An elevated deck just isn’t complete without deck skirting, which covers the empty, unsightly space between the trim and the ground. There are many creative ways to wrap your deck, from wood paneling to faux stone.
Deck skirts aren’t just nice to look at – we’ll also dive into some of their more practical uses, such as creating new storage opportunities and keeping pests out from underneath your deck.
Deck Skirting Materials & Styles
The key to choosing the perfect deck skirting is to match or complement the style of your deck. Generally, that means going with the same material to create a sense of continuity from the top of the railing all the way down to the ground.
However, many modern deck owners choose to deviate from this norm and opt for bold or contrasting skirting materials instead. At the end of the day, it’s your deck and your decision.
1. Wood Lattice
When you imagine a deck skirt, a wooden lattice is probably the first thing that comes to your mind. The timeless, crisscrossed pattern is easily the most popular choice for wooden decks, but you can still make yours unique by playing with different patterns, colors, and textures.
2. Solid Wood
Solid wood boards are another popular deck skirting option that’s easy to customize. If you have a short deck, you can make it appear taller by installing the boards vertically. Install the boards horizontally to give the deck a more rustic feel, or incorporate lattice work between boards for a more classic look – you can get as creative as you want!
If you’re looking for a more durable alternative to wood, you can use composite or vinyl boards for your deck skirting instead – the white deck skirting pictured above is made from composite Trex decking.
4. Faux Stone
If you’re looking for complete coverage, faux stone is a versatile material available in a variety of colors. And because it’s not made from real rock, it’s less expensive and easier to install than brick. To give your deck an even more natural and earthy look, incorporate real stones into the landscaping around the deck skirt.
If your home has brick siding, a brick deck skirt of the same color and texture will create a seamless look. Warm and earthy, brick also goes great with greenery. The only downside? Installing brick is more difficult than wood or faux stone – you may need the help of a mason to bring your vision to life.
For a more subtle (and less expensive) look, you can combine brick elements with a wooden lattice.
6. Shrubs and Plants
Planting shrubs, flowers, and other plants around your deck is a simple yet effective way to cover empty spaces – no skirting required. Just keep in mind that foliage is not going to stop racoons, opossums, and other critters from getting underneath your deck and making themselves comfortable.
Metal is a less common but practical deck skirting material that can be used to create a very cool industrial aesthetic. Sheet metal is easy to cut into sections and install – just don’t forget to include ventilation holes. Metal mesh offers a more traditional look, with a diamond pattern resembling lattice, and provides better airflow.
If you decide to go with metal, make sure you choose one that’s rust-resistant, like stainless steel or galvanized metal.
How Do You Want Your Deck Skirting to Function?
Before you can decide on a deck skirting style, you have to decide on its purpose. Will it simply be used to cover an empty space, or do you want to store things underneath your deck? How important is critter control to you?
Extra Storage Space
If you want to turn the space underneath your deck into a storage shed, proper ventilation is key to keep your belongings from becoming damp and moldy. Lattice and metal mesh both offer great airflow while still providing adequate pest protection. Lining the ground under your deck with a plastic sheet will help cut down on moisture, too.
Lastly, don’t forget to install a padlocked door so that you can access and secure your new space.
Keep Out Unwanted Animals
Skunks, chipmunks, raccoons, and other animals aren’t just a nuisance – they can cause serious damage to your deck.
Unfortunately, even a completely solid skirting is not safe from these burrowing pests. That’s why the best way to keep unwanted animals out is to install a wire mesh screen along and underneath your deck skirting.
For the best results, the mesh should be installed between eight to twelve inches below the skirting in an “L” shape, with the bottom edge facing outward away from the deck. This technique, known as “deck trenching”, is a humane, long-term solution that works best when implemented by a professional.
How to Maintain Your Deck Skirting
You have the ability to extend the life of your deck by properly maintaining your deck skirting – here’s how.
If you have a wood deck, ventilation is absolutely necessary. Without enough airflow, the wood on top of the deck will dry and shrink while the underside stays moist, causing the deck to sag. Water damage is not only unsightly, but expensive to fix.
Different types of skirting require different 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, but 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.
Keep in mind that some deck skirting options require more maintenance than others. Wooden lattice skirting breaks easily and is difficult to fix when it does, but it’s also relatively inexpensive to replace entire sections. Materials like brick, metal, and faux stone, on the other hand, are easy to maintain, typically only requiring warm, soapy water and a little bit of elbow grease to keep them looking good. However, they tend to be more expensive upfront.
Excited to start your deck skirting project? Let the friendly decking professionals at Decks & Docks help you find the materials and hardware you need. Click here to view our selection of composite boards from top brands like Trex, Azek, and WearDeck, or call us at 866-528-9663 to get started!