We often get this question a lot and fortunately there are two ways to properly secure your front porch using the proper wind uplift system with fiberglass porch columns. Whichever method you use it is always important to contact a structural engineer to verify load capacities of the structural supports used in either application.
Method #1 – Structural support – This method involves placing a structural pressure treated wood or steel post in place that will be secured at the floor and header. This is designed for a porch column to surround the structural support and the column will be supplied in two halves. The two halves are reassembled on site using heavy duty construction adhesive, Zip-tie straps, and metal plates at the top and bottom. Once the adhesive is dried you will use Bondo to hide the seam, sand, and then prime and paint. This method can be used during new construction or if you are replacing an old porch column that may have rotted. It is also the most labor intensive method due to the additional labor involved in surrounding, gluing, and hiding the seams.
Method #2 – Threaded Rod – This method is only used in new construction when the roof and header is not in place and is very effective. A hole is drilled into the floor and a coupler that has a hinge is glued into the floor. This hinge allows you to tilt your porch column at an angle and run a threaded rod through the hollow porch column and into the coupler. The threaded rod will stick out 12” to 18” above the column depending on the height of your header. Once the column is standing upright you will drill a hole through your header and then place it down to the top of the column capital. It is then secured with a washer and nut above the header is completely hidden since they are on the top of the header. Next step would be to build the roof frame and connect to the header. This has to be done during the early parts of construction and would likely be during the framing stages. The great advantage of this method is that you will not have to worry about reassembling the columns and hiding the seams. You also are using the fiberglass porch column as a structural member and its intended purpose.
Worthington Millwork recommends www.Go-bolt.com uplift systems and this system can be purchased through Worthington when ordering your fiberglass porch columns. Also look at the detail below which gives you an insight to their system: