Are you looking to upgrade your home’s curb appeal? Adding beautiful front porch pillars can transform the look and feel of your entrance. The right porch columns can complement your home’s architectural style while also providing structural support. From classic fluted columns to rustic stone pillars, there are so many options to enhance your porch design.
In this blog post, we’ll explore popular materials, styles, and proportions to consider when selecting front porch pillars. Read on for inspiring ideas and expert tips to refresh your home with gorgeous pillars that impress.
Different Materials for Porch Pillars
One of the first decisions to make is what material you want your front porch pillars to be constructed from. There are several common options, each with their own aesthetic qualities, durability, and installation factors to weigh.
Wood is a classic choice for front porch pillars thanks to its traditional look. Types of wood like cedar, redwood, and pine are naturally resistant to rot and decay, making them suitable for outdoor use. The natural grain and color of wood pillars complement many home styles. Wood columns are also relatively lightweight and easier to work with than stone or masonry.
On the downside, wood columns require more regular maintenance and upkeep. Exposure to the elements can cause cracking, splitting, or discoloration over time. Regular repainting or restaining is needed to keep wood porch pillars looking their best. Installation also requires precision joinery skills for a stable and long-lasting finished product.
For a truly permanent pillar option, brick is a great choice. The sturdy and heavy nature of brick columns gives off an aura of classical stability on your front porch. Brick can come in various warm red hues and be laid in different patterns for decorative flair.
However, the permanence of brick comes with some cons as well. Having brick porch columns installed tends to be more expensive due to the specialized labor. Cracks can still develop in the mortar over decades of use. Repairing and maintaining brick requires expertise to avoid damaging its structural integrity.
If mortar damage does occur, be sure to have it repointed as soon as possible to prevent moisture issues. Look for flaky or missing mortar and consult a mason to make repairs.
For a truly rustic and natural aesthetic, stone columns impart an earthy feel on your front porch. Natural quarried stone has incredible durability and permanence. Manufactured faux stone offers a lighter and more affordable option. With stone, unique colors, shapes, and textures can complement your home’s style.
On the downside, stone’s extreme weight means installation takes extra equipment and expertise. Irregular shapes also make joinery and reinforcement more challenging than square wood posts. The expense can also be prohibitive depending on the type and quality of stone used.
Options like wrought iron, aluminum, and steel create lightweight but strong porch pillars with a contemporary vibe. Metal columns make a particularly dramatic impact when painted in bold, saturated hues. Minimal maintenance is a major perk, as metal won’t rot or crack like wood or masonry.
However, metal’s sleekness comes with some drawbacks. Metal columns can dent more easily from impact than stone or brick. Without proper rustproofing and sealing, they’ll succumb to the elements quicker. But properly treated metal pillars can last for decades with minimal upkeep required.
Pillar Styles to Enhance Curb Appeal
Beyond the material, the actual shape and style of your front porch pillars impact the home’s aesthetic. Choosing columns that match your home’s architecture will create a cohesive and polished look. Here are some top styles for wow-worthy curb appeal:
For imposing, symmetrical elegance, classical columns lend a refined note. Fluted Doric, scroll-decorated Ionic, and ornate Corinthian columns draw inspiration from ancient Greek and Roman architecture. Though originally structural, when added to a modern front porch these designs mainly impart stylistic flair.
To add a neoclassical touch to your home, choose durable materials like fiberglass or polymer that mimic the details of stone. Keep the scale proportional to your entryway size. A fresh coat of white paint also enhances the striking effect. Classically inspired columns allow you to channel storied history and sophistication.
Craftsman Style Columns
The Arts & Crafts movement of the early 20th century emphasized simplicity, handmade quality, and natural materials. For homes in this classic Craftsman style, porch pillars typically reflect those ideals.
Square wood columns with exposed joinery create an honest, handcrafted look. Tapered bases and capitals add subtle dimensionality. Depending on your design tastes, consider natural dark wood stain or a pop of color. Green, red, blue, and yellow painted Craftsman columns inject cheerful curb appeal.
To complement a Craftsman exterior, opt for wider, chunkier columns rather than slender posts. This solidity grounds the porch visually. If your home skews traditional, Craftsman columns can create an eclectic fusion.
Decorative & Unique Columns
Sometimes making a bold statement trumps classical conventions. Decorative columns offer versatility in materials, shapes, colors, and details. Fluted, spiral, tapered, or accented with carvings, the possibilities are endless. Combining different pillar styles and sizes also adds dynamism.
Custom crafted columns are an option if you want completely one-of-a-kind style. Work with experienced artisans to translate your vision into reality. Express individuality by integrating meaningful symbols or unconventional silhouettes into the design.
Decorative columns let homeowners freely experiment until achieving porch pillars that wow. When the rest of the facade stays subdued, unique columns steal the show.
Pillar Height, Width & Proportions
Beyond just style, getting the scale and dimensions right ensures your front porch pillars look and function their best. Measure the porch size and account for the roof load to choose appropriate column height and width.
Measuring Porch Size
First, assess your overall porch length and depth to determine the required height. Measure from the porch floor to the ceiling. The column height must span this distance, with a few extra inches below and above for structural stability.
For proper weight bearing, a useful rule of thumb is selecting columns with a width or diameter around 1/10th the height. A 10-foot tall column looks best around 10 inches wide. However, the column load capacity should also inform dimensions.
Matching Column Size to Porch
A porch spanning greater than 8 feet across needs larger columns to visually match the scale. Conversely, slimmer columns suit smaller porches. Tiny posts on a wide porch look oddly out of place and proportions.
Consider the home’s architecture too. Craftsman or farmhouse designs warrant chunkier pillars, while classical or colonial styles need more slender supports. Your contractor can recommend sizes to harmonize with the total aesthetic.
Accounting for Roof/Upper Floor Load
Don’t neglect structural necessities when selecting porch columns. The pillars bear the load of the porch roof and any floors above it. Consult your contractor to properly size columns to carry the weight safely.
Wider columns provide greater load-bearing capacity but take up space. Steel or concrete reinforcement increases strength without wider widths. Get professional guidance so your gorgeous pillars don’t turn into safety liabilities down the road.
Keeping Porch Pillars Strong & Stable
Over time, front porch columns inevitably age and deteriorate. Preventing damage through maintenance preserves their integrity and your home’s facade. Here are tips for each material type:
No matter the material, adding supports provides extra strength. Braces attached to upper and lower column areas distribute weight. Concrete footings also stabilize the base. For extra reinforcement, install columns in pairs on either side of the porch entrance.
Preventing Decay in Wood Pillars
Regular repainting or staining maintains water resistance and prevents rot in wood columns. Keeping paint and finishes from peeling or cracking is key. If decay develops, address it through limited replacement or epoxy repair products.
Covering column tops shields them from excessive rain exposure. Proper sealing and ventilation beneath porches also keeps moisture at bay.
Cracking Prevention for Masonry
Brick and natural stone expand and contract slightly with temperature changes. Over decades, this can compromise mortar joints. Masonry sealer and proper foundation drainage minimizes cracking.
Inspect regularly for any thin cracks and repoint mortar promptly. This prevents moisture intrusion and further deterioration. Avoid applying new mortar atop damaged existing mortar.
Rust-Proofing Metal Columns
Bare steel or iron columns require weather-resistant finishes to avoid corrosion. Often, a primer, base, and top coat provide complete protection. Touch up any scrapes or chips quickly.
For aluminum or powder-coated metal, inspect annually for corrosion spots. Clean and reseal these areas to keep the finish intact. Rust-resistant materials like aluminum hold up better than steel over the long term.
Signs Columns Need Replacing
If porch columns show extensive cracking, peeling, rotting, or rusting, replacement may be required. Sagging or tilted columns also demand attention to restore structural integrity. Deterioration risks further damage.
For maintained columns in good condition, most styles can last 50 years or longer. With repairs and upkeep, you can enjoy gorgeous pillars that stand the test of time.
Inspiring Examples of Front Porch Pillars
Need some visual inspiration to refresh your front porch with beautiful pillars? These stunning examples showcase diverse styles and materials:
Rustic Tree Trunk Columns
For an ultra-natural woodsy look, massive tree trunks lend organic whimsy. The height and irregularity impart freedom.
Whitewashed Brick Columns
A crisp white wash modernizes traditional brick pillars. The clean contrast against the wood siding pops.
Wrought Iron & Wood Columns
The dynamic combination of slender iron and wide wood posts brings eclectic drama. Dark hues enhance the striking silhouette.
With the right pillars, you can take your front porch from bleak to chic. Consider all the factors of material, style, scale, and maintenance needs. And most importantly, choose designs that reflect your personal taste and enhance your home’s existing architecture. Our front porch is often the first up-close impression visitors have of our homes. Investing in gorgeous columns elevates that experience, for you and your guests.
A beautiful front porch deserves equally stunning pillars to complete the look. Whether your taste runs modern, rustic, or traditional, the array of column materials and styles offers options for every home. Take care to select the proper size and proportions based on your porch dimensions. Periodic maintenance keeps any pillar type looking pristine.
This guide will help you choose front porch pillars, which will make your house look better. So dream big, get creative, and construct the porch pillars you’ve always envisioned to refresh your home in style.