Replacing Porch Columns

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Adding columns to your porch, or updating existing ones, makes for a nice look. It is a simple way to dress up the exterior of your home and in some cases enables you to give it a period look. Columns also create an openness that is not achievable with closed in porches. Since columns are outside, they are constantly exposed to the elements. This can translate to wear and tear over time, making columns less aesthetically pleasing. There is only so much sanding you can do to save them, however, before it becomes time to suck it up and replace worn out columns.

The first step in replacing a column is to select a new one. Do you want to continue with the look you previously had or would you like to make some changes? Updating your columns can give your home a fresh look, just as going with an older style column can take your home on a trip back in time when other styles were more prevalent. Either way is great as long as you select a column you are happy with that will compliment your home as you see fit. If you decide to go with a pre-fab column, be sure to take all your measurements ahead of time before purchasing.

With your new column planned out, it is time to remove the old one. You can do this with a 4x4 board with a length of 4x4 (or comparably sized board) nailed to one end. This 2x4 section should be about a foot long. Get as near to your faulty column as possible and use the 4x4 as an alternate column while you remove and replace your current column. This is most easily done through the use of a hydraulic jack. Carefully balance the support board on the jack and raise it into place, paying close attention to ensure that it stays level and balanced. If you notice any listing or sideways tilting of your board and jack, stop, adjust, and try again. Taking your time and staying safe in the process is of the utmost importance.

Once your temporary column is in place, it is time to remove the old one. Since the beam above your old column should be raised enough to take pressure off of it, the old column should be easy to slide out. With it removed, measure the space where your new column is to go and cut it down to size if necessary (remember that pre-fab columns should have been measured prior to purchasing). Carefully slide your new column into place where the old one previously stood, maneuvering and manipulating it until it is in the desired location. Once you are happy with the positioning, release the jack slowly and allow your new column to take over bearing the weight of your porch beam.

If you have opted to go with a column made from raw materials, now is the time to seal and/or paint it. Since nicks and scratches could happen during installation, painting after the fact is more effective. However, if you prefer to paint beforehand, be prepared with some touch-up paint in the event you wind up needing it. With your new column in place, your porch will once again be a comfortable place to hang out-both in terms of relaxation and appearance.

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