Skirting is great for dressing up the bottom of a deck while enclosing it. As a rule of thumb, you should budget about 5% of your deck budget to deck skirting. The material selected will greatly impact skirting costs but, more importantly, the complexity of the design.
Deck skirting cost ranging from $3 to $50 a square foot. A low 20’x12’ attached deck, the skirting costing between $200 to $4 400. The complexity of a skirting design greatly impacting its cost along with selected material. A simple deck and skirting design, on average, will cost between $300 and $900.
|MATERIAL COST PER SQ’
|COST OF SKIRTING
|20’X12’ DECK SKIRTING 2’HIGH 88 sq.’
|WOOD LATTICE NO TRIM
|VINYL LATTICE NO TRIM
|¾” PWF PLYWOOD With 1×4 battens
|VINYL LATTICE WITH TRIM
There are many variables impacting skirting costs. The following are a few items that will affect the price of your deck skirting, both material and labour.
Four common decks skirting material varying in cost are.
But the complexity of skirting design will have more of an impact on skirting cost than the price of the material. If the cost is important, then stick to simple skirting designs and economical material. Not only do elaborate designs add in material cost, at times, the trim pieces cost more than the main material, but every piece that must be cut and installed adds to labour cost.
Before we discuss labour, let’s discuss common skirting material costs.
Deck Skirting Material Cost
Lowest Costing Deck Skirting
Another not as common deck skirting material is Mesh Screen. Coming in rolls of mesh 4’ high, this is the most economical material for deck skirting. For a little over a hundred bucks and a couple of hours, you can screen in the bottom of your deck. A wonderful DIY material, making short work of skirting without breaking the bank.
Lattice Deck Skirting Costs
Lattice is a very popular skirting material. Economical in nature while providing great deck ventilation and aesthetics. From prom dresses to decks, lattice is a good-looking addition.
A simple lattice skirting consisting of lattice hanging down from the deck rim joist can cost as little as $2 a square foot. Skirting a 20’ x12’ deck for couple hundred bucks. A great price while providing some structure to the skirting. It will require a little more work then mesh but still an afternoon project.
Wood lattice is the most economical lattice, a 4’x8’ sheet costing as little as $40. Vinyl lattice is a little more durable than wood lattice costing around $50 a sheet. Of course, there’s decorative lattice more in the range of $200 a sheet, ideally suited for 4’ high deck skirting as not to damage the pattern.
The cost of material and labour for lattice skirting is in the trim work. The material and time to reinforce and dress up the lattice will easily double the cost. Cost worth spending as it makes the skirting last significantly longer and greatly improves appearance.
The biggest difference between a starter home and a million-dollar home is the trim work. A deck is the same, the trim around deck skirting makes all the difference in feel and look of your deck and skirting.
That being said, a simple vinyl cap and joint dividers surrounding a section of the vinyl lattice will change your material cost from $50 to over $100. Adding trim has the same impact on labour. The addition of trim easily doubling both time and material costs.
The skirting material is now costing around $3.40 a sqft or about $300 for a 20’x12’ low deck. Along with ironies of ironies, in that the lower the deck, the higher the skirting cost per sqft. The time and trim required to install a large section are about the same as for a small section. Roughly a two-foot-high skirting will require the same amount of trim moulding and assembly time as a four-foot-high section: half the square footage but almost the same amount of labour and trim material cost.
In summary, lattice skirting is a good middle of the road cost while providing a good look with great under deck ventilation. For a more enclosed skirting look but similar in cost, we move to fence board skirting.
Fence Board Skirting Costs
For a lower deck less than 2’, fence boards or even wood decking offcuts can be used. Fence boards are a more rigid material then lattice. Similar to lattice, it can also be hung off the rim in a similar fashion. The increased thickness of material providing additional strength as compared to lattice skirting.
Not uncommon with decks four feet high to use fence board skirting to enclose the bottom to double as yard tool storage. Not watertight but for a little extra cost creating a convenient tool storage area. Without filling up the yard with a shed. There are ways to shelter items under a deck from rain, but that’s a different conversation.
Fence board for skirting costs around $2 a square foot for material and labour cost being about the same. Allowing you to securely skirt in your deck for roughly $4 a square foot. A 20’ x 12’ low deck skirting costing as little as $400.
The biggest advantage of fence board skirting is that trim work is not required. Sheet seams should be covered over by batten material. With fence boards, additional battens are not required. Fence boards provide a clean look without additional trim, imitating the appearance of fences around the neighbourhood.
I have often finished out lower decks by simply screwing the wood decking offcuts around the deck, creating skirting at no extra material cost. Additional savings on material cost, as long as you have enough offcuts. The rounded edges and consistency with the decking tie the two together nicely.
Deck skirting higher than two feet will require additional structural framing to provide support to the bottom portions of the fence boards. This additional framing can add around $2 to $3 a linear foot for material and labour. If our 20’ x 12’ deck requires four feet high skirting, doubling material required but also an additional $100 or more, in bracing material plus labour for the same design as a lower deck.
If you like solid deck skirting but not the look of a fence under your deck, plywood skirting may be a good alternative.
Plywood Skirting Costs
Plywood skirting starts at about $4 a square foot for material. Similar to lattice, simply nailing sheets of Green PWF sheets to your deck will be lacking. For aesthetic’s sake, plywood skirting also needs to be dressed up with trim and possibly lattice and paint.
Any deck larger than an 8’ sheet of plywood will have an unsightly butt joint requiring attention. Even the edge of plywood needs something to finish off the corners. The most cost-effective solution is treated 1×4 trim around the edges of the sheet. Not as pronounce in additional cost as vinyl lattice edger but still adding $20 or so forever sheet. This additional material brings an 8’ section of skirting from $70 to close to $100, plus additional labour.
Planning for intentional joints and battens will also add to the material waste cost. Strategically placed battens lined up under railing post will enhance the look of the deck considerably but increasing material cost by about 25% as often posts are spaced 6’ apart. Sheeting will need to be trimmed down to 6’ from 8’. The 2’ off-cut becoming waste, being too small to integrate into the skirting design. This additional cost raises plywood skirting material cost up to around $6 a square foot. Still cheaper than our next skirting option but one of the more expensive skirting options.
Stone Veneer Deck Skirting Costs
The look of a solid foundation under the deck. Imitating the classic look of stone or brick look of foundations from another era. Reducing cost through veneer stones attached to plywood walls under the deck. Stone veneer alone can cost $8 a square foot plus the required substructure supporting the stones. Easily raising stone skirting material costs to $20 or more a square foot.
Stone veneer skirting is for making a statement in appearance. Its cost easily eclipsing the recommended 5% skirting budget compared to the rest of the deck. A 20’x12’ deck with skirting two feet high on three sides will cost around $1900 for the material alone. Very few 240 square foot decks will cost $38 000 in materials. Many composite decking materials will be close to equal in cost, as stone veneer skirting material of $1900. Meaning skirting is in the range of 25%, considerably higher than the common 5% amount. Not for the budget sensitive deck but a classic look.
Non-Material Impacting Skirting Costs
Skirting Labour Considerations
With a lower deck, the amount of material that goes into a skirt is limited. For example, for our common references deck, 20’ x12’ two feet high, only requires three sheets of skirting material either lattice or plywood. Insignificant in the overall deck material budget.
Adding trim material will double that cost, going from $150 to $300, but that’s just part of the story. Attaching the lattice to the rim will take about 2 hours. Adding picture frame trim around each piece of lattice adds 4 cuts per section. Cutting and installing a trim piece takes about 15 minutes each, times that by 28 pieces, we now have added 7 hours of labour cost to the skirting. After paying for tools, insurance and such a carpenter cost roughly $50 an hour. Two hours installing the lattice, add 7 hours for the trim work, labour cost now is $450 to install the lattice with trim.
This simple example gives us a labour multiplier of 1.5 times the material cost. Basic skirting material costing $300, basic installation cost $450, bringing the skirting cost to $750 or $8.50 a square foot.
Simplicity in design or technical installation requirements of skirting material also affects costs. As in all construction the simpler it is, the lower the cost. As we just saw with the additional trim work, additional material will increase skirting costs. The technical installation can require more behind the scenes cost to achieve the desired look.
For example, a plywood picture framed skirting with vinyl lattice in front of the plywood. Simple enough but mixing two different materials. The materials responding differently to the environment requiring a technical application to accommodate the differences. Cutting the vinyl lattice tight to the inset area and nailing it in will cause failure when the vinyl expands, buckles or pops out when the vinyl expands more than the wood plywood.
To blend the two material properly requires rabbets cut into the battens providing small shadow spaces for the vinyl to expand into. Resting the vinyl lattice loosely into the “picture frame,” allowing it to expand and contract as needed. A simple enough solution but adding additional work to rabbets the battens. Mixing two materials now has doubled labour costs.
Another thing affecting skirting labour cost is specialized tools. Different skirting material dictates a different set of tools.
Specialized tools for skirting installation
The more specialized tool, the more it will cost. Tools effects skirting installation in that if different tools are required to finish the skirting then the deck costs will increase. It doesn’t matter if you are the one building the skirting or a contractor. An additional tool must be bought or rented, and it must be paid for.
The best example is stone skirting. Most decks are built using woodworking tools. Stone will need a wet or concrete saw to cut to size. Stone skirting will look amazing, but the specialized tools required for installation will cost you.
Skirting Maintenance Costs
When accessing the cost of skirting one should not only look at the initial costs but also maintenance cost over the lifetime of your deck. Not nearly as sharp in impact as with decking but skirting also will need to be maintained. This maintenance will add to the cost of the skirting. The advantage of skirting is its vertical surface requires less maintenance. For example, a horizontal surface should be stained at least every three years but stain on a vertical surface can last up to five. Meaning you will need to stain your skirting almost half as much as the decking, significantly reducing maintenance costs.
In the spectrum of skirting maintenance, wood will require the most maintenance, with synthetic material like vinyl, composite or stone the least. Most synthetic skirting materials don’t require any upkeep except cleaning. When correctly installed, they are maintenance-free. But they will need to be installed to allow them to adapt to seasonal changes.
Regular staining wood skirting will increase both its appearance and life as the stain will reinvigorate its colour while protecting it from damaging UV rays and moisture. Staining the skirting every second time you stain the wood decking. Requiring an additional litre or so of stain costing an extra $50 or so.
“an ounce of prevention is worth a pound cure.”Benjamin Franklin
A more significant skirting maintenance cost will be, repairs. This will vary depending on the durability of the skirting material, along with support. Unsupported 1/8” pressure treated lattice is most likely to have one of the slats break. Repairing such thin material is difficult often requiring replacement. Replacing a piece of lattice will cost the same or more than the initial skirting. Meaning the skirting has now cost over $6 a square foot with replacement. With wood lattice adding picture frame trim will not only improve its appearance but also help to protect it reducing cost in the long run. Building to last will reduce maintenance costs.
Being mindful of the 5% ratio, that deck skirting should cost around 5% of the entire deck will often guide you with skirting selection. Helping to select skirting not only within budget but often more complimentary with the deck. As the material price and design will reflect the deck’s.
Remember, the focus is on the deck and the fun you will have on it. Select a design and material that will add to your deck without blowing the bank. Skirting that will stay within the budget and allow you to enjoy your deck for years to come.