Adding a set of attractive, well-built porch columns is one of the best ways to increase your home’s curb appeal. Not only do sturdy columns provide structural support, they also infuse architectural interest and invite guests to your entryway. If your porch is currently column-free or you want to replace outdated poles, learning how to build your own columns allows for customization and cost savings. Follow this guide to construct porch columns that perfectly match your home.
Choosing the Right Column Design
Before building, decide on the size, material, and style of columns that will complement your home best. Measure the porch span to determine an appropriate column width. Select durable, weather-resistant materials like wood, fiberglass, composite, or vinyl. The column shape and details should reflect your home’s architectural style. Square columns suit craftsman homes, while round tapers work for colonial farmhouses.
Column Installation Basics
For proper structural support, porch columns need a strong foundation. Building columns directly on concrete footings or an existing porch foundation is ideal. If pouring new footings, excavate holes at least 2 feet deep and 12-16 inches wide per column. Fill with an 8 inch gravel base topped with concrete. For columns secured to wood porches, attach a decorative metal base plate on top of the porch floor.
How to Build Wood Columns
Wood allows you to create substantial, classic porch columns. Cedar and redwood offer weather-resistance, or use pressure-treated pine for an affordable option.
Cut posts to length from 6×6 beams for wider columns up to 8 feet tall, or laminate vertical boards for narrower posts. Glue and clamp all column boards together using waterproof adhesive. Once dry, shape edges into desired column profile.
On each end, cut angles or curves to create column capitals that transition cleanly from vertical to horizontal. Anchor the column bottom to the metal base or concrete footer. Finish columns with primer and paint or exterior wood stain. Apply water-sealant yearly to protect wood columns.
How to Build Fiberglass Columns
For a sturdy, low-maintenance alternative to wood, fiberglass columns are easy to install. Purchase round, square, or tapered fiberglass column blanks from home improvement stores. Look for durable thicknesses of 1/4 inch or more. Cut them to desired height with an electric circular saw.
Sand fiberglass edges until smooth. Then apply an adhesive fiberglass column wrap for a finished wood-like look. Use exterior screws to attach column capital and base trim pieces made of complementing materials like fiberglass or PVC. Paint fiberglass columns as desired before installation.
Secure columns to concrete footings or metal porch plates with weather-resistant silicone or construction adhesive. No further finishing is needed for maintenance-free fiberglass columns.
How to Build PVC Columns
PVC columns offer an affordable, no-fuss option. Look for thick 1/2 inch cellular PVC boards sold as “azek” or “veranda” products. Cut boards to size with a power miter saw. Use PVC trim boards and silicone adhesive to attach decorative capitals and bases.
Glue ceiling panels between four trimmed post boards to conceal inner supports. Screw together PVC column pieces from inside. Anchor completed columns firmly to footings or existing porches. PVC takes paint exceptionally well for any color.
Adding Custom Column Details
Personalize your DIY columns with trim, lighting, or other embellishments:
– Accent capitals with crown molding, dentils, or corbels
– Incorporate uplighting inside clear acrylic columns
– Flute, twist, or shape complex column profiles
– Carve house numbers or initials into column faces
– Apply decorative veneers like tile, stone, or brick
With the right tools and materials, you can build porch columns exactly suited to your home’s character. Take time designing columns that will enhance curb appeal for years to come.
Constructing your own porch columns allows you to match your home’s look and customize details. With the proper preparation of footings and foundations, even beginners can build sturdy, stylish columns. Choose your preferred materials like wood, fiberglass, or PVC and cut to size. Embellished with trim details, lighting, carvings, or veneers. Install securely and protect outdoor columns with weather-sealing finishes. Then stand back and admire your DIY porch columns that provide perfect architectural support.