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How To Repair Porch Columns

Utilizing old photos, "ghosting" from previous fixtures and pieces of the old column as guides, learn how to create new porch columns and "wrap" them to re-create the historic box-column style.

More in Outdoors

1908 craftsman bungalow front porch restoration
  • Time

    Weekend

  • Price Range

    $500 - $1,000

  • Difficulty

    Hard

Step-by-Step Instructions:

Assemble the Wrap

Based on the dimensions of original newel posts (Image 1), create a wrap for each existing column, beginning by assembling three contiguous sides of the wrap. The fourth and final side will get added after the three-sided portion is secured. To prepare the stock, cut the 8-1/2-inch-wide pieces first. Then set up the table saw for cutting the 10 inch pieces, leaving an additional 1/16" of width which will allow the edges to be planed smooth. Once the stock has been cut to size, join three of the sides using a finish-nail gun (Image 2).

Attach the Wrap to the Column

Once you've assembled the wrap that will cover three sides of the existing column (Image 1), secure the front of the column (Image 2), then add shims to square it off. Nail one inside piece of the column to the 6x6 post. Shim if necessary for level. Place opposing sides of column on and nail using 10d galvanized finish nails. Score the ship pieces using a utility knife so they'll break off evenly and flush with the column surface (Image 3). Finally, add the last column piece and secure it with finish nails (Image 4). Cut trim to the required widths and fit using miter cuts. Nail trim to the column bases and capitals. Prime all exposed raw edges of new trim, caulk and prepare for finish paint.

Create the Bases

If the old base is salvageable, re-use as much as possible (Image 1). If not, rout the edge of the new base to replicate the original profile. Once cut to size, the base molding and top molding pieces are attached to the columns using finish nails (Images 2 and 3).

Put the Porch Back Together

Once the columns are complete, reposition the original banister railings (Image 1) -- which have already been secured to newly re-created short columns -- and fasten them using the nail gun. Repaint all of the porch elements (Image 2). Rip the pre-primed cedar or spruce trim boards to the required width and then to the required height.

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