How to Replace or Update a Porch Column

Porch columns are important, hardworking structural elements that not only shoulder most of the load of a porch's roof, but they also play a big role in defining the style of the porch. It's essential to replace a column that shows signs of rot or damage, but you may also want to replace your columns with more stylish versions just to bring a fresh new look to the exterior of your house. Either way, you'll be ensuring the long-term integrity of the porch as a whole.

Woman standing on porch
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Well-maintained columns bring beauty to any porch.

Removal

Step 1

Measure the length of the existing post and write this measurement down.

Step 2

Position a telescoping jack as close as possible next to the column. Raise the jack, so that it elevates the beam 1/4 inch.

Step 3

Cut through the middle of the post with a reciprocating saw to make two separate vertical cuts, one 8 inches above the other. Knock out the section between the cuts with a hammer.

Step 4

Pry out and remove the top and bottom sections of the post with a crow bar.

Installation

Step 1

Mark the center point of the porch column on the underside of the beam. Use an angle square to draw a centerline across the width of the beam.

Step 2

Hang a plumb bob from the center point on the beam. Mark the center point on the porch deck under the plumb bob.

Step 3

Draw a centerline through the center point on the deck, to match the centerline on the underside of the beam.

Step 4

Cut the new column with a handsaw to match the length of the old column. If the column has a base and cap, you'll need to subtract their heights from the measurement before cutting. Attach the base and cap, if any, to the new column.

Step 5

Mark the center points on the top and bottom of the new column. Draw centerlines through each center point and onto the side of the column. If you're using a base and cap, mark the centerline on the sides of each.

Step 6

Position the column so that top and bottom centerline marks are aligned with the centerlines drawn on the deck and the beam. Check that the column is plumb with a 4-foot carpenter's level.

Step 7

Lower the telescoping jack. Do this slowly to avoid knocking the column out of alignment. Check for plumb again, with the beam resting on the column.

Step 8

Drill pilot holes for 3-inch stainless steel screws, and screw the column to the beam and deck on all four sides. If you've chosen a column with a cap and base, secure them to the beam and deck instead. Cover the screw holes with wood putty, sand flush when dry, and paint to match the column.