Outdoor living is at its best during the summer months. If you’re thinking of having a deck installed or restored, you want to make sure it stays in good repair. It will get a lot of foot traffic, of course, but what if the visitors are less welcome? Underneath a deck is a prime place for critters to make their home (whether you want them there or not!).
Above the wood deck, other animals may be drawn to food smells and scraps. In rural or forested areas, a plan for addressing wildlife is essential for maintaining your deck. There are a few ways to ensure that unwelcome rodents, critters, and creatures leave your deck (and you) in peace.
At Dupont Decks, we can customize our clients’ decks to make sure they function well for the whole family. Plus, we are happy to take measures during the build to ensure uninvited animals don’t get too cozy underneath. Call us today to tell us about your dream deck for a free estimate!
Deck Skirting as a First Defense
Rodents like rats and mice will gladly make their home in a crawl space filled with leaves and debris. Likewise, skunks are naturally drawn to burrow in dark areas. An unbarricaded deck will look like a welcome home to these smelly friends.
Everybody knows that raccoons just like to get into trouble, which is exactly what they’ll do when given a chance. Opossums are a unique American marsupial, but their uniqueness doesn’t give them a free pass to nest. Snakes also will take up residence in dark, undisturbed areas, which makes under your deck a prime spot.
As you can see, there are a host of potentially pesky animals. They’re just waiting for that deck to go up and for them to make their home!
So what is the solution to preventing these creatures from digging in? We recommend deck barriers as the best defense because it blocks the underside from being accessed. There are a few different varieties that you can use to match the style of your deck as well. Here are some great deck skirting ideas to get you started.
Wood lattice skirting is the most popular style of blocking the underside of a deck. However, it does have open spaces. Covering the backside with hardware cloth or mesh is an option if you are very concerned about critters getting through. This style is attractive and lends a cozy, friendly feel to your deck.
Solid Wood or Composite Slats
Another skirting material to consider is wood slats. You can also make a beautiful effect by choosing wooden or composite boards to create the skirting. Utilizing skirt boards gives style and has a modern look, appealing to homes that have less historically traditional architecture.
Lay the boards vertically to make the deck appear higher, or place them horizontally to create a rustic, classic appeal. Additionally, composite deck skirting boards are easy to clean.
Deck Fascia to the Ground
When considering deck design, you could also use deck fascia to fill the gap. Deck fascia is a trim that covers joints on your deck. It is usually installed between the edge of your deck floor and the skirting below. Instead, the fascia could go all the way to the ground to create a barricade from creatures.
This is an attractive option that can match well with the rest of your wooden deck.
How to Take Your Deck Skirting One Step Further
Animal-proof deck skirting alone is going to do wonders for preventing critters from getting under your deck and invading your outdoor space. And did we mention pets, too? If you have a dog or cat that likes to prowl, any of these skirting options will work wonders.
You might consider an additional step if you are in an area where burrowing animals are common. You can request that your deck installation team place wire fencing underground at the edge of your deck. This will create an underground physical barrier to stop pests from getting under your deck.
This fencing is made of galvanized metal fencing or a mesh screen 8-12 inches under the deck skirting. The metal fencing should be shaped in an “L,” with the short edge pointing down and away from the deck.
Then the wire fencing is covered with dirt and not visible, but digging pests will not get past it. This is also called deck trenching and is a humane, long-term solution for keeping animals out from under your deck.
Wait, Did You Say Snakes?
In some areas, nesting snakes can be a concern. While the snakes in Minnesota may not be poisonous, you may still prefer them to stay far away from your yard. For example, placing gravel under the deck space will deter them from nesting. Likewise, removing any large piles of rocks under or near your deck will prevent them from finding a new home.
What About Above the Deck?
Wondering how to keep squirrels off deck railings? You can do several things to keep pests from exploring the top of your deck as well. Squirrels are going to be one of the main concerns because they are curious scavengers.
While they may look cute, their droppings are certainly not great to deal with. They can also pass harmful bacteria to your children or pets.
Here are some ways to keep squirrels away from your deck:
- Invest in an owl statue (also scares away birds)
- Secure trash can well or move to a different area
- Remove or relocate bird feeders
- Deter them with a squirrel feeder in another part of your yard
- Try applying deer repellent to the underside of deck furniture
- Use a pest control ultrasound device (could be used under the deck as well)
Choose a Deck Contractor that Puts Your First
Ensure that your deck space is clear from animals. Creating long-term solutions from the get-go is the best approach to ensuring the longevity of your deck. By taking some thoughtful steps when choosing deck skirting, the animal removal company won’t be knocking at your door!
When you are ready to install a deck, you can count on us to create a beautiful deck that is a unique focal point to your property. Dupont Decks has over two decades of experience with deck construction and remodeling.
We are proud to offer superior service and make sure that your deck meets your family’s needs. Contact us today to get a free estimate and start bringing your deck dreams to life.