Today I’m going to show you all how I added some major curb appeal to my house by creating DIY Craftsman style porch columns. This is a great weekend project and will give your front porch a beautiful update, whether you decide to stain them, like I did, or paint them.
I’ve been obsessed with Craftsman style homes for many years… I can remember when we were a young married couple living in Salt Lake City, I would admire all the Craftsman style homes. They had darling front porches with the signature columns that showcased the hand-crafted look. Last summer I added Craftsman style shutters around my windows and I’ve been planning and scheming ever since then, to ‘beef’ up my columns by wrapping them in stained wood. Well, last week I made that dream a reality when I shared my front porch makeover.
Previously, our columns were simple 6x6s wrapped in a white metal flashing-type material. It was really lack-luster.
Now they have character!
The first thing we did was remove that white metal column wraps, and this is what we were left with:
I feel like what I chose to do was “ALL THE THINGS” and hopefully you can figure out what you want to omit (if anything) from my tutorial to achieve the look you think is best for your home.
So this is what the process entailed:
-Wrap columns in wood, including top trim
-Build separate base unit
-Build and attach a non-load-bearing column
-Attach base unit to column and finish cap trim
Like I said, maybe you just want to wrap your columns in wood, but don’t want that ‘beefier’ base unit. Maybe you want to wrap the columns in wood with the base unit, but you don’t want to add an additional column. Maybe you want to want to wrap your columns in wood, but want to paint them, instead of stain them. Whatever the case, I hope this is helpful!
Materials Needed for 2 Columns w/Base Units: (some affiliate links below)
**(Make sure and check all wood so that it is as straight as possible with no warping or knots on the edges)**
4- 1×8 boards @ 8′
6- 1×6 boards @ 8′
4- 1×10 boards @ 8′
2- 1×3 boards @ 8′
100- 2″ brad nails (or regular nails if you don’t have an electric brad nailer)
220 grit sandpaper
Tools Needed: (Affiliate links below)
Electric brad nailer or pneumatic nail gun
Step 1: Attach Boards Around Existing Columns
Measure height of your porch columns and cut 4- 1x6s to that size. Place glue on one side of the 1×6’s and nail onto the sides of the columns at the top, middle and bottom. If needed, use a clamp to get the board lined up straight and even with existing column, and to get it snug onto the 6×6. Once both sides are attached, glue and place the 1×8 onto the front of the column. Nail it into place and repeat this process for the back 1×8 board.
Step 2: Attach Top 1×6 Trim
Cut 4 pieces of 1×6 @ ~7 1/2″ on the short side and ~9 inches on the long side with mitered angles on both ends. **Measure the exact width of each side of the column before making these cuts, as sometimes the 1×8 boards are a little less than 7 1/2″ (which is the nominal width they are supposed to be). I find it best to cut them a little large and then shave of a little until the perfect fit is found.** Glue the backs and the mitered edges before nailing into place at the top of the column
Step 3: Build Base Unit
From the 1×10 boards, cut 8- 36″ pieces. Place one of the boards propped up on some stacked scrap wood (or books or paint cans, or whatever you want), so that it is about 9 1/2″ off the ground. Slide another board under the ‘propped up’ board so that they are flush and perpendicular. Glue and nail them together.
(Pictured above is basically how you will be building the box… except you won’t attach the last side until it is installed around the column)
Turn those two attached boards so that one is on the ground and the other is up. Use scrap wood to prop up another board that will sit on the edge of the board that is sitting up. Note that each side will only have one edge with nails. All the 1×10 boards will have one edge that is on the ‘inside’ and one edge that is one the ‘outside’. Once the third board is glued and nailed into place, stand it upright.
Step 4: Trim Out Base Unit
Measure and 45 degree miter cut 4- 1x3s @ 10″ on the short side and 11 1/2″ on the long side (double check and measure the actual width of the columns so that your mitered joints are nice and tight). Glue and nail each side into place on all three sides of the base unit, flush with the top.
Measure and 45 degree miter cut 4- 1x6s @ 10″ on the short side and 11 1/2″ on the long side. Glue and nail each side into place on all 3 sides of the base unit flush with the bottom. Note that you should have an extra, 1×10 board that is 36″ tall, an extra 1×3 and and extra 1×6– set them aside for when you install them around your column.
Step 5: Stain Wood
Fill nail holes and seams with wood filler. Let dry and sand completely with 220 grit sandpaper. Sand all the wood, even if it didn’t have wood filler, to remove woodmill residue/layer. Follow exterior stain instructions and clean/sand the wood properly. Apply 2 coats of stain on entire column (without base unit attached), and both sides of the column base. This ensures that water won’t damage the inside, even if water gets into seams/cracks.
Step 6: Attach Base Unit to Columns
Wrap base unit around one of the columns so that the open side is facing the house. Put the 4th side of base unit into place and attach it securely using glue and nails. Attach the top 1×3 trim piece last (cut to fit). Attach 1/2″ plywood spacers between the column and the base unit on all 4 sides, driving 2 1/2″ nails directly under the 1×3. You might have to use some shims to get the base unit tight on all side and level. The nails should go through the base unit, through the 1/2″ spacer, and into the column.
Step 7: Attach Cap Trim to Base Unit
Cut 8 pieces of 1×3 @ ~7 1/2″ on the short side and ~12 1/2″ on the long side (45 degree angle cuts on each end). Measure each side individually and cut accordingly to get the best fit. Glue and nail the 1×3 cap trim pieces to the top of the base unit. Fill nail holes with wood filler, sand and apply 2 coats of stain to match the rest of the columns.
Optional Step: Build Faux Column & Attach to Porch
To build a non-load-bearing column, simple build a ‘box’ using the same size boards as you wrapped your other columns in. However, you won’t attach the last side until the column is properly in place. Measure the height of where you want the additional column to be and cut the 1x6s and 1x8s accordingly. Try to get as close to the actual height as possible, so your boards will be nice and snug (dry fit before installing). Note that the height will be slightly smaller than the columns on either end of the porch. Attach the 2- 1x6s to each side of the 1×8 with glue and nails. Put your column box into place (make sure to measure placement on the ‘ceiling’ beam and on the ground so that it is evenly and symmetrically spaced from the door). You may need to use a mallet to tap the box into place, or even use shims in some edges (in case the ground is uneven).
To attach the column box to the porch, measure and mark where 2- L brackets will fit on the inside of the column at the bottom and at the top. Pre-drill holes into the concrete (using a concrete/masonry drill bit) and attach the brackets using concrete anchor screws. Attach the other end of the L brackets using 1″ wood screws (the screw tips might come out the other side a bit, but it will be covered by the column base unit). Repeat this process for the top of the column box, but instead of using concrete anchors, use 2 1/2″ porch screws to attach the brackets into the ‘ceiling’ beam. Once the column box is securely in place and brackets are all attached, attach the 4th side of the box using wood glue and nails. Finish off the top trim of the column using 1x6s with mitered corners, as was done in Step 2.
Not bad, eh? These would look beautiful painted white as well… and if you painted them, you could use caulk instead of wood filler if you wanted to.
I hope you found this tutorial helpful! Let me know if you have any questions!
To see Front Porch Makeover go HERE.
To see Craftsman Shutters Tutorial go HERE.
To see Number Sign Planter go HERE.
To see Craftsman Cedar Window Planters go HERE.
Exterior Brick Paint – Behr Masonry, Stucco and Brick Paint in Dove Gray
Door and Shutter Paint – Behr Marquee Exterior Satin Enamel Paint in Creek Bend
Stain for Columns and Planters – Behr Semi-Transparant Waterproofing Sealer and Stain in Chocolate
Porch Tile – MSI Brick Porcelain Tile in Red
Number Sign Numbers – Hillman Group Black Elevated House Numbers
Shutter Hardware – Richelieu Black Gate Hardware