How to Update Front Porch Columns

What You'll Need
Two 4 by 4 inches lumber support beams
Two 2 by 4 inches wood pieces, 20 inches long
Replacement column
Measuring device
Wood screws
Drill with Philips head bit

Porch columns that start to rot or are affected by insects will eventually require you to update them. Normally having construction work done to a supporting pillar or column implies that you don’t make any changes in its material type or dimensions. Changing either material or dimensions should only be done by professionals and may require a permit. You should also hire a professional if you have a double story-supporting column as this might interfere with the support of the upper deck and will probably require scaffolding and temporary support beams. Here are the tools and materials you will need to update your porch columns.

Step 1 - Replacement Columns

Your porch columns are an integral part of your house or building and it is very important that you get replacements that are of the same size and material. Modifying the size or type of material requires a building permit and if improperly done, it can lead to structural collapse. Acquire the replacement columns before you start work on replacing the old ones. This should be done ahead of time, as you might need to order and wait a few days for the delivery.

Step 2 - Temporary Support Pillars

You will need to install two temporary support pillars on the beam of the column you are replacing. The length of the support beams should be a few inches bigger than that of the actual column. Cut the two 4 by 4 inch support beams to the required length. Place the two 2 by 4 inch wood pieces on top of each beam forming a T-shaped support pillar. Use wood screws to bind them together. Now place each of the support pillars to the right and left of the porch column to provide temporary support.

Step 3 - Replace the Column

With the temporary support pillars holding the weight, it is time to replace the porch column. This should be held to the porch and the top beam with screws or nails. Use the drill with the Philips bit to remove all the screws at the top of the column first. Then remove the screws at the bottom and carefully nudge the column out of its position. Before installing the new column you should carefully examine and clean the location the old column had been seated in. If the seating is damaged in any way it will need to be repaired before installing the new column. Place the new column in position and use the drill and wood screws to secure it at the bottom. Nudge the top part in position and secure it at the top.

Step 4 - Remove the Temporary Pillars

With the new column in position it is time to remove the temporary pillars. Start with the upper side to avoid injuries from falling. Nudge the top part out of position and then carefully lay the pillar on the ground. Do the same with the other support pillar. You now have the new porch column supporting the weight. All that’s left to do is to coat it with primer and paint or the wood oil of your preference.