Gorgeous Square Tapered Columns – Beautify Your Front Porch on a Budget

Square tapered columns offer an elegant yet affordable way to enhance your home’s curb appeal. With their tapered shape and decorative capital, these porch posts impart a refined architectural detail. When made from durable, low-maintenance materials like cellular PVC or fiberglass, they deliver classic style that lasts for decades without the headaches of upkeep and repairs.

Materials and Design of Square Tapered Columns

Explanation of What Square Tapered Columns Are

Square tapered columns feature a straightforward square cross-section that incrementally narrows from top to bottom in a tapered form. This gentle inward slant is an attractive architectural design feature seen in various home styles. The columns typically range from 8 to 12 inches wide on each side, standing 6 to 12 feet tall. The taper dimension from top to bottom is often 1 to 2 inches of narrowing per side.

square columns for front porch

Popular Options: Cellular PVC and Fiberglass

When it comes to porch columns, two of the most popular modern alternatives to natural wood are cellular PVC and fiberglass composite materials:

  • Cellular PVC columns are extruded from expanded PVC resin packed with air pockets, yielding a highly durable plastic that resists cracking, splitting, rotting, and insect damage. PVC columns are more affordable than composites but not as structurally rigid.
  • Fiberglass composite columns feature an internal structure of glass fiber reinforcements encased within a durable polymer resin shell. The glass fibers provide strength and rigidity while the resin gives shape and protects the glass from exposure. Fiberglass composites perform well in extreme weather yet involve a higher initial price tag.

Both PVC and fiberglass make excellent substitutes for high maintenance wood columns in terms of weather-resistance and longevity.

Finishes and Textures Available

Square columns come in smooth textures or embossed wood grain patterns to match your home’s exterior aesthetic. Standard color options include white, beige, gray, and subsystem composite bases which can be painted. Custom tinting and staining are also possible for the perfect color blend.

Installing Square Tapered Porch Columns

Structural Considerations

If you are considering adding square columns to your front porch, it’s essential to ensure they are load-bearing enough to support any weight they may be required to bear. While square columns are not inherently load-bearing, some materials like concrete and fiberglass offer higher load capacities than wood or PVC. In such cases, it’s recommended to consult a structural engineer to ensure the columns are strong enough to support the weight of your front porch.

Step-by-Step Installation Process

Installing tapered square columns involves securing mounting brackets around your existing structural posts, aligning the column shells, then fastening them into place. Exact steps may vary by manufacturer but typically entail:

  • Inspecting current posts for soundness and load-bearing capacity
  • Attaching mounting brackets and hardware evenly around posts
  • Test fitting the column shells and marking their final desired position
  • Securing the columns with provided fasteners and foam filler
  • Checking columns for plumb and adjusting as needed
  • Adding capital, base trim pieces for a finished look

Tips to Make Installation Easy

Having an extra set of hands makes installing square columns much simpler. Measure carefully and allow room for adjustments before permanently fixing columns in place. Simple DIY skills get the job done.

Maintaining Square Composite Columns

Simple Cleaning Methods

Square PVC or fiberglass columns just need occasional cleaning with a power washer or mild detergent and water. Avoid abrasive brushes.

Protecting Against Elements

Use exterior-grade sealant or paint to protect composite columns from sun damage. Proper overhangs also shield from rain and snow.

Repairing Surface Imperfections

While installation process may vary depending on the material being used, it’s essential to understand the installation process for the specific material you’re considering to ensure a successful installation.

Cost Savings of Composite Square Columns

PVC & Fiberglass Price Points

The cost per linear foot of cellular PVC columns averages $20 to $30, while fiberglass composites range from $30 to $50. Complete kits for front porches span $500 to $2,000+. Compare these prices to wood columns at $60 to $100 per linear foot.

Contrast with Wood Column Expenses

Though composite columns carry a moderately higher initial price tag than wood, their superior longevity yields better long-term value. Replacing failing wood columns every 10-15 years gets extremely expensive over time. With virtually no maintenance needed, composite columns easily offer 20+ years of reliable service.

DIY vs Hiring a Contractor

You can install composite columns yourself and save substantial labor fees versus contracting the work. Basic DIY equipment and skills yield big cost savings.

Enhancing Your Curb Appeal With Square Columns

Photo Gallery for Inspiration

The clean lines and understated elegance of square tapered columns pair attractively with architectural styles from stately Colonial to cozy Craftsman bungalows. Their tapered form brings visual interest while matching various column heights, capital styles, and porch layouts.

Design Styles They Complement

Square columns suit home exteriors ranging from Mission and Craftsman to Prairie, Cottage and Country aesthetics. They lend traditional character without intricate detailing.

Landscaping Ideas to Accent Columns

Visually play up your square porch columns by flanking them with attractive potted plants or decorative lanterns. Train climbing vines or roses up the posts for organic appeal. Uplighting also highlights architectural features.

It’s easy to see why square tapered composite columns are popular on front porches. Their tapered form brings dimension and interest to enhance curb appeal. For gorgeous good looks backed by decades of reliable performance, square columns check all the boxes for front porch posts done right.

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