Porch columns


I'm getting ready to replace the columns & railings on my front porch. The originals are wood, 16 years old, and beginning to come apart at the finger joints, etc. For a maintenance-free solution I like the vinyl-over-pipe columns such as the HB&G PermaPost units, but they have a bit of a sterile look to them (for lack of a better word) and, I don't see any good way to attach a flag pole bracket. I could drill through into the pipe, but it seems there would be some risk of goobering up the column trying to drill blind into a round pipe without being able to center punch it first.
So, I'm wondering about low- or no-maintenance solutions that are of some other sort of composite material, resin-wood combination, or the like, but am not having much luck searching the Net. Any advice or experience here would be greatly appreciated!
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What I might try is temporarily securing the bracket to the column with tape or baling wire or whatever and then using the holes in the bracket as the drilling guide.
Charlie
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Thanks Charlie, but locating the holes on the outside of the column isn't really the problem. The concern is that I'd be drilling into a round pipe in the middle of the column (after penetrating ~1" of foam). Drilling a hole in a round pipe without starting with a punch is hard enough when you can *see* the hole location, let alone when you can't. Another concern is that tightening the screws down (assuming the holes got drilled correctly) would distort and stress the vinyl skin, and eventually cause it to crack.
Mike
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Mike wrote:

On fiberglass streetlight and traffic signal poles, they usually use external wrap-around clamps, sometimes even just a couple of the extra-huge hose clamps tied together. Too ugly, obviously. Perhaps you can find a wrap-around flagpole bracket online, or in one of the fancy shops? Does the flagpole have to mount to the column? Is there another plausible place on the front of your house to put it? Perhaps a decorative block fastened to the porch rail, maybe also including the address number? If there are wooden newel posts in the runs of porch railing, you could make one a few inches taller, and put one of those decorative pointy caps on it, with the flagpole socket on the front. Hard to say without seeing your existing porch and/or any design changes you plan to make. There is always a way.
-- aem sends...
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..
Unfortunately the design of the front of this house doesn't allow for many flag mounting options; the porch column *was* the last resort :-). However - I hadn't considered some sort of wraparound affair, so I'll see what I can find or make on that front. Thanks for the ideas, if anyone has more I'd love to hear them!
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..
Unfortunately the design of the front of this house doesn't allow for many flag mounting options; the porch column *was* the last resort :-). However - I hadn't considered some sort of wraparound affair, so I'll see what I can find or make on that front. Thanks for the ideas, if anyone has more I'd love to hear them!
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Home Depot, or maybe it was Lowes, has what I thought were some nice structural fiberglass posts. The ones they usually stock are round/ tapered, but I think square ones are available through special order.
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