Your camper van is a safe space, and to keep it safe from insects, you’ll need to install a quality bug screen. Bug screens are a perfect installation for your van to suit your lifestyle, but if you plan to install one, you’ll need the right tools and knowledge for the task. Use this guide to learn how to install a bug screen into your van for the best camper van experience.
Know the Types of Bug Screens
There are a variety of bug screens to use for your camper van. The type you choose will determine how well protected the van is from bugs and may provide other benefits such as cold protection and better ventilation.
For instance, some bug screens have mesh with varying hole sizes. Install mesh bug screens for better ventilation that cools the van during hotter days. Other screens may have a mixture of plastic and canvas with higher durability against the elements and a stronger shield against bugs. Still other screens may have stronger stitching around the frame, making the mesh or plastic stay in place better. This is great if you have pets who will lean on the screen.
Choosing the bug screen that suits your needs for daily living and where you’ll travel is essential to the installation process. Of course, you can always replace your bug screen, but why not get the best one the first time?
Consider the Van You Have
Your choice of bug screen will need to align with the van you have. Different camper vans have various dimensions. Specifically, the doors where you place the bug screen will have different lengths to fit specific bug screens.
For example, if you have a Ford model van, a Ford Transit insect screen is the ideal choice. So consider the van and the bug screen for a proper installation; both may have differences you need to note for fewer problems down the line.
Decide Between Magnets or Velcro
Before installing your bug screen, you’ll need the proper fixtures on the door frame to keep the screen in place. Van bug screens typically use magnets or Velcro for securing, and both have upsides and downsides.
Magnets are an easy way to install new bug screens since the magnets disconnect with less effort than Velcro. Magnets lining the door frame will cause the screen to stick easily and make removal simpler. However, the magnets may disconnect with enough force, making it essential to keep heavy items away from the screen.
Velcro works better in most installations despite the need for more effort to make it stick to the frame and line the bug screen. Velcro is harder to separate and therefore provides better security. It’s possible to make quick replacements with a Velcro attachment, but the new screen will need an attached line of Velcro for the installation.
Measurements are your friend for installing a bug screen in your van. Measure both the doorframe and the bug screen to ensure you have the correct sizing and understand the dimensions of the installation.
If the screen is too large, you’ll need to make alterations so it fits in the door frame without the extra material. But of course, knowing the measurements of the van beforehand will prevent you from buying a smaller screen.
Ultimately, precise measurements will remove the guesswork. Just remember to have a few extra inches of square footage to ensure enough room to cover the whole opening of the doorway.
Mark Where You Need To Place Magnets or Velcro
The best planning leads to the best results, and marking where to place the Velcro or magnets will make the installation easier. Be precise when placing an object that sticks to a surface as a permanent fixture. Marking the location of where the material will go will make positioning easier and help prevent the need for adjustments.
Place the Velcro or Magnets To Hang the Bug Screen
You’ll want to start the installation by placing the attachment materials along the frame. Placing Velcro or magnets on the frame first will make future steps easier by having a place to hang the screen as you work. This step will help you keep the screen out of the way and give you a better view of how it will look upon installation.
Use magnetic or Velcro tape in long strips. Place a strip on each side of the door frame, including the top and bottom. Having a better perspective on the view of the bug screen on the door will help you visualize what you need to do to create the best result.
Place the Attachment Material Onto the Screen
Now, you need to also place magnets or Velcro on the edges of the screen. Place magnetic or Velcro tape in long strips as you did when you added it to the frame. The strips should be the same length as the frame’s strips for a perfect fit.
Mind the Corners
Paying attention to the installation’s corners is important since small gaps can let bugs in. The corners of the screen will most likely have right-angle edges, while the door frame probably has round ones. Therefore, you may have more room left over on the bug screen where the corner doesn’t connect to the attachment material.
Adding an “L” shaped Velcro or magnetic tape patch will ensure the corner attaches to the van’s interior. You’ll need the entire bug screen to attach to the door frame for a complete seal, so pay attention to the corners to ensure that.
Use Extra Materials Around the Door Latches
The latches for the van’s back doors may be an obstacle when creating a tight seal for the bug screen. However, adding extra material to maneuver around the latches will make the installation easier.
Create some slack in the bug screen. Then, place a small “U” shape around the latches with tape and attach the bug screen to the tape. If you’re unsure of a slight opening in the area, add duct tape or other adhesive for extra security.
Check the Entrance Seal
The seal in the middle of the screen allows for entry and exit, and ensuring it remains tight will keep the insects out. If you have a magnet or zipper seal, make sure it closes completely and extends the length of the screen.
Installing a bug screen will significantly improve your van experience. Follow this guide to ensure you know how to install a bug screen with the best results.