While it may not strike one as the sexiest of components in need of consideration where the appealing outdoor deck is concerned, skirting is nonetheless a crucial aspect of a secure and well-made deck.
Narrowing down your deck skirting ideas is much like choosing closet doors. They aren’t the most exciting design decisions, but you need something to cover unsightly areas. A deck skirt isn’t exactly something you want to draw attention to. Or is it?
Although your deck is the real star of the show, no deck plan is complete without skirting. Proper deck skirting ideas allow for ventilation to guard against mold and rot. The deck skirt also provides cover if you use the area for storage. Not only does it hide the area beneath an elevated deck, but it can also add beauty to your backyard.
Ideally, your deck or porch skirt will include a door to access the below-deck area. Deck skirting can be made of lattice, wood, stone, or several types of composite materials. Browse the following images and discover how many options you have for turning a potential eyesore into a lovely design element.
1. Lattice Panel Deck Skirting Ideas
Lattice panels are one of the most popular deck skirting ideas, and for good reason. The simple grid pattern goes well with many types of architecture, including traditional, cottage, and rustic homes. Lattice panel openings provide a decent balance between ventilation and visual covering. Hundreds of wood or vinyl lattice options exist to coordinate with your backyard décor.
Your deck or porch skirting latticework can be purchased in dozens of colors and sizes. Many types of lattice panels can be painted or stained to match your deck railing and balusters. Or, you may choose to use a color that matches your decking surface or home foundation.
Wood lattice can be built from high-quality lumber and stained for an elegant, natural wood finish. If you choose a less expensive type of lattice skirting, you will most likely want to paint it. To add visual interest, install each lattice panel at an angle instead of straight up-and-down. This results in diamond-shaped openings instead of basic squares.
2. Wood Deck Skirting Ideas
While wood lattice is perhaps the most popular form of skirting material, other wood materials open the door to many different deck skirting ideas. Simple wood planks installed horizontally, like shiplap, is an attractive skirting option that can be left bare or stained. Note that pressure-treated lumber weathers nicely into a warm gray that coordinates well with many color schemes.
It’s essential to leave a gap between boards to allow for adequate airflow beneath the deck. Keep the gap narrow for a shiplap-type effect, or widen it for a beachy feel. Anchor the wood skirt to the frame, not to the ground itself. This gap will protect the wood from damage caused by wicking moisture and frost.
Tropical hardwoods, such as teak and mahogany, offer natural resistance to insects and rot. For a different look, install wood deck skirting planks vertically instead of horizontally. Vertical wood deck skirting continues the deck banister lines, making an excellent background for tall plants or climbing vines. Watch this video for tips on installing wood skirting with deck screws:
3. Modern Deck Skirting Ideas
Horizontal lines are a classic element of modern design. Therefore, horizontally-fastened wood or composite deck skirting conveys a rich contemporary vibe. It elongates the appearance of your home and blends well with Asian-inspired backyard landscaping. Horizontal deck skirting ideas are also a good option for mid-century modern home exteriors.
Rich walnut, mahogany, and other warm wood stains highlight the beauty of good-quality wood. Metal or metal wire deck and stair railings stand out beside simple modern deck skirting. Further, emphasize your home’s lines and angles by varying the spacing between skirt boards. You can also alternate solid wooden skirt slats with boards routed with additional lines.
Add interest to your modern outdoor space by making your deck skirt an actual focal point. You can accomplish this by installing panels with an engraved or painted design pattern. If you can’t find panels with a design that suits you, consider stenciling your own. Large paisley, floral, and mandala stencils are available for deck and fencing board walls.
4. Skirting Ideas for Traditional Decks
A deck dedicated to outdoor living is one of the top features sought after by homebuyers. Whether you have a covered deck, roofless deck, or screen porch, it will need a skirt if it is elevated. Most people immediately think of lattice panels for traditional homes, but more elegant options abound.
Install vertical beams, spacing them the same width as your porch railing. Traditional Victorian homes with wood siding look lovely with this type of deck skirt. You can paint it white or whatever color that coordinates with your window and door trim. If you don’t like the look of wood or vinyl lattice panels, paint them a dark color and plant hedges to make them disappear.
A floating deck is another classic backyard deck option that works with traditional or modern homes. Also called freestanding decks, these decks seem to float above the ground. While they can be built directly on the ground, it’s better if they are built on top of gravel or a short frame. They generally only need a small deck fascia instead of a full deck skirt.
5. Craftsman Deck Skirting
Generating Craftsman deck skirting ideas means sticking to the elements that are foundational to this style. This includes a natural color palette, stone or brick foundations, and a preference for stained wood. Most Craftsman homes include a large, covered porch that requires some form of skirting. If you add a backyard deck, it’s a good idea to continue with the same type of skirting as the front porch.
Craftsman architecture can carry off traditional or modern deck skirting ideas. However, since its focus is showcasing the builder’s craftsmanship, you should use the best materials your budget allows. Opt for richly stained tropical or native hardwoods, or stone skirting. You can also use both stone and wood, especially if your front porch columns are built this way.
Lattice can work on a Craftsman home, but it should be used sparingly, set in wide wooden frames. If you must use lattice, paint it a dark color that makes it fade into the background. Your deck skirt should complement, not compete with, the beauty of Craftsman design.
6. Deck Skirting Using Composite Decking
Composite decking materials are generally durable and easy to work with. They come in a wide range of colors and textures. Most resemble the appearance of real wood, with some brands achieving this better than others. However, if you have a modern or contemporary home, you may prefer a smoother material without a prominent wood grain texture.
Composite decking is excellent for modern deck designs because you can use wider planks that won’t warp or sag. Trex decking is a popular brand worldwide due to its appearance and durability. It installs well vertically or horizontally and comes in a variety of plank widths. Composite lattice panels are available in both traditional grid and non-traditional patterns.
Like wood, spills can leave stains on composite surfaces, and they may scuff or scratch easily. Even so, composite deck skirting’s immunity to rot is a huge benefit. Installing Trex or another brand of composite deck skirting frees you from the routine maintenance required for wooden deck skirts.
7. Stone and Brick Skirting
Choosing stone or brick skirting material gives your home a solid, well-grounded appearance. It coordinates well with brick or stone columns and comes in a wide range of textures and colors. You can use real brick and stone or choose manufactured panels that give the appearance of real masonry.
One of the benefits of faux stone deck skirting is that it doesn’t chip, crack, or crumble like real masonry can. It’s virtually maintenance-free, aside from periodic cleanings with a power washer. Unlike actual brick or stone, faux panels are easy for DIY deck builders to install. It’s an inexpensive way to obtain the look of real masonry without the expense of hiring a mason.
Because stone and brick siding lacks natural ventilation gaps, your deck design must include strategically-placed vents. These will ensure proper airflow to prevent moisture problems in the area beneath your deck boards. Experiment with ways to include masonry in your deck skirting ideas list. For instance, combine skirting materials by securing wooden lattice to brick or stone columns.
Deck Skirting FAQs
How long does it take for pressure treated wood to look weathered? Can I speed up the process?
Left unstained, pressure-treated wood will begin to turn gray within three to six months. Many homeowners wonder how to rush the weathering process to obtain this attractive gray finish sooner. Or, they may want the new deck skirting to match the rest of the wood deck.
You can purchase weathered wood accelerator stains at your local home improvement center. However, an inexpensive DIY chemical reaction makes it easy to age wood yourself. Watch this video for instructions:
I don’t plan to store anything behind my porch lattice skirting. Do I still need to include an access door in my deck design plan?
A deck designer should always include a way to gain access to the space beneath the deck. Even if you don’t have storage plans, you still need some way to access the area. Include a door, deck hatch, or wire-screened gap beneath the deck stairs.
Why is under-deck access necessary? You may need to check for foundation issues or other problems in the future. A rodent or other small animal may crawl in and die beneath your deck, causing an odor problem. It’s much easier for you or an exterminator to remedy this situation if your deck skirting includes a door.
What should I do to prepare the ground beneath my deck before installing deck skirting?
Adequate ground preparation protects your home from pests and drainage problems. Cover the ground with a piece of weed-blocking landscape fabric, being sure to overlap at the seams. Then cover the fabric with a 3-inch layer of gravel or landscape stone.
These materials provide a good level of protection against moles, groundhogs, and other burrowing animals. Never use mulch or pine straw in the area behind deck skirting. These organic materials will decompose over time and invite termites, carpenter ants, and other pests into the area.