Deck Skirting, Quick and Easy in 5 Steps

A friend of mine had the very odd lean-to/garage that was tacked onto the back of her house removed and installed a great deck in its place. Certainly looks much nicer and has actual functionality versus the partially flat-roofed, very unstable structure that her back door used to open onto. Only thing is, it’s a walkout basement, so the deck, on the back of the first floor of the house, is one story up. Lots of great storage space under the new deck, but unfortunately very visible to the alley.

She asked me to help her install some latticework to obscure the sight lines of her under-deck space. Because the deck is about twelve feet off the ground, we decided to do some partial panels instead of entirely enclosing the space.

Here’s a great project from HomeSkills Building Decks that shows you how to install deck skirting.

Homeskills Building Decks A

HomeSkills Building Decks

Elevated decks are often the best solution for a sloped yard or a multi-story house. A deck on high can also take advantage of spectacular views. But the aesthetic drawback to many elevated decks is the view from other parts of the yard. The supporting structure can seem naked and unattractive.

The solution is to install deck skirting. Skirting is essentially a framed screen attached to support posts. Skirting effectively creates a visual base on an elevated deck and adds a more finished look to the entire structure. It looks attractive on just about any deck.

There are many different types of skirting. The project here uses lattice skirting, perhaps the most common and easiest to install. But you can opt for solid walls of boards run vertically or horizontally, depending on the look you’re after and how much time and money you’re willing to spend. However, keep in mind that lattice allows for air circulation underneath the deck. If you install solid skirting, you may need to add vents to prevent rot or other moisture related conditions under the deck. Codes also require that you allow access to egress windows, electrical panels, and other utilities under the deck, which may involve adding a gate or other structure to the skirting.

Regardless of the design, the basic idea behind building skirting is to create a supporting framework that runs between posts, with the skirting surface attached to the framework. Obviously, this provides the opportunity to add a lot of style to an elevated deck. The lattice skirting shown here is fairly easy on the eyes. If you choose to use boards instead, you can arrange them in intriguing patterns, just as you would design a showcase fence for your property. You can use wood skirting of the same species as the decking, or vary the material to create a more captivating look.

How to Install Deck Skirting

Homeskills Building Decks 1

HomeSkills Building Decks

1. Determine the length of the skirting sections by measuring the space between posts. Measure on center and mark the posts. At corners, measure from the outer edge of the corner post to the center of the next post in line. Determine the height of the skirting by measuring from the top of a post to grade leaving at least 1″ between the skirt bottom and ground.

Homeskills Building Decks 2

HomeSkills Building Decks

2. Cut the top and side frame sections for the skirting from 1 x 4 pressure treated lumber. You can also use cedar or other rot- and insect-resistant material. Snap a chalk line 1″ above the bottom of the post, and use a speed square to find the angle of the slope.

Homeskills Building Decks 3

HomeSkills Building Decks

3. Cut the ends of the frame pieces to fit. Assemble the 1 x 4 frame using galvanized angle brackets.

Homeskills Building Decks 4

HomeSkills Building Decks

4. Cut the 3⁄4″ lattice to dimensions of the frame, using a circular saw or jigsaw. Align the lattice on the back of the 1 x 4 frame, and screw the lattice to the frame about every 10″.

Homeskills Building Decks 5

HomeSkills Building Decks

5. Install each finished lattice skirting section as soon as it is assembled. Align the edges of the frame with the marks you’ve made on the posts and drill pilot holes through the front of the frame and lattice into the post. Screw the section to the post with 3″ galvanized deck screws, using a screw at the top, bottom, and middle of the frame.