Monday, March 30, 2009

Porch Posts!

It's time to paint our house trim! But before we paint it, we need new porch posts. The current posts are hollow quasi-Craftsman squared columns. They are rotten through and through, and need replaced.
The columns are about 6 inches wide.

We know the porch is not original; you can see the "ghosts" of the old porch on the brick (the small white lines between the windows and the door). The original porch likely looked like THIS: (Our next door neighbor's house)

The posts on their house are turned posts, and there is a small amount of gingerbreading at the top. They appear to be a true 4 inches wide (and are more than likely original to the house, based on that size and the layers of paint that appear to be on them!).

We'd like to put actual turned posts like our neighbors back up, as the square columns are just too plain for the house. I've been trying to find salvaged posts for almost a year now, but can't find anything that doesn't cost $400 each OR they only have THREE posts. Sigh.

Question #1: Would it be weird to put half posts back up where the old half post ghosts are? The paint won't come off with anything that doesn't stain the brick, and we think this might be a nice way to hide the paint. Would it look weird though?

Question #2: What size of turned posts should I get? I know that the new 4 inch posts will be too spindly at barely 3 inches wide. Would a true four inch post be too small for the porch with it's larger roof? What do you think?

Question #3: Since I can't find salvaged posts, any pointers on buying new ones? Is there a reason I shouldnn't go buy the 5" or 6" posts from Lowes (that are actually 4 or 5 inches)?

We really can't afford much for the porch. I know we can't afford the $300 repro ones I've seen online that look gorgeous! We probably can't afford much more than $300 for all FOUR posts!


sarah said...

I think it would be OK to put half posts back where the ghost-posts are - but you might need to adjust where you put the new posts. It looks like the ghost-posts (and the door) are not centered on the building, but slightly offset (wider on the right in the photo). This makes sense; they would have given you more of a place to stand under cover when the door was open. It looks like it was that way on the neighbor's porch too. If that's the case, you'll want to adjust the spacing on the front 4 columns to look harmonious with the asymmetric ghost-posts. Maybe make some sketches on your photo?

Todd - Home Construction Improvement said...

I for one think you need at least 6" posts to get the correct proportions based in the height and width of the porch. I'm not really sure how the 1/2 posts would look.

I like buying fiberglass structural posts. Unfortunately, I think you're going to have a hard time getting them for your budget.

Todd - Home Construction Improvement said...

Ya about building your own columns and sticking with square columns with nice bases and capitals? You'd be able to keep to your budget and honestly I think square fits your house style better. Just a thought....

Robj98168 said...

Check out Lowes- I know they have those Repro posts- don't know the price but they are wonderful looking

Robj98168 said...

You know I was thinking about your post problem- I kind of agree with Todd that the answer for you might be "build your own", That's what the contractor did on my addition- grant it I only have one post- but I like the look it has with just a bit of trim at the top and the bottom

Jen said...

I don't think it would be weird to have the half posts. I actually think it's a good idea.

Also, i think you need much wider posts. The wider the better. Your neighbors look quite spindly, and it would worse with your bigger porch. I'd go for the widest you can get!

Jayne said...

Jen, I just tore off my ugly enclosed porch and replaced the studs with turned posts from Lowe's. Here a link to the post about it, with pictures:
We did cut the posts in half and put them against the house, and I think it looks nice. I used the 5-inch posts from Lowe's and now that they're in I think the 6-inch would've looked okay, too. I was a little concerned because the Lowe's posts are hollow, but the labeling says they're 3,000-lb. load-bearing. Hope this helps.

Jayne said...

Oh, and I forgot to mention that we're putting brackets (sort of angel-wing shaped) on either side of the posts. My ex is custom-making them from a pattern we copied from someone else's porch. That should help the posts look less spindly.

Jennifer said...

Sarah~ The door isn't centered... you are right! The posts ARE, as are the windows... but the door is definitely off center. If it wasn't, the bedroom next to the living room would be about 8'x8'!

Todd~ Well, luck would have that I have 6 inch posts at my disposal. For practically free. I'd thought they weren't going to work, but I'm changing my mind. See my pictures tomorrow for the proportions. It does seem just about right.
I just don't like the square columns... I want to add more color to the front! They would be simpler to build, as we already have the template in the rotting ones. But, ah well.. I can't ever do anything easy!

Rob~ You linked to the same ones I did! Great minds. :P The prices are quite reasonable.

Jen~ I think you are right... I tried some 6 inch posts up there today, and they seem just about right.

Jayne~ How in the world did you cut them in half? Did you use a circular saw or a table saw? Just can't figure it out! :) You have a nice ex. I want some sort of spindally/gingerbready thing, too... I'll have to find a pattern that works with the posts.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure doing half columns where the ghosted marks are would look right without also putting some at the outside corners of the porch - and it appears that the windows are there.

I would just leave the marks as a sign of the porch expansion - you often see similar things on old buildings. If anyone notices and comments you can always say something about being happy that the porch was enlarged by a previous owner.

Orlando, FL