I plan to build a roof for my front porch that will connect to the
steep-pitched roof of my brick cape cod house. I want to use 2 square
columns, about 7" or so wide by about 8' tall.
These columns will support beams coming from the house. The beams
support the rafters of the porch roof. Since the columns will be
load-bearing, I want them to be solid instead of hollow. I was
thinking about pressure treated wood.
But I want the columns to be painted white. I don't have experience
painting pressure treated wood. I'm thinking it might now work well.
Any ideas? Should I cover a center post with better wood for painting?
I would buy the prefab kind of columns with the metal tube down the
center but they don't have any plain smooth square columns at Home
Depot. I don't want something fancy. Any ideas?
Go some place other than Home Depot? You local lumber yard may have a
better selection. I've seen things like you describe used on TOH or some
There are many nice items that you'll never find in the mass market stores.
I would use the unassembled box colums made of cellular pvc around a
metal or pressure treated wood post. The cellular pvc can be shaped,
machined, and painted like wood but it doesn't split, warp, crack, or
rot. Just make sure that the ones you buy come disassembled because
you will need to connect the parts around the inner post. Most come in
two sections, each with two sides of the column.
Some of the cellular pvc components sold are already factory finished.
If you must paint them yourself, I would recommend a two part epoxy
paint for extreme durability. Nothing looks worse than high tech
composite materials with peeling paint.
Check with the local lumber yards to see what is available.
It might depend on the look you are after. You should be able to find
6x6 and 8x8 rough cedar if you don't mind the look. It can be
painted. You might be able to have the yard surface it for if you
don't want the rough surface. You would still have the knots to
You might also be able to find fir beams.
I would prefer a solid post myself. You can easily box in the
supporting posts to get the look you are after but I would be
concerned that over time the joints might come apart or at least
become visible. If the posts were not standing in the weather, I
wouldn't be so worried about that.
PT lumber can be painted but you must wait long enough to ensure that
it is dry enough. After treatment the lumber can be really wet and if
it is too wet, paint may not adhere. The bigger problem you will face
is that the surface of common PT lumber will not be good enough for
what you are describing. There will be many checks, cracks, knots,
etc. So you probably would want to cover it as you asked, or use a
steel post and build a wooden box around it. That is a pretty common
Much of the presssure treated wood has perforations to aid in
absorptiion of the chemicals. These perforations will detract from the
appearance of the columns. Of course you can fill the holes but it does
entail a lot of extra work. The print will stick to the wood OK -- I
have painted numerous posts.
Wow. Six great answers to my original post. This is great. Thank you
everybody! I've decided to use 6x6 pressure treated posts, and then
box them in with a more paint-able wood. I may use construction
adhesive and a brad nailer for this. I'm trying not to end up with any
space between the structural post and the box around it which may trap
moisture as carpenter ants are a problem on my side porch with hollow
support posts. Then again, the side porch is untreated wood that sits
in puddles after it rains, whereas here I plan to use those metal post
bases that hold the post a half inch above the porch surface. I'll try
to post a link to a picture once I get started. Thanks again. I
really appreciate the replies.
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