Porch columns are usually a focal point of the front of a home. Since the porch is often covered with a roof and items like swings are hung from the porch, it is important that the columns be sturdy and strong.
Strong columns can be built of stone, brick, and even newer composite materials. These materials will be sturdy enough to support and roof and hanging features, and they will stand for many years.
Step 1 - Test Porch
First, make sure that your existing porch will be strong enough to support the new columns you will be building. Adding stone will strengthen the columns, but will also create a heavier column.
Step 2 - Measure
Carefully measure the distance between the existing columns. Note that adding rock to the columns will create an extra dimension. You need to have enough room between the columns to be able to move furniture or other items between them, particularly if this is a front porch.
Step 3 - Add Lines
String plumb lines around the outside of each column to determine the desired dimensions.
Step 4 - Add Mortar
Place mortar around the base of the first existing column. Begin by placing stones on the mortar and surrounding the column base. You will need to leave a small space between the existing column and the stones, so that the stones form a box-like shape around the column. Between each stone, place a thin layer of mortar. This will hold the stones in place.
Step 5 - Place Stones and Mortar
Once you have the first layer of stones completed, place a layer of mortar over them. Then place another layer of stones over this layer of mortar. You should have mortar surrounding the bottom, sides, and top of each stone.
Step 6 - Add Stones
Begin the next layer of stones. When you reach the corners, position two stones that are not the corners so that they are resting on top of the corners. This will help the corners retain their strength and shape.
Continue building layers of stones around the column, careful to continue to retain the box-like shape around the center column.
Step 7 - Pour Concrete
Mix the cement. Integrate the small stones into the concrete mix. Pour the concrete into the center of the column, between the existing center column and the stones.
Step 8 - Fill Spaces
Use the trowel to fill in any spaces between the rocks with mortar. Smooth out any rough joints between the rocks to create a seamless and smooth look to the new column.
When the mortar is almost dry, use the wire brush to rough up the mortar just a bit to create a more rustic and natural look to the column.