Skirting options for your home isn’t a major topic of discussion in popular social circles – I can’t imagine why, can you?? It’s just one of those things you don’t even think about until you need to think about it.
Maybe you are looking to spruce up your crawl space home with some new skirting, or maybe you’ve recently had some foundation repairs completed on your block and base home. Either way, you now are thinking about adding or replacing the skirting around your home and want to know about all the options available to you.
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we have gotten asked this question a lot in the last 35+ years serving the Brazos Valley community. We can for sure give you the rundown on skirting options from a foundation repair contractor and homeowner perspective.
This article will explain the purpose of skirting on crawl space homes and discuss the pros and cons of 9 different options you have to choose from.
Dare I say, let’s not *skirt* around the issue any longer and check out the choices. Sorry, the puns cannot be avoided, it might be a disorder . . .
What Does Skirting Do for My Crawl Space Home?
Skirting around a crawl space type of foundation is not all for show, there are some specific purposes that it serves besides the cosmetic one that makes things *more purdier* lookin’. Skirting helps to:
- Keep critters out from under your house
- Seal off the crawl space for warmth and insulation during the winter months
- Conceal functional home parts like gas, water, and sewer lines and piers
What Options Are There in Home Skirting? Pros and Cons
You do have choices in skirting materials, and you might want to change the kind you have currently or add some to help with the situations above. We have identified 9 different skirting options that we commonly see on crawl space or block and base homes. Let’s look into the types and descriptions as well as the pros and cons of each.
An important factor you want to be sure of when selecting a skirting type is to make sure you will still have a way to get under the home after the skirting is put up. This can be from a planned hatch or removable panel, or you might already have an access point inside the house where people can gain access under the home for any repair purposes.
1. Concrete Skirting
This is where concrete is added after construction by digging a trench around the home and pouring concrete.
A telltale sign that concrete skirting is not structural (and the home is not a pier and beam home) is that the concrete will not be directly underneath the exterior wall. The concrete could come out from under the wall some and be covered by a slanted piece of transition trim.
*Opinion Alert* Sometimes this is done as a makeshift way to attempt to solve drainage issues, but it ends up not working very well or looking very good down the line.
Pros of Concrete Skirting: Looks nice and uniform initially, concrete is long-lasting, can maybe help with drainage issues in theory by keeping water from getting under the home
Cons of Concrete Skirting: Difficult to add on an existing home, more expensive than other options, removes airflow almost entirely, must make sure you have an access point inside the home, it’s usually not well done and doesn’t do what it set out to do
2. Brick Skirting
Brick skirting is very attractive on crawl space homes and is often done at the time of construction. It can be used to create a period look.
A brick-enclosed crawl space can be on a home that is entirely brick but can also appear on a home with another siding type. The brick appears around the crawl space perimeter and maybe a few other accents of the home like on porch columns.
Pros of Brick Skirting: Looks amazing on most homes, gives the home a more solid and finished appearance
Cons of Brick Skirting: Difficult to add on an existing home, more expensive than other options, minimizes airflow, must make sure you have an access point inside the home or a larger space planned with a different removable material for human access to underneath
3. Cinder Block Skirting
Cinder blocks are basic but get the job done for some homes. They can be painted to match the color of your home if desired. We don’t see it too often around these parts but is frequently done in other areas as part of the initial construction.
Pros of Cinder Block Skirting: Can be done DIY style, no-nonsense and practical, can be painted
Cons of Cinder Block Skirting: Difficult to install on existing homes, prevents airflow, not the most beautiful material, if painted would need repainting on occasion, access panel would need to be made of another material
4. Vinyl Skirting
Vinyl skirting appears most often on vinyl-sided homes and just continues down the exterior walls with a special vinyl skirting that matches or coordinates with the home’s siding. Vinyl can also be color-matched to wood siding to blend in with the rest of the home but offers more flexibility.
Pros of Vinyl Skirting: Can look good on some homes, fast and cheap to install, allows for easy access when needed to enter crawl space
Cons of Vinyl Skirting: Vinyl becomes brittle with sun exposure and then can get easily damaged by yard maintenance equipment, minimizes airflow, can bulge easily with foundation settlement/movement, vinyl is not as popular and readily available as it once was
5. Galvanized Metal Skirting
Galvanized metal can be corrugated or flat and appears more often on rural homes and mobile homes. It also helps create that rustic or cottage look for certain styles of country homes.
Pros of Metal Skirting: Lasts a long time since it is treated to prevent rust, charming farmhouse look on some homes, easy to plan for and create an access point
Cons of Metal Skirting: Minimizes airflow, once it’s bent or rusts it might not look as nice
6. Hardie Board Skirting
Hardie Board, also known as fiber cement board is long-lasting and well . . . hardy. It looks like wood but is stronger and less prone to decay. Often used when a home that was originally wood-sided is upgraded to Hardie all over.
This kind of siding should last for a very long time and not need repainting as often as wood. Hardie board must be installed without ground contact, otherwise, it can act like a sponge and absorb a lot of water and then break apart.
Pros of Hardie Board Skirting: Looks great on most homes and can be selected to match the siding, lasts a long time if installed correctly without ground contact
Cons of Hardie Board Skirting: More expensive to install, can get beat up by weedeaters and lawnmowers if not careful, difficult to remove and reinstall
7. Pressure-Treated Pine Skirting
Pine boards are easy to find and buy and can be added to many crawl space home styles. Blends well with homes that already have wood siding. Most often you will see homes where the siding material continues and angles out away from vertical at the bottom of the home.
Pros of Pressure-Treated Pine Skirting: Lasts a long time if installed correctly without ground contact, easy to work with, can maintain decent airflow
Cons of Pressure-Treated Pine Skirting: Requires framing to build out and install, a little on the expensive side, requires paint or stain frequently
8. Lattice Skirting
This cross-hatched skirting is probably what most people think of when they think of skirting. It’s usually either made of wood or plastic material and readily available.
Pros of Lattice Skirting: Super easy to install DIY style, the best option for greatest airflow with skirting to keep your crawl space driest, easy to remove and reinstall as needed
Cons of Lattice Skirting: Doesn’t go with all home styles, can get easily damaged by landscaping, smaller critters can still get through this skirting
9. No Skirting
Hey, there’s no actual rule that says you have to have skirting. Choosing nothing or removing all your skirting is certainly a choice you can make. Some block and base homes have unique and attractive piers made from brick or stone that a homeowner wants to showcase. Just be prepared to lose the main features that skirting serves for your home.
Pros of No Skirting: Super easy to make this choice, no cost for materials, maximum ventilation, easy to access under the home, could work for certain period-style homes
Cons of No Skirting: Critters can get under home easily, can’t hide anything unattractive under the home with skirting, might have to insulate pipes another way if needed, might not look as nice for some home styles
What Is the Best Choice for Block and Base Home Skirting?
Like most choices you make for your home, there is no perfect choice for all homeowners and all homes. Each skirting option has pros and cons and you have to weigh what is most important to you in making a selection.
It’s definitely okay to make this decision purely based on appearance, it is the outside of your home after all and you want it to look a certain way. You just have to make sure that while the skirting around your crawl space home is looking good that it also does these two things as well:
- Ensures enough air ventilation for your home and drainage conditions
- Allows for a planned easy access point for any repairs needed under the home later
You want to seek a balance between the functional aspects of skirting for your crawl space and the aesthetic appeal of your home. The best place to start is by thinking of what the most important thing is to you in this decision. Is it the looks? Cost? Easy to DIY? Best ventilation?
Ventilation and Drainage Are Important Skirting Choice Factors
Speaking of the best ventilation choices, you may have noticed that each skirting option has an impact on airflow. Maintaining a good drainage situation for your home is also part of the bigger picture between your foundation, your skirting choices, and optimal airflow.
If you have your drainage handled properly around your home, you don’t need to be as concerned about a skirting choice’s impact on ventilation.
Since 1985, Anchor Foundation Repair has been helping homeowners in Bryan, College Station, and other surrounding communities like Madisonville and Caldwell to make the best foundation decisions for their homes. We don’t stop at foundations either but extend our good advice to things like skirting and drainage as well.
Check out this article on 6 steps to take in handling poor drainage around your foundation for more insight into this issue.