How to Install Porch Lattice
Dress up your front porch with hinged panels of plastic skirting
If your porch isn't well maintained, the whole house looks shabby. Here you'll learn how to handle one of the most common of all porch repairs: building a new lattice skirt. This enclosure conceals the framing while it also allows air to circulate under the porch floor, which keeps the framing dry and free of rot.
A skirt typically consists of a lattice panel set into a wood frame. In older homes, it's often built of untreated pine or fir, neither of which is very resistant to decay and bugs. In time, the parts closest to the ground begin to rot and the decay spreads to the lattice. In regions that receive a lot of precipitation, wood rot can begin to appear in less than two years.
Occasionally a skirt doesn't have a framework and simply consists of a lattice screen attached directly to cleats nailed to the understructure framing. (The porch we worked on had this type of skirt.) While a frameless skirt is easy to install, it's also susceptible to warping and damage because the lattice has very little support. Here we built a durable new skirt using pressure-treated lumber and plastic lattice. We also opted for an unconventional installation method. Rather than permanently attach the frames, we hung them on hinges so the homeowners could use the space below the porch for storage. The swing-up frames also make it easy to crawl underneath the porch to repair the framing if needed. The techniques used here can also be adapted for replacing lattice on a deck, fence, gate, privacy screen, or trellis.
Prep for installation
Start by removing the old lattice from the porch with a flat pry bar. Be careful that you don't damage the porch fascia or support columns. Measure the openings between the columns or posts. The completed frames must be a ½-inch narrower than the overall width and 1 inch shorter than the height.