 2-3” PVC. Alternatively, it can be more complicated, like building a screen room or at least a covered roof.
In addition, there are other solutions like chemical spraying or strategically positioned electric fans to create a wind barrier for these biting insects that only fly in the still night air. Before you make the investment, we’d like to help you avoid common mistakes.
Umbrella nets can cost anywhere from $17 to $800, but with this product, you get what you pay for. Cheaper nets cannot withstand any amount of wind and are very fragile. Bug Umbrella sells a very high-quality umbrella net that will last many years. In addition it has many clever features that make it easy to roll up and store away when not in use.
Awning Screen Enclosures
An awning will also provide shade, but if looking to enclose an awning with mosquito netting, do not buy a retractable awning. Retractable awnings require the complete removal of the netting every time it is retracted. The more the netting is secured for wind, the more effort and time it takes to remove and rehang the enclosure, taking as long as 45 minutes. Thus, we highly recommend installing a fixed awning. Custom mosquito curtain panels are available with top grommets that “zip tie” to the overhead bar.
A pergola has an open roof. When considering the design, keep in mind that there needs to be a “seal” at the top of the curtains to prevent mosquitoes from finding their way in. Some pergola designs have odd shapes with stacked rafters that make them impossible to seal. Look for clean, flat fastening surfaces. In its simplest, least expensive form, all that is really needed to hang mosquito netting panels is an overhead box. If making the box out of wood, consider cedar, which lasts as long as pressure-treated wood but weighs far less.
Many home improvement stores offer aluminum gazebos with screen kits. While gazebos may look impressive on the showroom floor, most will not pass the key test: to lean against a support column to see if it wobbles or “racks”. Yardistry makes a very nice gazebo that is structurally solid. The better models are initially more expensive, but will last much longer and return more value in the long run.
Often these gazebos come with mosquito nets as part of the kit, but it’s a good idea to inspect the quality of the net as many are tissue paper-thin and will last only a year or two. Most importantly, replacement nets for some models are virtually impossible to find, despite what the store may say. Replacement nets are frequently carried online only and/or marked as “out of stock.” The good news is that there are companies that will custom make replacement panels of substantially higher quality, but they can cost $600 – $1,000.
Create A Simple Overhead Box
This can be made out of wood or 2-3” PVC. Avoid narrower gauge PVC as it will be too unstable and sag like a noodle. If the box is attached to the house, you can enter the enclosure as soon as you open your doors. Some companies offer affordable custom-made panels and an overhead shade mesh that will also keep out flying insects.
This is surprisingly effective if done correctly. Mosquitoes are terrible fliers, as are most biting insects. Your goal is to surround yourself with a curtain of air that will keep biting insects away. It isn’t a perfect solution since fans may need to be situated very specifically given your conditions, and the drone of fans can make conversation difficult. However, if you already have a few household fans, it is certainly worth a try.
As mentioned earlier, screening prevents you from retracting the awning. However, this owner of a retractable awning created an “upside down box” and rigged it between vertical poles. As a result, the moment they walk out their back door, they are in a protected space. Since the awning is beneath the deck screen enclosure, they can retract the awning whenever they choose.