A home built on screw piles can often be built directly on the piles to ensure a high and dry foundation that won’t move. But how do you effectively construct the skirting for the home?
Generally, the skirting is framed in with standard lumber, sheeted with plywood and may or may not include insulation in the cavities. Ideally you have a sealed skirting that is down to or below grade that will cut out the wind and keep your crawl space warmer as well as ensure critters don’t move in. The most common issue is that the skirting framed up much like a pony wall and they are very rigid and therefore, unless protected with void form / crush block under the wall or constructed with slip-joints, frost heaving soil can cause major buckling or worse, push up the house.
When buckling of the skirting occurs you might have repairs that are manageable. When the skirting heaves the house it can cause a great deal of stress to the structure, cause sticking or jammed windows and doors, cracking in walls and possibly even pull up your piles or weaken or break the connections between the support beams and piles. The damages you might experience from a heaving home will be more significant and could include window or door replacement, wall repairs, tile replacement, etc. You will have to also complete alterations to the skirting wall to either add void form under the skirting wall or to add in slip joints so that future frost heaving won’t impact the house.
The solution is to either build your skirting wall with void form underneath or slip-joints or to consider a maintenance-free insulated but non-structural skirting kit with built in expansion gap. The bottom rail can be secured easily to a pressure treated 2″x4″ under which void form could be added below grade to further protect the skirting wall from damages due to extreme frost heaving. Although impacts of frost heave are unlikely with this skirting system, if the heaving exceeded the systems allowances, the panels are rigid but not enough to be considered structural or to lift the weight of a home. Frost heave damages would therefore be limited to buckling of the skirt and skirting repairs which are quite manageable.
VersaPile, Inc.’s skirting system installs in a day or two if the crew is inexperienced but can typically be completed in a matter of hours by a crew who has the right tools and experience. The installation process and tools required are quite basic making our skirting system suitable for Do-It-Yourself / DIY customers.
Our vinyl skirting system has been carefully chosen based on our experience working in cottage country, mobile home parks, rural Manitoba and NW Ontario as well as Indigenous communities. The system is ideal paired with helical screw pile foundations but could also be utilized effectively with steel driven piles, concrete friction piles, belled piles or even post and pad foundations. Both side and under mount skirting systems are available.
Remote Indigenous communities are perhaps better positioned to benefit from our skirting system since the materials are all very lightweight and easy to ship and they can be stored outside of a controlled environment for long periods of time without risk of spoiling. The skirting system comprises of panels constructed using Styrofoam insulation and embossed vinyl and they are not subject to molding or wicking of moisture. It’s also much more aesthetically pleasing than plywood which is often left unpainted or maintained.
For a fast, free and no-obligation estimate and installation guide for VersaPile Skirting, please contact on our website using the contact form or call us toll-free at 1.855.474.5464. We are located in Manitoba but can service all areas of Canada.