Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Changing the Mesh in Your Amido Bug Screens (網戸)

Japanese houses are made up of four different types of sliding door (if you include the windows). I've already written guides on how to replace the paper on your sliding shouji paper screens and your fusuma doors. So, to complete the "DIY Doors in Japan" series, here's how to replace or repair the mesh in your bug screens, or amido (網戸).

Amido are a little complicated, and require a couple more bits than the other types of doors.

For full replacement (see below for simple repair), you will need:

Mesh (網 - ami)
This varies in price from 100 to several thousand yen per metre. The basic stuff is plastic, the more advanced and durable is aluminium. It's graded by the size of the holes. The smaller the holes, the less insects can penetrate it (but does also mean that less air will come through, so hotter summers). The general rule is use less than 1mm grade. Usually the size is shown in milimetres, sometimes only in code. 1mm is about an "18". I'd recommend a "26", which is 0.6 or something thereabouts.

Free samples of trim to test your size.
A length of thin piping which sits around the edge of the mesh to keep it in place. This comes in several sizes, so you'll need to know which you need before you buy any. Many department stores will have sample pieces of each size which you can take home and compare with your own, or try to fit in your frame. Old trim can become brittle and horrible, so you may not want to faff about taking a piece with you to the shop. About 500yen for 20metres.

This is an inexpensive tool used to push the trim into the border. You can use anything for this, really, but rollers are so cheap (100-200yen) and easy that it is worth buying one anyway for convenience.

Very useful for holding the mesh in place. You can use any type of clip for this as long as it's big enough.


1. Use a screwdriver or otherwise pointy object to pull out the trim piping around the edge of the current mesh in your window. Then pull off the mesh and throw it away. You can reuse the trim if it's still in good condition and you're on an extremely tight budget...

2. This is a good opportunity to wash your frames. Make sure they're properly dry before continuing.

3. Lay/unroll your new mesh across the door, securing with clips at one end/side.

4. Use the pointy end of the roller to push the trim into one corner.

5. Roll along the clipped edge, forcing the trim into the groove all the way. This is very easy and pretty satisfying.

6. Push the trim into the next corner with the pointy end and continue rolling. Keep the mesh flat, but don't worry too much about keeping it stretched tight. The action of pressing it into the groove will tighten it automatically.

7. When you're reached the start again, trim the trim to fit and run around the edge again with the roller to make sure everything is secure.

8. Drag a sharp knife around the trim to cut off the excess mesh.

Job done. Should take about 5-10 minutes per door. 


As with the paper doors, you can buy small patches to stick over little holes in otherwise fine amido. A couple of hundred yen will get you a self-adhesive pack like this:

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