Building and Construction, Operations, V9I4

Q&A: Shed Skirting

(Photo courtesy of Himsl Building)

Shed skirting is designed to provide a stylish and practical solution for outdoor storage spaces. It is an easy-to-install product that adds a finished look to any shed, preventing unsightly gaps, and providing a barrier against pests and rodents. 

But the benefits of shed skirting don’t stop there.

One of the key advantages of shed skirting is that it helps to regulate temperature and can improve the energy efficiency of your shed. 

By preventing drafts and keeping out cold air, shed skirting can help to keep your shed warm in the winter and cool in the summer. This can not only make your shed more comfortable to work in, but it can also help to reduce your energy costs. 

Here at Shed Builder Magazine, one of the most common questions is, “Should a shed have a skirting or not?” 

We spoke with Luis Santamaria, head of shed sales for Ulrich Lifestyle Structures, with locations in California, Texas, and Virginia, and Rick Himsl, owner of Himsl Building in Northwest Arkansas, to get the lowdown on what it means to have shed skirting.

How often do your customers request skirting for their sheds?

SANTAMARIA: Shed skirting has been a big hit in the central states since 2019-20. Around 10-15 percent of our customers ask for it when ordering sheds, and that demand only seems to be increasing. 

Only a few of our customers require skirting or show any worry about the gap between the ground and the bottom of their structure.

HIMSL: Maybe one in 20 sheds. I don’t promote, but if they ask, I will give them a quote. Skirting a shed is not as easy as building it.

What are some of the most common reasons customers get skirting?

SANTAMARIA: Homeowners don’t usually appreciate the sight of concrete blocks used to level a building, yet these tools are often essential for skirting installation. 

Uneven ground can complicate this process, but the results are worth it. Some homeowners installed skirting to make their sheds appear more like a permanent residence and match their house’s aesthetic.

Shed skirting is the go-to option of our customers for many reasons—preventing rodents, snakes, and pets from accessing underneath, meeting HOA requirements, adding visual appeal and professional finish, and providing more customization than lattice skirting.

HIMSL: Most common is to address the possibility of animals, such as skunks, building a home under there. Second most common is for aesthetic reasons.

What types of skirting do you often use? What other types of shed skirting are there?

SANTAMARIA: Ulrich utilizes fiber cement and Hardie boards in the installations. Customers can choose from various materials, including wood-based panels, plastic/synthetic materials, cement, concrete blocks, or stone (not installed by Ulrich).

Ulrich’s customers most commonly use Hardie Board and T1-11 for shed skirting. Both materials offer durability, weather resistance, and ease of installation. They can also be painted to match the existing color scheme of your shed, making them an ideal choice for those looking to add a touch of style to their outdoor space.

There are many types of shed skirting, each with its perks and characteristics. Let me tell you about some of the most popular ones.

First, we have wood. It’s a classic choice because it looks great and lasts long. Cedar, redwood, and pressure-treated pine are all commonly used for skirting. Plus, you can paint or stain it to match your shed and outdoor decor. 

If you want something low-maintenance and affordable, vinyl is a great option. It comes in lots of different colors and styles, including ones that look like wood or stone. Installing it is a breeze, and cleaning it requires a hose or pressure washer. 

Metal is another durable choice that protects against moisture and pests. You can find it in steel or aluminum and customize it to match your shed. Plus, it’s easy to paint or coat.

Stone is the way to go if you’re going for a natural, rustic look. River rock, fieldstone, and flagstone are all popular options. It’s super durable and can handle any weather. 

Finally, concrete is a strong, long-lasting option that protects against moisture and pests. To match your shed, you can customize it with different finishes, like stamped and stained.

HIMSL: I use plastic privacy lattice. It has smaller openings to keep animals out, and I think it looks better than the regular lattice. 

Plastic, because it doesn’t fall apart when cut into the small strips necessary for skirting in most applications. Wood lattice will tend to fall apart. 

I have used galvanized half-inch welded wire, but the quality is declining on that. 

Some type of solid panel, such as low rib painted metal would also work, but it is harder to cut on-site. Perforated aluminum soffit might also work. 

Here in the South, termites are a problem if a shed is skirted with solid material. Moisture can build up and make it easy for them to build their runs past the treated floor structure.

What are the pros and cons of offering skirting to customers?

SANTAMARIA: The good news is that we’ve got something pretty cool to offer our customers. If you’ve got a gap under your shed that needs closing, we can sort it out for you. 

Not only does it give a slick, custom look, but it also solves the problem of unlevel ground. Plus, you won’t need to worry about any pesky critters getting underneath. 

The downside is that it’s a pain to do on-site, which means we’ll need more materials in stock at the factory. Depending on our team’s workload, getting your order to you might take a bit longer, but we’ll do our best to keep things moving quickly.

HIMSL: For me, it is a lot of kneeling on the ground for a small financial return. 

The pro would be good customer relations. If a customer asks for something extra, I usually try to do it.

What is the installation process for skirting?

SANTAMARIA: So, you want to put some skirting on your shed? Cool, let me break it down for you. First, measure your shed’s perimeter to determine how much skirting material you need. Then, clear the area around the shed of any junk or obstacles. 

Attach a bottom track to the shed’s foundation with screws or adhesive if you’re using wood or vinyl skirting. This helps keep the skirting panels in place. 

Once the track is in place, slide the panels or attach them to the foundation using screws or adhesive. Please make sure they’re level and flush with the ground. 

Attach the panels to the foundation with screws or adhesive for metal skirting. Metal panels might need extra support, like a frame or brackets, so keep that in mind. 

If you’re going for a stone or concrete look, you’ll need to level the ground and add a layer of gravel first. Then, stack the skirting panels and secure them with mortar or adhesive. 

Once the skirting is in place, add some finishing touches, like trim or paint, to make it look nice. Just follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific type of skirting. 

HIMSL: When I skirt one, I use a shovel to create a slot in the ground for the lattice to go into. That will keep it straight and mostly prevent undermining by animals. It is labor-intensive. 

The top of the skirt is hand-nailed to the rim joist with stainless painted nails. I make inside and outside corners out of treated lumber, painted to match.

How much of a business benefit is adding skirting? 

SANTAMARIA: For one thing, it can make your sheds look nicer and more professional. Plus, it can protect them from moisture, pests, and debris, which means you won’t have to worry about repairing or replacing them as often. 

Skirting can even help with insulation and energy efficiency, which is great if you’re storing temperature-sensitive items or using the shed as a workspace. And if you’re worried about privacy and security, skirting can also help. 

Best of all, you can customize the skirting with your company’s logo or branding, which can be a great marketing tool. So why not give it a try?

HIMSL: Of course, if you could make it pay, it would be good. As I said before, I don’t promote it.

If you were speaking with another builder, what advice would you give them about adding shed skirting into their businesses?

SANTAMARIA: Adding a shed skirting to your building might take a bit more time to complete, but trust me, it’ll give you a great final product custom-made to suit your needs. 

Plus, it’ll tidy up the overall look and eliminate any concerns you had about the gap under your structure.

HIMSL: If you are a site-builder as I am, it would be something you could add to your service package, but for delivered sheds, you would have to find a way to do it after setup. All the work is done on-site. 

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