Introduction

Porch lattice »
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 TuffBilt 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.

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    Tools List

    • 16-foot tape measure
      Tape measure
    • hammer
      Hammer
    • drill
      Drill/driver
    • flat prybar
      Pry bar, used to remove old wood lattice, and to install new lattice panels
    • circular saw
      Circular saw or sabre saw, used to cut lumber and lattice panels
    • hand hoe
      Rake or garden hoe, used to level soil directly under lattice panels

    Shopping List

    1. VINYL LATTICE

    2. PRESSURE-TREATED 1x6s

    for making the perimeter frames of lattice panels



    3. PRESSURE-TREATED 1x4s

    for making the perimeter frames of lattice panels



    4. 6-INCH METAL MENDING PLATE

    for reinforcing the frames’ corner joints



    5. 3½-INCH METAL CORNER BRACE

    for reinforcing the frames’ corner joints



    6. 4-INCH METAL T-PLATE

    for attaching the center stiles to the frames



    7. ½-INCH FLATHEAD SCREWS

    used to attach the metal fastening hardware



    8. EXTERIOR-GRADE PRIMER AND PAINT

    for finishing the lattice frames



    9. 1-INCH PANHEAD SCREWS AND WASHERS

    used to attach the lattice to the frames



    10. 3- OR 4-INCH STRAP HINGES OR T-HINGES

    for fastening the lattice panels to the porch