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Porch Revival: Columns Restoration

A front porch in need of some TLC gets new visible means of support in the form of restored wooden columns.

The focal point of this Don't Sweat It project is a front porch in need of some first aid and freshening up.

First up in this makeover, the ceiling is in need of better support and a good repainting. Steve Watson and his team of pros remove and replace the old support beams and install new columns.

Below is a list of materials and tools used for this project, as well as a summary of the basic steps as featured in this Don't Sweat It project.


4x4 lumber (10; 8-foot lengths)
3/4" CDX-grade plywood (1 sheet)
2 gallons primer
assorted sandpaper

Before: With aging handrails, peeling paint and sparse furnishings, this front porch had potential but needed some serious attention.


table saw
reciprocating saw
belt sander
orbital sander
flap-wheel for grinder
sledge hammer
measuring tape
paint scrapers
wire brush
safety glasses

Figure A


Remove the old columns and brace the ceiling. Brace the ceiling by placing 12x12 plywood pad against the upper beam and one on the floor. Cut a 4x4 post 1/4" longer than the measurement between these pads. Hammer the post into place using a sledgehammer to raise the roof slightly. This will provide you with ample space to remove the columns and will also support the roof during the repairs.

Scrape and sand. Scrape and sand as much loose paint from the columns as possible. Once the columns have been removed from the porch, and laid out on sawhorses, continue scraping and sanding as needed. Since we're repainting and not staining, we don't need to get to bare wood, just down to smoothness.

Figure B

Reinstall columns. We reinstall the columns before we paint. This way, we can start work on the railings (details in the second project in this episode) while the columns are being painted. Reinstall the columns by setting them back in place and tacking them into place using the finish nailer. It doesn't take much to hold these in place since the weight of the roof pressing down keeps the columns from moving. After the column is in place, remove the 4x4 temporary support post.

Prime and paint. A primer coat and a new coat of paint completes this phase of the front porch project.

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