A deck skirting is a barrier that covers the lower gap of our decks. Deck skirting or a “skirt” is the barrier that hides the space of our decks to protect it from external elements. The skirt of the deck can be used for storage too and provides an aesthetic appeal to the overall look of the exterior since it blends in, making a cohesive style to your house.
Not everyone puts deck skirting in their homes, but if you’re planning to install it someday, then this article is for you. Here, we’ll discuss the step-by-step guide on how to skirt a deck before & after work, but before we explain that in detail, these are some of the things to consider first:
Why Install a Skirt for Your Deck
It seems like a hassle, and it costs money when we hire or install a deck skirting, but there are some benefits to it.
First, adding a deck skirt allows you to have more storage. We all appreciate the extra room to put our outdoor tools or things that are way too bulky to bring inside our homes. Second, deck skirting keeps out stray animals like raccoons, skunks, and chipmunks.
Let’s face it, unwanted animals that can potentially make a nest under our homes are an inconvenience, so it’s better to just keep them away than exterminate them. A strong deck skirt will do the job. Lastly, deck skirting makes the entire appeal of our home cleaner and seamless, so you’d definitely appreciate the pleasant vibe of your house even if you’re still outside.
Deck Skirt Types and Materials
Before we discuss in detail the steps on how to skirt our decks, here are the types of deck skirting and ideal materials to use:
- Wood Material
Wood is one of the most common materials used for deck skirting. Some styles of wood include lattice wood and solid wood. Lattice wood is known for its classic crisscross pattern while solid wood is simple yet it has a lot of potentials when it comes to designing it since it’s like a blank slate. You can fully customize it according to your liking by painting them or adding woodworking elements to it.
Earthy and durable, brick is another material you can use for deck skirting. They last long, and they look natural, especially when there is greenery in the area.
- Faux Stone
If you’re not into stone, you can go for faux stone. This is another option that costs less and has more versatility. You can do an entire faux stone deck skirt or mix it with natural brick for a more unique look.
- Metal or Plastic
There are metal and plastic options too. They’re also cheap, and they come with a variety of choices. Metal is not commonly used, but they are an excellent choice when you want to have that industrial look on your outdoor exterior. Plastic panels, on the other hand, have more customizable options, so people prefer them because of their versatility.
- Plants and Shrubs
Lastly, you can use plants and shrubs too. Line them up to make a natural barrier for your deck. They’re not as sturdy as the other materials though, but they make the landscape better. Still, opt for this if you don’t mind that your deck is exposed.
Step-by-Step Guide to Skirt Your Deck
Let’s proceed to the step-by-step guide on how to skirt your deck with these 11 simple steps:
1. Check the Perimeter of Your Deck
The very first thing you have to do is to check the perimeter of your deck. Go outside and circle your house. Locate the part that needs a skirt. Does it cover the entirety of your house, or do you only need to have a deck skirt in one specific area?
Perimeter check is important because it gives you a general idea of how big the project will be. It lets you see how many materials you’re going to need. Once you have a general gist of the place, you can start measuring the dimension of the area.
How long is the area that needs panels, how high are the frames of your deck, and does your deck need trims and a foundation? These are the things you have to consider before you start buying materials.
2. Decide on a Theme
Now that you have a general feel of the outside area, decide on a theme first. What kind of materials are you looking for? Do you want a modern style or a classic one?
Choosing a theme makes research faster and smoother because you’ve already narrowed down the choices you have. Mentioned above are the common materials and styles to go for; you can start from there.
Have you found one that you prefer? Having a theme is essential because it can make or break the overall aesthetic of your deck skirt. That’s why you must pick a theme that matches the general vibe of your house.
3. Research on Skirt Deck Ideas
After you’ve picked a theme, you can now search for deck skirt ideas. If this is your first time doing a deck skirting project, it can be overwhelming to choose what kind of look to go for. After all, there are hundreds of designs that are all amazing.
Pick a few platforms online and start from there to make it easier for you. One of the best sites to go to is Pinterest. Just type in the deck skirt theme that you want, and it will give you great deck skirt ideas under that theme. Researching ahead is important since it allows you to pick materials more efficiently.
4. Narrow Down Your Choices of Inspiration
At this point, all you have to do is narrow down your sources of deck skirt inspiration. Don’t spend so much time finding ideas since there are so many good ones out there. Find a few samples and work from there. These few choices would be your base in creating your design.
5. Finalize Your Design
Now that the research part of the process is done, you can now finalize your design. This is a major step since this is the part where you’re going to map out how your design will be incorporated outside. You have to consider how it’s going to be added in seamlessly apart from choosing an overall deck skirt design.
Make sure that you have a blueprint of how you’re going to install your panels. Imagine what the final look would be after the installation. Imagining ahead makes it easier for you to install the skirts more efficiently since you know how you want the outcome would look.
6. Prepare Your Materials
This marks the start of the installation process. Proceed with preparing your materials by going to your local hardware shop. The most common tools needed here are nail guns, drills, pegs, cement, wooden planks, nails, saw, and measuring type. Then, find the best materials for the skirt themselves, depending on what deck skirting style you’re aiming for.
When choosing the materials, it’s best to invest in quality. So, it’s okay to splurge a bit on the materials for the skirt. Still, pick the most reasonably priced one as long as you’re ensured that they’re sourced from trusted sellers.
7. Clear Out Any Obstructions
Clear out the area from any obstructions before you being the installation. In every project that we do, we want to keep safety in mind. Find any obstacles and remove them far away from the deck since you want an open space that lets you walk around easily.
Obstructions don’t only possibly cause harm, but they slow down your progress. Since decks are mostly littered with outdoor paraphernalia like garden pots, grills, and garden tools, you’d want to clean up first by putting them in one corner before you work on the deck’s frame.
8. Install the Deck Frame and Foundation
Now, begin installing the panels by starting with the deck frames and foundation first. If your deck has no frame, prepare some poles to make the frame and foundation. The poles can be wood, PVC, metal, or plastic, but depending on the material you’re using for your deck skirt panels, choose a material for the pole that makes it easier for them to be plastered together.
Station your poles to make the frame and drill holes in them. Then, secure them with screws, nails, or cement. Once done, make sure that the frames are strong enough to withstand a hammer test. They have to be sturdy since they are the foundation for the rest of the panels.
9. Add the Deck Panels
You can now add panels to the deck if all of the frames are installed. Be sure to put the panels one by one in an orderly fashion if you’re using wood planks, solid wood, plastic or metal strips, or PVC lines as panels. They can be added vertically or horizontally. It’s better to add vertical panels when the decks have shorter gaps because they create a heightened illusion.
For bricks or faux stones, you can stack them up in a uniform fashion or an alternating style. Plaster them together with the frame and the foundation with cement to solidify them. You can mix and match the bricks and faux stone for a more interesting look.
10. Construct the Deck Gate
Leave a part for the deck gate. This is for those who are aiming to use their deck skirt as storage. Be sure to choose an area where it’s accessible and convenient for you. You can opt to add one gate or multiple depending on how much storage space you’re aiming for.
You’ll need bolts and screws to secure and attach the deck gate. You can also buy a ready-made door or build one from scratch. Just make sure that you’re checking the dimensions of the door frame and the door itself so that they properly fit in.
11. Wrap Up and Check for Oversights
You’re now done installing your skirt deck. Wrap up and check the area for oversights. It’s common to miss some spots here and there, especially if you’re working on a huge deck. Look for possible loose screws and jammed nails, and if you’re also painting your deck skirt, be sure to see if there are some missed parts.
This is to ensure that you have overall seamless work done. Once everything is set, clean up the area. You can test your deck door and see how many outdoor items you can fit inside. You can also beautify the area with some potted plants and outdoor designs to make your deck area more homey and personalized.
Deck Skirting Maintenance and Takeaways
We’ve now reached the end of our article, but before we close this off, take note of the maintenance process you have to do afterward. This is a crucial step to maintaining your deck skirt in its top quality.
It’s ideal for decks to be ventilated, so make sure that there’s enough airflow under to keep it maintained. When installing one, it’s much better to just automatically include an airflow system or vent under your deck. This is because the topmost parts of the deck skirts (wood materials) can easily dry up and shrink while their undersides become moist, causing them to sag and rot.
Then, don’t forget to clean your deck skirt once needed. When you notice it’s becoming dusty and duller in color, that’s when you know you have to do a general cleaning. Wood deck skirts should be checked for molds and rot. When they start to have these, you can remove the parts that are unsalvageable and just replace them with new panels. Brick, plastic, and metal deck skirts should be washed with soapy water to keep the dirt away.
Deck skirting is a great addition to any home with a deck. So, now that you know how to install one, we hope that your deck skirting installation process will be smooth and the project will be a success.