House skirting is needed along the bottom of homes, particularly mobile homes, in which the underside of the home is exposed to rain, cold air and even animals. Skirting might also be used to cover the bottom of a deck, hiding the exposed earth underneath and restricting animal access. Houses with skirting are not only protected against the elements, covering wheels with skirting also helps to give mobile homes a more permanent appearance.
Vinyl skirting is an affordable option. It is available in a wide variety of colors and also comes with faux finish options, such as stone and wood grain. It is easy to install and most homeowners can do the work with a few basic tools, including a power drill, level, hammer and caulking gun. A track is installed on the top and bottom of the opening and vinyl panels slide into place; the panels can be cut to fit with a pair of shears designed to cut vinyl. Maintenance of vinyl skirting is a breeze; broken panels are easy to replace and the vinyl can be cleaned with a power washer.
Metal was once the most common skirting option, and it is still widely used. Formerly, the only metal options were dull-colored galvanized, but metal skirting is now made to resemble stone for a more natural look. Galvanized metal is durable, can be purchased in a variety of colors to match the home, or it can be painted. Metal panels can be installed in a track system, or the panels can be screwed directly to a wood anchor on the side of the home.
Fascia boards are not as widely used as plastic and metal skirting. The boards can be wood or a composite material. Wood fascia boards can be stained or painted to match the home, while composite boards are available in a wide range of colors. A top and bottom rail must be installed to serve as a frame and the fascia boards can be screwed or nailed onto the rails. Alternatively, fence pickets can be used for skirting. The space between either board type should be sealed with caulk to provide maximum cold air protection.
Plywood is perhaps the most budget-friendly skirting option, but works well to provide cold air protection. There are a variety of plywood styles available, so the homeowner isn't restricted to compressed wood chip finish typical of oriented strand board (OSB). T-111 MDF is commonly used as siding and is manufactured to look like boards and battens. The wood can be stained or painted, although they must receive a generous application of primer, first. The boards can be cut to fit with a circular saw and nailed to a wooden frame along the bottom of the home.
A former cake decorator and competitive horticulturist, Amelia Allonsy is most at home in the kitchen or with her hands in the dirt. She received her Bachelor's degree from West Virginia University. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and on other websites.