Columns Accent Your Home

When we think of classic architecture, we often visualize a structure with columns. The Parthenon, White House, Monticello, and other classic structures from history have bold columns holding up the roof over a porch. They have a practical purpose, supporting the roofline, but they also convey a visual sense of strength or sturdiness combined with a bit of elegance.

Today, interior features often take precedent (granite countertops for example), so many homes are built with a square post for their porch columns. Trimmed out at the top and bottom for a bit of accent, they meet the structural requirement to hold up the roofline, but the sense of elegance is lost.

Wooden posts also rot, especially at the bottom where the post and base meet the porch floor, often just a cement slab. While I often discuss the importance of caulk and a good coat of paint to protect the wooden exterior of your home, little can protect wood sitting directly on a wet surface.

When you need to replace those posts due to rot, or if you are looking for an accent to dress up your porch, know that other options exist. The simplest ‘fix’ is often a replacement in kind. One square post for another. A step up from this is a turned post, where they put a 4”x4” or 6”x6” post on a lathe and carve while it spins. It is square at the top and bottom, but round with design elements in between. When all the posts match, this is a nice step up. Given this is wood, you have added an accent but not solved for the potential of rot and a future replacement project.

Fiberglass, PVC, and other materials are available to either replace your post or to wrap it. With a replacement, you must ensure your new post meets the structural requirements to carry the load of what is above it. You must also build a temporary support to hold up the roofline while you remove the old and get the new columns cut to size and properly placed.

A wrap leaves the post in place to meet the structural need and then surrounds it. Vinyl and aluminum wraps offer weather protection but do not improve the aesthetics much. Faux brick or stone wraps come in two pieces to enclose the post, offering weather protection and a design element at the same time.

Options exist to simply maintain as is or to radically change the columns you have today. Open your mind's eye to new ideas, visualize the options, and be as bold as you like when selecting your new porch columns.

If you want, or need, new porch columns, but are not prepared to do the work, please know that Mr. Handyman is here to help. We can replace in kind, wrap your existing columns, or replace them with something of your choosing. We have done similar projects in homes all over greater Jacksonville, and we have the staff, skills, and know-how to do your project properly.