Your deck is built, the steps and railings look great and your grill is smoking as the sun starts to drop.
It sounds great, but now you have to finish the project.
Wrapping the deck to hide the gaping hole underneath requires skirting.
Skirting comes in many forms and offers aesthetics, beauty and even functionality.
What materials and which skirting method is right for you?
Most Common Deck Skirting Materials
- 1 Most Common Deck Skirting Materials
- 2 Buyer’s Guide: Deck Skirting Consideration Factors
- 3 Inexpensive Deck Skirting Ideas
- 4 Horizontal Deck Skirting
- 5 Modern Deck Skirting Ideas
- 6 Trex and Composite Deck Skirting Ideas
- 7 How to Maintain Deck Skirting
- 8 Frequently Asked Questions
- 9 Conclusion
Deck skirting comes in all shapes and sizes. Some options are more popular than others either for their look, ease of install or low maintenance. Let’s take a look at the most popular options.
- Lattice. PVC, wood or plastic lattice is affordable, easy to install and easy to care for. It is common and doesn’t detract from the look of the home or deck.
- Composite decking. Using the leftover deck boards for skirting makes your entire deck match and have the same overall maintenance levels.
- Natural materials. From shrubs to stones, you can let nature be your skirting.
- Fencing. If you have left over fencing from your backyard project it can easily be converted to deck skirting.
- Open. Exposed beams are popular inside and outside the home. Leaving the deck open without skirting is the easiest and lowest maintenance option there is.
Buyer’s Guide: Deck Skirting Consideration Factors
The size of your deck and amount of open space underneath will determine the best skirting material for your needs. It will also dictate how much material (and therefore cost) is required.
When it comes to the skirting you have plenty of options for materials. From the same material as your decking (composite, lumber) to aluminum, lattice and even natural materials. The cost, amount to purchase and even care and maintenance all need to be considered and will all vary based on the material you choose.
Skirting is generally offered by the contractor that installs your deck. However, since it isn’t a structural design, you can save some money skirting your own deck as a DIY option. The time and money savings are your decision, but need to be factors in before you start the deck construction.
The empty space under your deck can be used for storage, or just closed off and forgotten. Many homeowners utilize the space for grills or lawn care equipment storage and others just wall it off for a more solid appearance. If you need the space or functionality, though, proper planning is crucial for material purchase and installation.
Most materials used for skirting won’t have a warranty, though it can be covered when bought as part of a decking package. When you do buy your skirting materials make sure you understand if there is a warranty and what it covers.
Skirting material options range in price from free to over $20 per square foot. The type and how much you spend is dependent on all of the factors above plus your needs and desires.
When you are planning your deck build and the skirting in particular, your budget is important. Make sure you plan for additional materials and plan out the first year or two’s worth of care and maintenance costs, too.
Inexpensive Deck Skirting Ideas
There are popular skirting options and there are cheap skirting options. As it stands there are also popular and cheap skirting options. Saving money is as important to some homeowners and looking good.
Of course lattice is the most popular option. It is a clean and classic look and lattice panels are relatively inexpensive. You can also get wood, composite, PVC or even aluminum lattice. Colors, strength and low maintenance levels keep lattice popular and with so many options the cost stays low.
When clearing the ground to build the deck as well as what is already laying around, many homeowners can reuse rocks and stone to make a skirting option. You can also buy stone and brick to build a low maintenance option but depending on size and amount, the cost can get high.
Another concern with using natural stones, rocks or brick is the coverage area. For raised decks that are over 36 inches from the ground surface, you will need a lot of material. It is also difficult to cover the space fully, so you also need to worry about wildlife getting under the deck.
Shrubs and Plants
Another natural and inexpensive option is to use foliage. Using the space around your deck as a garden with tall flowers, shrubs and bushes will not only add great fragrances and aesthetics, but it can be functional as well.
Not only do you need to care for the plants so they stay alive and thrive, but extra care is needed to keep the bushes clear of dead leaves and aesthetics high. In the winter, it will also open up the space and make the underneath more visible.
Horizontal Deck Skirting
Horizontal lines are one of the most non-lattice popular ideas. Using decking boards you can run horizontal lines that match the rest of the deck. You can also use metal, wood or composite here and use a lapping or beach-style/large gap style.
As long as the boards are connected to the base and not the ground directly you won’t have to worry about moisture wicking or early rot. As long as you leave some space between your horizontal board placement you won’t have to worry about ventilation.
Modern Deck Skirting Ideas
Modern designs use PVC, aluminum, metal and other non-conventional materials. While the cost can get high at a rapid pace, the longevity of the material is among the best. You can also incorporate various styles, paints and sealants to create intricate designs or patterns.
If you do use metal make sure you get something that is corrosion and rust resistant. Galvanized steel is a little more expensive but will stand up to the elements a lot longer.
Trex and Composite Deck Skirting Ideas
Trex is a brand that offers more decking components than almost anyone else. Their line up includes cladding, lighting and even games. Using the composite material for skirting is common and can be included in your materials purchase amount.
With composite, you can do horizontal, vertical or patterned skirting, too, giving you multiple options for design and aesthetics.
How to Maintain Deck Skirting
Maintaining your deck skirting should be simple, infrequent and quick. You don’t want to spend time cleaning and maintaining a skirting that only takes away from enjoying your deck for its primary purpose.
For stone, composite or metal a garden hose can spray down when dirt and debris build up, otherwise you won’t need to worry too much about it. For lumber and other materials you may need to use a pressure washer to keep algae and mold from growing.
Other maintenance concerns will depend on the material of your skirting as well. Wood will need to be treated, sealed or painted when it is time to treat your deck. This can be annual, raising the maintenance level.
Frequently Asked Questions
In this section we will answer the most common questions about deck skirting ideas. If you have other questions, feel free to use the comment section below the article.
Q. Do I need access under the deck if I don’t plan to use the space for storage?
- It is always wise to have an access panel or doorway to get under the deck when needed. Even if you don’t plan to store anything under the deck, there will be times when you need to get underneath, either for maintenance and repairs or to rescue an animal or even access water or electrical lines. Having an access point makes the process even easier.
Q. Do I need to leave space between decking boards?
- The deck itself as well as skirting needs space between the boards. This helps air circulation and ventilation, as well as drainage. It also allows for expansion and contraction during temperature swings to prevent cracking or damage.
Q. Do I have to have deck skirting?
- No. Skirting is a personal choice and aesthetic assistant. Many raised decks use the open space under the deck for other purposes and not having any skirting can also be an appearance choice.
Deck skirting is one of those aspects that allow you to express your creativity or adventurous side. For not a lot of money you can try new things to append the look of your deck, change the overall appearance or just stand out in the neighborhood.
Whether you opt for composite, lattice or shrubbery, there are options. You can paint, build, or let nature take over and there is no wrong answer. Sticking with common skirting or venturing into the new and unknown, your deck skirt should show your style, personality and panache.