Porch Posts and Columns

Consider location, size and style when choosing porch columns.
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Photo by: R. Michael Stuckey

R. Michael Stuckey

By: Jeannie Matteucci

Posts and columns add to the beauty of your porch, but they are also the important vertical support that holds up your porch roof. Careful consideration needs to be given to the location, size and number of posts and columns your porch needs.

Make sure to check with your local building department, which has codes that determine the minimum size and spacing for posts. Also talk with your architect about the right posts and columns that will make your porch both sound and attractive.

Porches and Home Styles

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Victorian Porch

The term "Victorian architecture" refers to a style that emerged in the period between 1830 and 1910, during the reign of Queen Victoria. Grand porches with ornamental wood lacework are common, and often include details like curved and turned balusters, towers and turrets. To learn more about Victorian architecture visit FrontDoor.com

Spanish Porch

Spanish settlers in North America combined their architectural traditions with other European and Native American influences to create a variety of styles, from mission to Spanish Colonial to Mediterranean. Arcaded porches and corridors with arches are features common for this style. These elements mimic cloisters, with stucco walls of broad, flat surfaces that emulate the quality of adobe construction. To learn more about Spanish architecture visit FrontDoor.com

Craftsman-Style Porch

The term "Arts and Crafts" refers to the early 19th-century British and American movement to revive handicrafts. The movement was the inspiration behind the Craftsman and bungalow styles. Most homes in the Craftsman style have porches with thick, prominent square or round columns and stone or brick piers. For more information on Arts and Crafts architecture visit FrontDoor.com

Ranch-Style Porch

Low-slung ranch homes, modeled after the casual style of homes on true Western ranches, were first built in the 1930s. For a traditional ranch home that hugs the ground, plan a porch with a large overhang that emphasizes the horizontal lines of the house. To learn more about Ranch-style architecture visit FrontDoor.com

Colonial Porch

During the 1700s, European settlers in North America incorporated the architectural styles of their native countries into their new homes. This style is also known as Georgian Colonial architecture, which is characterized by a rectangular, symmetrical and formal style. A grid added in an open gable of a modern Colonial front porch can be a great way to highlight the multi-pane windows and rectangular profile of a Colonial. To learn more about Colonial architecture visit FrontDoor.com

Greek Revival Porch

It's an international style that first appeared in the 1820s and really flourished in America during the 1830s and '40s. The porch design follows the ancient Greek temple model, with its row of tall columns and pediments. To learn more about Greek Revival architecture visit FrontDoor.com

Things to Think About

  • The size and shaping of your posts and columns should complement the architectural style of your house. For example, thick columns in a masonry base are often used on a Craftsman porch, while a Victorian porch may include tightly spaced, thin and embellished posts.
  • Substantial posts are generally considered more pleasing to the eye than spindly ones.
  • There are manufactured posts and columns made from materials that mimic wood (composites made from resins and woods, high-density polyurethane and vinyl) that can be more expensive, but these products are generally long-lasting and require less maintenance.

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