Front Porch Columns
Where Strength Meets Beauty
Front porch columns and porch posts are commonly made from wood, fiberglass, vinyl, aluminum, stone, or other materials.
In fact, you can use almost any material for porch columns as long as they meet load bearing requirements.
Not only do porch columns serve an important structural role, they also come in various decorative styles for instant curb appeal.
Versatile, you can easily use porch column wraps to change the look of your porch dramatically.
You can make round columns square or rectangular and square columns round!
Discover the world of front porch columns, from standard wood to vinyl porch columns, cast stone, aluminum, and lots more.
Find columns that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also are maintenance free.
Ornate front porch columns
Photo courtesy of Au Petit Chateau
Front Porch Column Directory
Front Porch Column Details
Wood porch columns (like those pictured above) can be purchased with detailed carvings or left smooth to suit your needs and can be painted to match your home's decor, whether that be complementary or contrasting.
Wood front porch columns can be styled classically or customized to fit your special project and be rounded or square depending on your needs.
Wood porch posts are versatile in that you can combine them with stone or brick make a unique look.
Choose only the finest woods, though; such as hemlock, mahogany, poplar, cherry, pine, oak, maple, teak and redwood.
Photo courtesy of Imparting Grace
Woods have differing characteristics so choose a species that best fits your purpose.
For example, if you are painting the columns choose a wood that will take paint well like pine or cedar.
If you tire of your wood columns, you can update your porch posts like John and Sherry of Young House Love did. They turned their posts from round to square.
Turned Wood Columns
Turned wood columns (photo above) come in a variety of sizes and offer you, the homeowner, lots of options.
Victorian-style homes have perhaps the most intricate turned columns.
Versatile, they provide many opportunities for various painting schemes to enhance your home's curb appeal.
But, you don't have to have a Victorian to appreciate the appeal of turned columns as evidenced by the columns in the photo below.
Columns don't have to sit directly on your porch decking. You can create lots of different looks by changing the base, or pedestal.
Pedestals can be brick, stone, or other material.
Wooden porch columns resting on stone pedestals make for a very interesting combination (photo below).
Important note about venting wood front porch columns:
If you use hollow wooden columns, be sure to vent them at both the top and bottom to prevent moisture buildup and wood-rot.
To keep insects away cover any openings with screening material. Venting size is also important.
A few little holes will not do it.
Measure your column's diameter, divide that number by 2.
That's the number of square inches of ventilation you need at the both the top and bottom of the wood column.
For example: if your column diameter is 15 inches you will need at least 7.5 inches of ventilation at both ends (15/2=7.5)
Treated Porch Columns
Almost everyone knows to use pressure treated wood for outdoor construction (especially porch columns) unless they
are opting to use an exotic wood, redwood, etc. Treated wood resists rot and insects;
however, it can easily warp, shrink, cup, and even crack.
The process by which they create pressure treated lumber causes internal stress on the wood as it dries.
Now you have an option!
Use YellaWood® KDAT Pressure Treated (Kiln Dried After Treatment) Southern Yellow Pine
YellaWood® A high quality, stable board that's much less likely to have problems because it is kiln dried after having a micronized
copper treatment which gives you a lifetime limited warranty.
This process allows you to install, paint, and stain or seal without waiting.
Learn more about this amazing product from the good
folks at Vintage Woodworks.
Fiberglass front porch columns have become popular for both contractors and architects because of their attractiveness and impact-resistance.
Similar to wood, fiberglass columns can be round or square and be smooth or ridged (photo at right courtesy of Superior Aluminum Products)
They can also replicate classic column styles (see below) and can also be used for load-bearing in specific cases.
Benefits of Fiberglass Columns
- The ability to shape and paint to your taste
- Weather, moisture, and insect resistant
- Impact resistance is better than wood
- Can support up to in some cases approximately 30,000 pounds
- Requires very little maintenance
Did You Know?
Glass threads are spun into thin strands and woven into a strong durable material - fiberglass.
Columns are then made of a compound of combined fiberglass and plastic, and are then heated and molded into shape.
Plastic makes the column structure and the fiberglass adds the strength and durability.
Today's fiberglass can withstand heat, sunlight, rust, insects, and rot.
Vinyl Porch Columns
Probably one of the most popular, vinyl porch columns require almost no maintenance and will look great for many years.
Vinyl columns can be used in both structural and non-structural applications depending their specific load bearing capabilities.
Versatile, most column wraps are made from vinyl and allow you to change the appearance of your porch with very little effort.
See our entire vinyl column section.
Craftsman-style Cellular PVC Columns
Front porch column wraps can convert ordinary posts and columns into a stylish column quickly and easily.
They are usually made from maintenance-free PVC (fiberglass) and available in a variety of styles that fit around your existing columns.
Column wraps come in kit form and usually include caps, bases, and blocks, etc.
Column wraps are available at most home improvement stores.
- Can dramatically change the look of your porch easily and is relatively inexpensive. (It's
an easy and quick way to create curb appeal).
- Come in a variety of colors, textures, hues, and also faux stone and wood
- Installation varies. Fiberglass wraps have to be fitted around the column and caulked.
Wood slat columns are installed in top and base components.
- Can be painted, stenciled, or textured
- Wrought-iron column wraps are available also. Styles include flowers, scrolls, and other artwork
- Column wraps can be temporary fixtures.
People use them to decorate for weddings, photography, and other events.
Aluminum front porch columns, like ones pictured here from Superior Aluminum Products, are very elegant and normally a lower cost alternative.
They are available in various styles (round, fluted, square, etc.) and can be pre-painted.
Versatile, you can use them in both load-bearing and non load-bearing applications.
Lightweight, they can be carried by an individual and installed easily.
Pre-cast Stone Columns
Pre-cast stone front porch columns replace the traditional classic natural stone today.
Using new technology, manufacturers can create the classical beauty of ancient Roman columns without the drawbacks of using natural stone.
See our section Columns made from Cast Stone for ideas and cast stone photos.
- Pre-cast stones are less expensive than natural stone.
Natural stone must be chiseled from a large stone slab which is labor intensive.
- You won't have to worry about hidden cracks or crevices with pre-cast stones
- You have design options like weathering or color schemes
- Pre-cast stone manufacturing allows for one-piece shafts, halves, or even sections to surround steel supports
The most elegant of columns, stone columns not only give your porch a natural look but they also add immense curb appeal.
Stones must be cut from large slabs which substantially increase the overall costs; however, the final look is a work of art.
See our Stone Columns Construction Pictorial and Considerations Guide
for more information.
Front porch brick columns, like stone columns, are another great option.
The same characteristics and factors apply to brick as they do for stone so I won't repeat them here.
However, brick is less expensive than stone and not as expensive to build.
Photo at right courtesy of fl architect fan
Wrought iron columns don't have to be boring.
Because of their availability, wrought iron is very popular.
It comes in all types of designs, from simple to elegant.
Almost all wrought iron is custom made which makes it more expensive than other front porch column materials.
However, it lasts forever and can be made into very intricate designs.
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