What is Deck Skirting?
Adding an elevated deck to your home is a wonderful way to boost visual appeal and expand your outdoor space. However, with many different factors to consider, it can be easy to overlook one of the most crucial: the deck skirting. Read below to learn the best deck skirting ideas to help guide your home improvement project.
What is Deck Skirting?
Deck skirting is a barrier or “skirt” surrounding the lower perimeter of your deck’s substructure, which closes off and hides its underside. While homeowners typically use this as a visual tool to match the decking material, it can also have a functional purpose, like storage. Deck skirting also acts as a protective screen to keep animals out of the area underneath.
However, before you go ahead and seal that space off, be sure you’ve considered all your options for the area! Trex has a great guide on how you can put a screened-in porch underneath your deck.
Best Deck Skirting Materials
Before you start shopping for what you’ll want to use for your deck skirting, it’s a good idea to get a basic understanding of the types of materials typically used. Then, you can keep it simple and project costs down or go for a unique combination of materials to achieve the desired look.
One of the most popular skirting materials is the traditional wooden lattice design. The lattice skirting technique is an excellent way to conceal under the deck and allow air ventilation. This method uses overlapping wood panels to create a grid of square openings. It’s is a less expensive option than solid wood skirting, as it uses fewer materials. However, the trade-off is that latticework skirting is typically less durable.
Low maintenance, durable, and weatherproof, metal deck skirtings can be a great route for you. They’re known to keep animals out from underneath, provide a good bit of storage space, and provide good ventilation if using panels. If you’re going for an industrial or modern approach, metals could be perfect for your skirting.
Bricks are another durable, weather-resistant skirting material that can complement your deck well. However, this might be a difficult DIY installation for some, and you may need to hire a mason or bricklayer to do the job, making this one of the more expensive options.
Composite deck skirting is made by combining two or more building materials to create new, sturdier material. It comprises plastic or wood fiber and concrete and mimics a wooden texture. Composite decking is weather and stain-resistant and typically resembles traditional wood, but it lasts a lot longer.
Best Under Deck Skirting Ideas
Using wood deck skirting provides you with a lot of design options. Installing some horizontal deck skirting with simple wood planks can give skirting a shiplap effect. It’s important to leave gaps between each piece of wood to allow for adequate airflow underneath. Good airflow is required whether you have wooden deck boards or composite, as most deck substructures are wood.
You can also install vertical planks, which will match the deck railings. Or, choose richly stained tropical or native hardwoods that aim to show off the builder’s craftsmanship or home design. Lattice deck skirting can be incorporated here by painting a dark color, so it complements the architecture.
Composite Deck Skirting
Composite decking is well suited for modern deck design because you can use wider deck planks without them warping or sagging. They’re also immune to rot, so you won’t have to worry about doing the routine maintenance required for wooden deck skirts. In addition, composite decking comes in a wide range of colors and textures, allowing you to have many design options.
Composite decks tend to be made in a conventional box style. However, because the deck and its skirting are made of the same composite material, the entire deck has a consistent design, and a box-type deck can look great when fitted with a thick railing.
Narrow Board Skirting
Using narrow as opposed to wide wooden slats for your deck skirting can significantly reduce the cost of your project while giving it a neat and modern look. You can accomplish this by using composite materials. However, keep in mind that this approach is best suited for small decks.
Bold Stone Deck Skirting
Using stone skirting gives the deck a bold and prominent feeling that few other materials can achieve. With the right color palette, stone skirting works as an elegant, sophisticated design that stands out. Balancing the stone out with dark hardwood has a natural, clean feel that will be sure to give your deck some noticeable character.
Metallic Deck Skirting
If your goal is for an industrial-type deck, metallic skirting is the way to go. Relatively inexpensive deck skirting, metallic, looks great when paired with a dark hardwood or composite material. It’s also very resistant to all types of weather and doesn’t require much maintenance.
How to Maintain Under Deck Skirting
Proper maintenance of your deck skirting is crucial in extending your deck’s lifetime as long as possible. The care tends to vary from material to material, but in general, the requirements are as follows:
Deck skirting needs to be cleaned regularly, but the frequency varies by material. Wood decks and wood lattice material require the most attention.
You’ll also need to apply and regularly reapply some type of weatherproofing to prevent the wood from warping and weathering. Composite materials, brick, and stone are usually easier to maintain and sturdier. These should be cleaned every once in a while with some warm water and soap.
To ensure that your metal deck skirting remains rust and weatherproofed, you only need to clean it occasionally.
If you have a wooden deck, then ventilation is necessary. The deck’s surface will dry and shrink without adequate airflow while the underside stays moist. Moisture will cause rotting, and the deck will begin to sag. Fixing water damage on a deck is costly.
Different skirting types require various ventilation methods. For wooden or composite boards, a good rule of thumb is to leave at least one inch of space between each slat. Lattice and mesh materials are naturally well ventilated. Still, materials like faux stone and brick that completely cover the underside of the deck require a vent system to keep air flowing in and out.
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Is Deck Skirting Necessary?
While deck skirting is unnecessary, it can be quite beneficial. Many people aren’t comfortable having the space under their deck wide open for critters to make a nest. Deck skirting provides a more finished look to your deck by enclosing the unused space underneath.