What Is Deck Skirting, And Do You Need It?
Here’s everything you need to know about deck skirting and if it is worthwhile for your home.
Whether you are designing your dream deck or merely seeking to update your existing deck, deck skirting is something you may consider. It’s not an absolute necessity, but there are lots of reasons why you might benefit from the extra storage, sleek aesthetic, and animal deterrent. Here’s what you need to know about deck skirting to decide if it’s right for your home.
What Is Deck Skirting?
Deck skirting is a covering or barrier that is installed around the base of a deck. It is designed to enclose the underside of the deck. Deck skirting is usually made from wood, vinyl, or metal. It can enhance the deck’s aesthetics by decoratively hiding the open space between the deck and the ground. It protects the underside of the deck from pests and harsh elements. Additionally, it makes this space neater for the storage of outdoor items like lawncare items, yard toys, or pool supplies.
Why Should You Consider Deck Skirting?
There are several benefits to installing skirting on your deck. Here are a few to consider.
Similar to the way a baseboard or trim can add a finishing touch to a room, deck skirting can add a finished look to your deck and enhance the curb appeal of your yard. The cohesive look you can create by tying together the deck’s design elements with the plant life in your yard can help elevate your home's curb appeal. If the underside of the deck houses piping, crawl space access, and other home systems, a deck skirt can help conceal the unsightly area and protect them from rusting or discoloration.
A deck can be a cozy home for outdoor animals seeking warm shelter. Although the occasional bird’s nest may be innocent enough, the dangerous and digging varieties are less welcome. Keep out raccoons, skunks, rats, and more with deck skirting. You can line the interior of the skirting with mesh wiring to add an additional barrier. This protection not only keeps critters away from the goods stored underneath, but it also prevents animals from burrowing into your home or chewing on any infrastructure, wood, or wiring under the deck.
Prevent Moisture and Mold
Skirting can create a barrier between your deck and the outside world, providing a dry outdoor area that might not exist without the skirting. Depending on the slope of your yard, water can be headed straight for the space under the deck. Any pooling or stagnant water could lead to moisture, mold, and other concerns. The right drainage and deck skirting can help prevent water from flowing under the deck toward basement windows or crawl spaces.
What Are the Types of Deck Skirting?
There are a variety of deck skirting materials and styles that can be customized to fit your space.
Wood lattice panels are made from thin strips of wood woven together in a crisscross pattern. The diamond-shaped grid attaches to a frame installed around the perimeter of the deck. The height of the skirting varies to suit the height of the deck. This style offers ventilation to prevent moisture buildup, but the openings may still be large enough for small animals to get under the deck. This option is affordable and easy to install.
Solid wood deck skirting is made of durable and rot-resistant wood, such as cedar, redwood, or pressure-treated lumber. The wood can be painted or stained to match the deck. Usually, this decking is installed vertically, although horizontal or diagonal installation is also possible. This heavier construction reduces airflow under the deck, but high-quality wood can offer greater protection for a longer period of time.
Stone or Brick
Stone or brick deck skirting is made from masonry materials, including natural stone, manufactured stone veneer, or brick. Installed in a variety of patterns, like stacked stone, random stone, or brick in a running bond or herringbone pattern, this sturdy and stately deck skirting has many benefits. Insects and pests have a hard time getting around or through stone. However, this kind of deck skirting can be more expensive and time-consuming to install. It is also much heavier than wood and lends itself to fewer access points to get into the underdeck space.
Metal deck skirting is usually made of aluminum, steel, or wrought iron. It can be painted, powder-coated, or anodized. The skirting can be installed in panels or as individual metal slats or bars. Metal deck skirting is low maintenance. It adds a modern, industrial look to the overall deck. This is a good alternative to lattice wood because the spaces and gaps provide similar ventilation. However, metal is prone to corrosion if not properly maintained. For example, avoid this kind of deck skirting near saltwater.
What to Consider When Installing Deck Skirting?
Check your local building codes to comply with any regulations concerning the installation of skirting, railings, and additional deck fixtures. Ensure that there is adequate ventilation to prevent moisture buildup and reduce any rot or mold. If you want an under-deck storage area, remember to focus on deck skirting that is removable or has access doors. Also, all skirting must be regularly cleaned and maintained. So, plan for regular upkeep and weather-specific needs.
When Is a Deck Skirt Not Necessary?
If your deck is built at or just above ground level, a deck skirt offers much fewer benefits. Modern-style decks with clean lines and minimalist designs may already offer the refined look deck skirting tends to provide. If exposed framing or other elements make the space under the deck usable and aesthetically appealing, then there’s no need to focus on skirting.
For more Better Homes & Gardens news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on Better Homes & Gardens.