Replace a Porch ColumnKnowing 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.
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.
New front porch column with trim piece being installedWe 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
Front porch turned columns
Carry the LoadPorch 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 ColumnEnsure 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 NecessaryObviously 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: Replace a Porch Column
In this short slide show, Dave explains how he and Dan replaced Dan's porch column.
This is the real deal; Dan needed to do this to prepare his home for sale.
Materials List to Replace a Porch ColumnHere are a few items you will need to make the job easier.
Steps to Replace a 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.
Detach porch railings (balustrade) and gutter, if applicableSupport 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 ColumnMeasure the distance from the top of the column to the porch floor. Use that measurement to cut (if necessary) the new porch column.
Replace a porch column by measuring and marking new column for cuttingMake 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.
Ventilated porch columnUse our porch column ventilation guide to ensure you vent columns properly.
Step 3 - Raise the RoofMeasure 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.
Using jack to lift beamSlowly 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 - Replace the Porch ColumnAdd trim pieces at top and bottom of the column if applicable for your project.
Add the bottom plate(s) if applicable.
Bottom plates installedSlide 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 porch columnSlowly 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 balustrade on new porch column
Step 6 - Paint/Stain New Porch Column (If Applicable)
In summary: 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?
We hope you found the column information you were seeking about replacing a porch column. Check out the additional articles about porch columns below.
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