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17.2 Skirts: Skirt Installation

Wood

Solid 1X6 cedar skirting is installed from the bottom side of the horizontal trim down to the ground. A recommended ¾” ground clearance is left between the bottom of the skirt and the ground. Follow the grade of the ground angling the bottom of the skirt with the grade for a clean, straight look. Leave a minimum ¼” air space between the skirting boards. Install corner pieces of skirt first working towards the center of each of the sections. This will avoid a small corner end piece leaving the ripped pieces in the center. If building with maintenance free skirt, check manufacturer’s installation instructions.

Skirt boards being installed on a deck.

Lattice

Lattice skirt can be installed to standard skirt support. Find where the lattice sheets butt together, and install a 1x3 decorative trim over the joint. Use the same trim on the corners and along the bottom of the deck skirt.

Composite and Vinyl

Composite and vinyl skirts are used for complete maintenance free projects. Some manufacturers have skirt or cladding profiles while others recommend using their decking profile. Be familiar with the different manufacturer’s profiles. Refer to “Installing skirt and deck trim that are the same thickness” below for installation tips.

Installing Skirt and Deck Trim that are the Same Thickness

When installing horizontal deck trim and vertical skirt that are the same thickness, over hang the deck boards the thickness of the skirt past the front faceplate and/or past the outside joists.

Deck skirt support detail.

Use a scrap of ¾ inch lumber to space your skirting above the ground. Put fasteners at the top edge of your skirt high enough to be hidden behind the deck’s trim board. Use a straight edge to set the bottom fasteners in a straight line, in the center of the skirt support you installed behind.

Skirt Gate Construction

Deck skirts provide a nice finishing touch, but they can block access to vital areas, such as valves for water, or hot tubs, or electrical plug-ins. The area under the deck can also be use as storage, once access is established. Skirt gates can help.

Frame your gate skirt with 2x4 lumber to create a strong, stable frame. Use the same boards you used for your skirt to face the gate panel. Use fence gate hardware to mount your access panel. They will last longer and provide easier operation than indoor, or lightweight outdoor hardware.

Build the gate itself with a rectangle of 2x4s with a diagonal 2x4 brace running from the bottom hinge side to the upper latch side to keep the gate square and keep the weight evenly distributed between the hinges. This will help prevent sagging as well. Cut your deck gate so that the bottom edge matches the skirt on either side.

A gate installed in a deck skirt to allow for storage beneath the deck.

 

An open gate in a deck skirt showing gate construction detail.

Skirt Gates on Upper Levels

On upper levels, build your gate the same as for lower level gates. Cut the bottom edge of your gate to clear the deck by ¾ inches. Position handles and hinges to clear stairs, rails and other nearby features. Use 2x4 bracing diagonally on either side of the gate to stabilize the skirt. 

A closed gate in a deck skirt.

An open gate showing storage area underneath deck, hidden by deck skirt.

 
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