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Bug Proofing Garage Windows

Posted by on July 1st, 2013

This past weekend, between family reunions and thunderstorms, I was able to validate a new idea for keeping bugs out of my garage windows.  As I mentioned in my last post on this topic, we get a good amount of bugs in the garage.  We live in a rural area and are up against a wooded lot.  It’s one of the few downsides to this particular home site.  If you’re in a similar situation, you’re probably familiar with how gross it gets.

window sill bugs

Now the way I see it, I have two options: I can clean the window and the shade a few times a year OR I can add some sort of screen to keep the bugs out of the windows.  I can cover the inside of the window with a traditional screen, but some bugs WILL still get through and I’m not sure how to integrate the screen with the drywall.  To my knowledge, no one has invented a force field yet, so that option is out as well.  After kicking around some ideas with Lisa for a few days, here’s what we came up with and I think you’ll like it.

Here’s a great way to bug proof your garage windows:

What we started with…

garage window before

First thing I did was ditch the paper shade.  We’re going to use a slightly higher quality temporary shade made from fabric.  You could also use a more traditional faux wood blind or mini shades, but we wanted something simple that didn’t have any cords.

After giving the window a thorough cleaning and touching up the stained drywall with fresh paint, we had a nice looking view.

clean garage window

The fabric shade was next.  It has a glue strip and I held it in place with the provided clips.

temporary fabric shade

This particular solution requires a thin piece of wood to sit in the window well flush with the drywall.  I ripped a couple pieces of poplar down to 3/4″ x 3/4″ and spray painted them white to match the garage paint.

white wood

The painted wood gets a thin bead of caulk on the side facing the wall and gets nailed flush with the window well edge.  No fancy joints needed here, butt joints are fine.  The size of the wood is small enough that you’ll barely notice it.

window trim close up

window with subtle trim

Can you tell what we’re doing yet?  No?  Here’s the deal.. we’re going to cover the window opening with a clear sheet of plastic that is used to insulate single pane windows in older homes.  It uses double-sided tape to attach to the wall and it requires a wooden surface to hold onto.

Here’s what the product looks like…

window insulation

You can buy it at any hardware store.  It comes with a roll of double-sided tape that you can promptly throw out.  It’s absolute crap.  It sticks to your fingers WAY better than the painted wood, for which it’s designed.  Instead, buy a roll of heavy duty double-sided carpet tape. It’s supremely strong and comes in clear. It’s going to be wider than what you need, but you can cut the excess off with a box cutter.

****UPDATE: I’ve switched tape products from double sided carpet tape to Scotch brand 3/4″ x 350″ two sided tape.****

I rolled the tape over the wood, trimmed off the extra and peeled off the backing of the tape. Now we’re ready for the plastic sheet. It’s a little tricky to hang, but I managed to attach it to the tape without many big creases. Small creases will get corrected in the next step, but bigger folds need to be fixed by un-attaching the plastic from the tape and re-attaching it.

With the plastic sheet over the window, the excess plastic around the window was cut with a box cutter to give it a cleaner look. The plastic is then tightened with a blow dryer set to high temp. The blow drier removes nearly every little wrinkle and leaves the plastic wrap tight like a drum. You may have to reapply some tape if it peels off and retighten it depending on how well the tape holds.

You’re left with a clean window well that lets all of the light in, but not a single bug.  If you look closely, you can see the reflection off the clear plastic.

window with clear insulation

clean garage window

It even looks solid from outside.

garage windows

It’s a simply solution that you can whip up with some scrap wood and it sure beats cleaning up bug guts!

So I’ve only finished the center window. Looks like I’ll be busy this week.

****Update #2:  If any of the double sided tape starts to peel off the wood, use contact cement to re-adhere it.****

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  • Maureen

    You guys never open the windows in the garage?

    • http://www.ourhomefromscratch.com John_OHFScratch

      Nope, never.

  • Linda

    This is AWESOME!! Our house has one large window that doesn't open in the garage and we have had the same issue with dead bugs, spiders, spider webs, mosquitoes, you name it. I have been dealing with this nuisance for twenty six years and tried to come up with a fix that always seemed to fail. Thank you for sharing your idea of using shrink film as I have never heard of this product and I'm sure it will work perfectly.

    • http://www.ourhomefromscratch.com John_OHFScratch

      You are very welcome! Good luck with it!

  • http://attemptsatdomestication.com Ashley@AAD

    Great idea! Definitely keeping this one in mind!