Farmers Porch “Skirt”

By Todd Fratzel on Decks & Porches, Siding & Trim

farmers porch lattice skirt

Farmers Porch Lattice Skirt

I’ve been trying to decide what style “skirt” to put under our new farmers porch and finally it came down to cost. I was thinking about using an older style where you put vertical boards with a small gap between them. However, the materials were going to be about triple what I’m spending on this so that made the decision pretty easy. One of the biggest reasons to close off this space is to keep skunks and other animals out. You want to make sure you leave air spaces so there is good circulation under the porch to prevent rot.

Today I started building the “skirt” below our large farmers porch. I’m building the entire thing out of PVC trim and PVC lattice. Each panel is made out of 1×6 KLEER PVC trim for the frame and 1/4″ thick PVC privacy lattice that I bought at HD.

building porch lattice skirtEach piece of the frame has a 1″ wide by 5/16″ deep rabbit on the back side to receive the lattice. One of the big problems with vinyl lattice is the amount of thermal expansion and contraction. If you just nail the stuff in place it WILL buckle. I’ve nailed the frames in place but the lattice just floats inside the rabbits.

porch lattice detailHere you can see the lattice held in place by the rabbit in the trim piece. I’m also using PVC cement for the miter joints and scarf joints. I’ve found that this stuff really wants to move under temperature changes and once you glue the joint it will never come apart. I’m using stainless steel siding nails to attach the trim boards. Once I get the entire porch done I’ll post some more photos.

You can also learn more about how to build a porch online or in some of the following books.

Books I Used For Reference
Building Porches and Decks (For Pros by Pros)
Porch & Sunroom Planner
Dream Porches and Sunrooms: Designing the Perfect Retreat

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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  1. LisaBe says:

    interesting–we hope to replace our porches with a single wrap-around porch one of these years, and this os one of the main reasons. we have concrete-block porches now, which not only are ugly, but also allow rodents in (they can get in through a crack or hole the size of a dime, apparently). living in a city that has cut rodent control from its budget, it’s a problem. so i’ve been trying to figure out what to put in that will allow us access to the house, should it require repair in the future (it does, currently, in that area behind the porch). lattice panels like this have been my presumed winner. i guess there’s nothing that will keep rodents out, so at least this is easy to slip out should we need access below. thanks for the clear instructions! (and letting me think that through “out loud”!)

  2. Rick Wedding says:

    It looks like the column on the porch has an adjustable base. Can you tell me what brand of column that is.

  3. Todd says:

    All of the railings and posts are from Certainteed. Check out today’s post, I put a link to the site.

  4. Anonymous says:

    How does the price of the PVC board compare to regular pine boards? I’m planning to do a similar skirt design, but haven’t been able to find prices on PVC trim anywhere…

  5. Todd says:

    PVC is anywhere from 40% to 60% more. However, if you take into account priming the pine end cuts, painting, etc. then the pricing is much closer and it will NEVER rot!

  6. mattd says:

    just a little tip to help keep your porch skunk free you need a barrier under the ground in an L shape with the L facing out skunks will dig under your lattice work when installed without an under ground barrier

  7. Julie Shoulders says:

    I have a concrete porch with a brick foundation. I would like to change the look. I have been thinking of painting the brick black and covering them with lattice panels and installing Trex or similar type boards on the concrete floor. My question, can the boards be glued to the existing concrete floor?

    • Todd Fratzel says:

      Not in my opinion…however, you can attach “sleeper” boards to the concrete, then install the Trex on top of that. Just be sure you account for the new decking height with the stairs.

  8. Jessica says:

    I am interested in adding lattice to our deck, and living in the Pacific Northwest, the pvc board seems like a wonderful idea. Did the boards come with the “rabbit” or did you have to cut it?

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