All residential and commercial structures will consist of architectural features that are classified as millwork. Traditionally, millwork products were defined as those components that were woodmill produced, including doors, trim, and crown moldings. Today, architectural millwork products include items made from wood alternatives such as plastic polymers and high-density polyurethane (HDP). Polyurethane (PU) has become a preferred architectural material over plastics and supports green initiatives by reducing our dependence on the country's dwindling timber reserves.
Columns add visual charm or elegance, depending on style. They can be structural, simply decorative, or both. They can be made from a wide variety of materials, also. For our purposes today, let's look at the advantages of composite columns.
What are column covers?
Column covers are porch columns that are split vertically to surround a round or square column in half and with the purpose to hide a structural support. This structural support may be round or square and in either case it is important to know the interior dimensions of the column and how big of a post it will be surrounding. It is also important to take in mind that when figuring for a square support you must use the diagonal measurement. Who said that 10th grade geometry wouldn’t come in handy in the future? In case you forgot the formula it is A^2 + B^2 = C^2 where A and B are the side widths of the post. C would be equal to the hypotenuse or the diagonal going across the square.
Adding a railing around a porch not only adds a level of safety, but makes a porch feel more like an outdoor room. There are so many options of style and material for columns and railings, one is really only limited by their imagination.
For our purposes here, when we say "railings" we are discussing the top and bottom materials used to hold the banister material between the two. The "banisters" make up the decorative material used to enclose your porch. Together with "columns" for roof support and posts for railings to attach to, you can create any style you choose to compliment your home's porch.
A variety of materials have been used for creating balustrades, railings, and columns. Everything from grapevines and limbs to stainless steel and glass. Truly, your imagination is your only limit. Sourcing the material you choose may be a bit more difficult if you step too far outside the box. However, if you can imagine it, you can probably make it happen.
In the past, a home's front porch served as the main outdoor gathering place for social visits and family relaxation. As a matter of fact, the history of our changing culture can be seen through the various architectural forms and purposes of the front porch. Why was the front porch so significant to family life during colonial times? A University of Virginia thesis on The Cultural Significance of the American Front Porch supposes that the front porch was the family's connection to their land, and to nature - in a country where the wilderness was still yet to be tamed:
In essence, the porch served as a vital transition between the uncontrollable out-of-doors and the cherished interior of the home...In many ways, the front porch represented the American ideal of family. The porch, in essence, was an outdoor living room, where the family could retire after the activities of a long day.
1. Are the fiberglass columns you are looking to purchase really made of fiberglass?
If you conduct a search online for fiberglass columns a hand full of companies pop up in the search results on both Yahoo and Google. There are many different brands, materials, pictures, descriptions, sales pitches and offers. With all this information it is sometimes hard to tell what you are actually purchasing and that should be SCARY as it could be a costly mistake if you don’t purchase the right product! Some E-commerce companies offer a picture, a part, and a price and call it a "fiberglass column" which is why you need to research what you are looking to purchase!
What is Craftsman Style?Craftsman homes were primarily inspired by the work of two architect brothers — Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene — who worked together in Pasadena, California, at the turn of the 20th century. The Greene brothers were influenced by the English Arts and Crafts movement (a reaction against the Industrial Revolution in an effort to promote the work of craftsmen and the handmade over the machine made), as well as by Oriental wooden architecture.
The vertical support that holds up your porch roof should not be taken lightly. Porch columns are an important feature of a home. They come in all different shapes and sizes and with that comes all different prices. Because of that, it should come as no surprise that prices are all over the place!
There are so many different things that can affect the price of porch columns. Here are a few...
The fiberglass column is a structural element that not only supports your roof, but also lends extra character to the overall aesthetic of your home.
Fiberglass is lightweight and both water and rot resistant with a class A fire rating. There are multiple choices when it comes to fiberglass columns. Which one is the best choice for your home?
Round tapered fiberglass columns
These fiberglass porch columns, additionally known as cast columns, is one of the most popular designs today. Reminiscent of the old Tuscan order of columns, but with a wider base and a slimmer top, this column draws viewers eyes upwards. These regal columns could be ideal for a home porch and are most widely used on most projects.
Handed down from the ancient Greek and Roman empire, the 5 Orders of Architectural Columns are still used in modern architecture. The Greek supplied us with the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian designs while the Romans introduced us to the Tuscan and Composite look. Each of these elements are unique in their own way. They are used in specific structures at precise times to bring together a stunningly designed building.
Are Fiberglass Porch Columns Hollow?
In fact, all porch columns, no matter if they are round, square tapered or non-tapered fluted or plain are all hollow. Also when you look at the different materials: polymer stone, fiberglass, PVC and even wood they are all hollow. This has to do with the way each of them are made. The fiberglass and polymer stone porch columns all come from a mold that has the shape of the part. The fiberglass mixture is poured into a closed mold, rotated very quickly, and then then the columns dry while they are spinning leaving the column hollow. FRP porch columns are made in halves by spraying with fiberglass strands similar to the manufacturing of a fiberglass boat. The halves are glued together in the factory or on-site creating a whole column once assembled, glued and after Bondo is applied. A wood porch column is made by gluing staves together in a circular form and then turning and cutting them on a lathe. Lastly, PVC porch columns are made from a cut out of a flat sheet of PVC and then assembled in our factory (or on-site) to make the finished square product.
If you conduct a search online for the phrase "fiberglass porch columns" a hand full of companies pop up in the search results on both Yahoo and Google. There are many different brands, materials, pictures descriptions, sales pitches and offers. With all this information it is sometimes hard to tell what you are actually purchasing and that should be SCARY as it could be a costly mistake if you don’t purchase the right product! Most E-commerce companies offer a picture, a part and a price and call it a fiberglass column.
This home had been remodeled over the years, and each refresh had added details that were not age- or architecturally appropriate and took the home away from the plain-spoken look of an American foursquare. The new owners wanted to bring back some of the original details (or what could have been original) and add modern touches, so they hired Robert S. MacNeille, design principal and president of Carpenter & MacNeille.
Believe it or not there are so many different variables when it comes to fiberglass columns. Many have created false beliefs about this product that could potentially cause installation and purchase errors without knowing the facts.
You would think that selecting the architectural columns you want for your home would be just as easy as it sounds. But that couldn't be further from the truth. When it comes to columns there are so many different choices and options - from material, height, diameter and capital decoration to whether you want the column split or whole.
Buying architectural products like molding, columns, railing systems etc. can potentially put a big dent in a projects budget; but it does not have to! Small little changes can add up to big savings in the long run if you stay consistent with them.
Worthington Millwork was contracted to provide the architectural fiberglass columns and balustrade systems for a renovation of the charming James Wade Bolton House in Alexandria, LA. This project was a historical renovation and of great significance to the town of Alexandria. To preserve the integrity of this turn-of-the-century home, an original baluster was perfectly replicated to create a whole new balustrade system. Similar components were also used in manufacturing the column shafts, capitals, bases and other parts of the balustrade system. The end result is a completed project, made with modern materials, while keeping the historic proportions and architecture of the 1899 construction period of the project.
"The family wanted to open up the space, give it a nice flow, let in more natural light and expand the views of the backyard," says architect Catherine Knight of Knight Architects. She responded with a thorough makeover, creating a family-friendly entry and mudroom, an open-plan layout along the rear of the house that opens up to their spectacular backyard, a reconfigured guest room and first-floor bathroom, and a renovated master bathroom.
Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here: A couple and their young daughter and son
Location: Princeton, New Jersey
Size: 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms
Year built: The 1970s; remodeling plans began in 2010