Enclosing a raised deck with a skirt creates a finished, attractive look
An elevated deck is supported by deck posts. Deck posts are usually spaced from four to eight feet apart. The spacing of deck posts leaves an opening under your deck which can be a collecting place for wind blown debris or leaves. The area under a raised deck can also become a place for animals – like raccoons or stray cats – to make their home. Sometimes, a raised deck that is not enclosed can become a safety concern for small children. It can also provide would-be burglars a hiding place by obstructing the homeowner’s view of ground- or basement-level windows.
Planning a project to enclose a deck is the solution to these issues. The area under a raised deck can be easily enclosed. This enclosure is commonly know as a “deck skirt.”
A deck skirt should be even with ground surface, not below it. This prevents rot caused by rain and snow moisture. The deck skirt should also be flush with bottom edge of the deck framework.
There are a number of options when planning how to enclose a deck. The material used to build a “deck skirt” can be vertical lattice, decorative criss-cross lattice, vertical solid tongue-and-groove siding, horizontal ship lap siding or horizontal vinyl siding. Usually the best option is to enclose a deck with material that matches or coordinates with the siding of the main structure of the house.
Deck skirting can also be as simple and effective – although not as attractive – as affixing chicken wire or cyclone fencing to completely enclose the open space under a raised deck.
Before enclosing a raised deck with skirting, consider whether access to outdoor electrical outlets or plumbing will be restricted. If so, contract a licensed plumber or electrician to specify the plumbing supplies needed and to run plumbing lines for garden hoses or faucets and electrical outlets to the deck skirt.
To enclose a deck, you must first construct a deck skirt frame work between the posts. The framework is the structure to which you will attach the type of cladding you select to use to close in the underside of your elevated deck.
Attach treated 2 x 4s to the top and bottom between the deck posts, using with 3-1/2″ deck screws. This will give you a top and bottom framework for your deck skirt material to be easily affixed.
Cut lattice to height and attach it with small finish nails or 1-inch screws to the top and bottom of the frame work. Run the vertical siding over the space between the ground and the raised deck, starting at one side, measuring carefully and planning for each seam. Attach any other skirting material piece-by-piece in same manner.
Chicken wire or cyclone fencing can be attached to the exact same framework with large staple fasteners to enclose a deck.
If you decide to use horizontal siding, you will need to provide a plywood backer for attachment purposes. Attach 3/4″ treated plywood to the top and bottom 2 x 4s. This will act as a solid nailer for horizontal siding — either vinyl or hard board. Attach the siding per manufacturer’s specifications.
After you have attached your skirt material, trim the top and bottom with decorative wood moldings to add finished detail to your deck skirt. Paying attention to detail and the final touches in installing your deck skirt can significantly improve the visual appeal of your garden and yard.
A deck skirt access door can be installed for under-deck access and storage accessibility if desired. If security and child-proofing is a concern, be sure to add a simple latch and padlock to the deck skirt access door. The size and location of an access door is up to the homeowner.