The front porch of some houses cry out for columns, ­­whether they haven¹t had them before (but needed them), or whether the original columns are in disrepair and need replacing. Either way, there is a happy medium between building columns from scratch yourself and having a contractor build and install them.

Companies such as Chadsworth's 1.800.Columns supply kits for putting together and installing columns that can be used indoors or outdoors. Here we show one of their outdoor models (which can be a great addition and backdrop for your holiday decorations).

Column Installation 

What you¹ll need:

  • Measuring Tape
  • Fine-tooth Handsaw
  • Circular SawHow To Install Porch Columns
  • Brace
  • Rasp
  • Coil Strap or
  • Strong Tie (if needed)
  • Drill
  • Screws
  • Masonry Fasteners(if appropriate)
  • Epoxy or Polyester Filler
  • Caulk and Caulk Gun
  • Oil-based Exterior Paint
  • Small L-brackets

Step 1.  Measure the overall height of the porch. Raise the soffit (underside of a beam, ceiling or cornice) or porch slightly with a brace for easy installation of the column.
 
Step 2.  Trim column shaft on bottom end only. Trim with an abrasive saw, carbide-type blade, or fine-tooth handsaw. Include any slope in your cut. Finish both top and bottom of shaft with a rasp to assure conformance to adjacent surfaces and thereby an even load distribution around the entire circumference. 
 
Step 3.  Slide cap over top of column shaft. Let cap slide down to rest on neck mold temporarily until shaft is correctly positioned. Slide base onto column shaft from bottom.
 
Step 4.  Place porch column in a vertical position with load centered over column shaft with even distribution around bearing surfaces. Note: In areas of the country where you experience hurricanes, you must use a Simpson Coil Strap or Strong Tie to attach the column into the flooring systems to prevent uplift (top and bottom).

Step 5.  If installation requires that columns be secured in place prior to bearing load, use small L-brackets. Be careful to ensure L-brackets do not interfere with seating of cap and base. Note: To secure bracket to column, drill hole in shaft and use through bolts. Do not use screws.
 
Step 6.  Remove brace to allow load to bear on column shaft.
 
Step 7.  Measure and pre-drill hole in capital and base for screws. Counter sink screws. Slide cap up to soffit and attach, using corrosion-resistant type screws. Attach base to floor using masonry fasteners or other appropriate fasteners. Fill holes with epoxy or polyester filler.
 
Step 8.  Caulk between the cap and the shaft, and the base and the shaft, to give your columns a finished appearance. 

Editors Note:  This column is from the December 2005 issue of do! Magazine.  do! Magazine is a national home-improvement magazine published 12 times per year by Future Publishing Georgia, Inc.