Return to homepage

Replace a Porch Column

Knowing how to replace a porch column is easier than you might think. Often times it is more prudent, if not easier, to replace a porch column than it is to fix it.

If you have basic carpentry skills removing a decaying porch column can not only save you money but also make your porch safer.

You must, however, understand what is involved and the precautions you need to take before you begin.

We also cannot stress enough the importance of taking safety precautions and to not undertake such a project if you do not possess the necessary skills. Contacting a reputable contractor is always an option.

installing new porch column on front porch
New Front Porch Column with Trim Piece Being Installed

We will describe what is involved in replacing a typical wood porch column. The process is basically the same no matter what type of porch column you choose.

What You Need to Know Before You Begin

turned columns on front porch
Front Porch Turned Columns

Carry the Load

Porch columns are rated to support specific weights, i.e., your roof. When selecting a porch column ensure that it can carry the weight of your roof.

It's a good bet that if you are using the identical columns to those already on your porch, your replacement column should be satisfactory. If, however, you are changing the columns you may need to consult with a contractor or architect to ensure your columns you choose meet your structural requirements.

Select the Right Column

Ensure the type of column, whether it be wood, vinyl, steel, wrought iron, etc., is suitable for your porch. For example, vinyl porch columns can either be structural or non-structural.

Ventilate If Necessary

Obviously you do not need to ventilate structural vinyl porch columns. However, if using hollow wood columns (which are fairly typical porch columns), you need to ensure air flows throughout the column. Otherwise, they will rot from the inside fairly quickly.

Video: Replacing a Porch Column

In this short video / slide show, Dave explains how he and Dan replaced Dan's porch column

Materials List

Here are a few items you will need to make the job easier.
  • Hack Saw or Reciprocating Saw (with metal blade): You will need to cut through the nails or screws which are holding the porch railing to the column if applicable.

  • 4x4 Post: Use a 4x4 post cut to length to hold the porch roof in order to both remove the old column and install the new one.

  • Jack: Use the jack to raise and lower the 4x4 and porch roof. Make sure your jack is rated sufficiently to support the roof.

  • Circular Saw: Use to cut the new column to length.

  • Tape Measure: Self-explanatory

  • Top and / or Bottom Trim Pieces (Optional): Used for aesthetic purposes.

  • Bottom Plate (Optional): Protects the bottom of the column from rot.

  • Square and Level: Self-explanatory

  • Pencil: Self-explanatory

  • Screw/Nails: For securing the column and for reinstalling the railings

  • Wood Blocks (Optional): Use some pieces of 2x4s to place under porch balustrades if applicable.

  • Ladder (unless you are really tall): Self-explanatory.

Remove the Old Porch Column

Step 1 - Detach the Balustrade (If Applicable)

Separate the porch balustrade (railings) from the porch column. To do so, use a hack saw or reciprocating saw to cut the screws or nails holding the balustrade to column. Take care not to damage the top and bottom rails.

detaching railings from porch column
Detach Porch Railings (Balustrade) and Gutter (If Applicable)

Support the "hanging end" of the balustrade by placing wood blocks underneath. In our case, we had to separate two separate balustrades as we were replacing a corner column.

Now is also the time to detach gutters, etc., from the porch column if applicable.

Step 2 - Prepare the New Column

Measure the distance from the top of the column to the porch floor. Use that measurement to cut (if necessary) the new porch column.

marking new porch column for cutting
Measuring and Marking New Column for Cutting

Make sure you mimic your existing porch columns in design. You may have to cut from both ends to match the design of the other porch columns.

In our case, we also had to allow for both a bottom column plate and wood plate, so be sure to mimic your existing column.

Now is the time to ensure your porch column is ventilated properly. We drilled holes in both the top and bottom of the column.

porch column with ventilation hole
Ventilated Porch Column

Use our porch column ventilation guide to ensure you vent columns properly.

Step 3 - Raise the Roof

Measure the distance between the floor and the top of your jack. Add 1 inch for clearance purposes.

Subtract that measurement from the column height measurement you took in Step 1.

Use this new measurement and cut the 4x4 post to length.

Remove any screws/nails that may be securing the porch column either to the roof beam or to the floor.

Position the jack next to the column you are removing. Place the 4x4 on the jack.

positioning jack and 4x4 to raise porch beam
Using Jack to Lift Beam

Slowly raise the jack until the column is free from the roof (or beam). You may hear a little cracking sound which is normal. Do not raise the roof any further than necessary to remove the porch column.

Slide the column out from underneath the roof.

Step 4 - Install the New Porch Column

Add trim pieces at top and bottom of the column if applicable for your project.

Add the bottom plate(s) if applicable.

bottom plates installed on porch column
Bottom Plates Installed

Slide the new column into place and use the level to ensure it is straight. Also make sure it is aligned properly in comparison to other columns on your porch.

leveling new front porch column
Leveling New Porch Column

Slowly lower the 4x4 post using the jack and secure with screws or nails.

Step 5 - Attach the Balustrade (If Applicable)

Use the level to assist in attaching the balustrade to the new porch column.

installing porch balustrade on front porch
Installing Balustrade on New Porch Column

Step 6 - Paint/Stain New Porch Column (If Applicable)

Replacing a porch column is a fairly straight-forward process and although it may be a little different for other types of columns, the process is basically the same.

Did You Find What You Needed?

porch columns collage

We hope you found the column information you were seeking. We have informative links for you to follow below.


Our site is a labor of love. We appreciate your comments very much.

~~~ Signup for free porch tips in your in box. ~~~

Helpful Links

Popular Pages

Please Join Us Here Also

Join us on Facebook for porch talk Join us on Pinterest Subscribe to get our updates. Thank you!

Our Sponsors

The Porch Store
Porch Store
Custom Porch Products

Shop for Porch Parts at Vintage Woodworks.
Vintage Woodworks
For Your Porch Parts

Screened porch windows at
DIY Eze Breeze
Screen Porch Windows

Aluminum screen doors from PCA Products
PCA Products
Complement Any Home!

End sponsor section

Copyright© 2009-2016
All rights reserved.

Content and photos may not be reproduced
in any way without our written permission.

small rocking chair

Our Sponsors

Shop for Porch Parts at Vintage Woodworks.
Vintage Woodworks
For Your Porch Parts

Screened porch windows at
DIY Eze Breeze
Screen Porch Windows

The Porch Store
Porch Store
Custom Porch Products

Aluminum screen doors from PCA Products
PCA Products
Complement Any Home!

End sponsor section

The Front Porch Ideas Generator
Front Porch Ideas Generator

Before you spend a penny
on your porch design

Want to receive our periodic online newsletter,
Front Porch Appeal?
Learn more.

Your Name

Your Email

We respect your privacy.

You'll also receive
our free eBook.
Get our online newsletter Front Porch Appeal and our awesome curb appeal eBook as a free bonus
Enjoy our back issues.

We may earn a commission by referring you to some products on our site. See our disclosure policy. Thank you.

Front Porch Designs Home | Return to Top
Contact Us | Advertise with Us | Search | Site Map | What's New
Media | Privacy Policy | Disclosure | Legal Notice | Resources

XML RSS   Add to My Yahoo!   Add to My MSN   Subscribe with Bloglines
By and Dave Morris, Copyright© 2009-2016 All rights reserved.
Content and photos may not be reproduced in any way without our permission.
Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape