Lots of homeowners like to spend quality time on the porch. Whether the front porch serves as a space to sit and chat with neighbors or it simply serves as a comforting place to welcome you home after a long day, creating the perfect porch setting often means selecting quality porch posts that complement the overall aesthetic of your home.
Essentially, a porch post is a beam or column that extends from the floor or base of the porch to the awning. Because porch posts are intended to support a larger structure, like an awning or even a balcony above, it’s absolutely essential that they are sturdy, reliable, and capable of acting as beams that can support a significant amount of weight.
And yet, the function of a porch post surpasses the basic utility of holding up a raised feature. Porch posts are an essential part of communicating style and design, too. That is why color, material choice, and ornamentation are important things to consider when choosing the right porch post for your home.
Here, we’ll take a look at things to consider when choosing the right porch post, along with providing a few unique porch post design ideas that might catch your eye or ignite your design imagination. Take a look!
Considerations When Choosing the Right Porch Posts
One of the most important things to consider when choosing the right porch post is the weight bearing capacity of a given support beam. Just because a beam may appear larger and thicker doesn’t necessarily mean that it is capable of holding up more weight! In fact, some of the larger wood porch posts are actually hollow on the inside. As you can imagine, the type of material that a porch post is made from can make a big difference as to its weight bearing capacity. Be sure to determine the weight bearing capacity of your favorite porch post options to ensure structural integrity.
In addition to affecting structural integrity and weight bearing capacity, porch post material type can influence maintenance and upkeep. Some materials, like fiber cement or engineered wood, will require much less upkeep than other more fragile materials, like natural wood. Homeowners should consider how much upkeep they are comfortable committing to when selecting a porch post material.
A third element to consider is the visual design of the porch post. While there are many attractive porch post styles and designs, you’ll want to ensure that the porch post you’ve picked out will match the rest of the home’s exterior. In addition, decide whether you want the porch to draw attention and serve as a focal point, or if you want it to merge seamlessly into the larger image of the home? Imagining the big picture image of the space can help sort out which porch posts are better suited for the project.
Porch Post Materials
Traditional Wood Porch Posts
While traditional wood porch posts create a nostalgic and classic feel, they can also require an incredible amount of upkeep and maintenance. Because natural wood is more susceptible to damage from moisture, sun, and insects, be prepared to take on a regular cycle of repainting, reinforcing, and sometimes replacing porch posts that have warped, rotted, or become weak.
Treated Wood Porch Posts
Capturing the same traditional look as natural wood, treated wood porch posts are stronger, more durable, and require much less maintenance due to upgraded treatment and finishing processes.
Vinyl Porch Posts
An advantage of vinyl porch posts is that they can often create a very cohesive look when other parts of the home’s exterior include vinyl. However, vinyl can be a tricky material to work with, as it can be easily damaged from impact, wind, and moisture. In many cases, vinyl can also crack and warp, so regular maintenance – and sometimes replacement – can be anticipated when selecting this material as a porch post.
Aluminum Porch Posts
While aluminum offers a metallic alternative to other material types, the quality of this building material often varies depending on the manufacturer. Thin aluminum can easily become dented, which is not ideal in areas that experience hail or other extreme weather. In addition, aluminum can be susceptible to rust, which should be taken into consideration when selecting it as a porch post material.
7 Porch Posts Design Ideas
1. Basic Vertical Beams Porch Posts
A conservative and classic approach to porch posts, basic vertical beams provide clean lines that blend particularly well with matching banisters, railing, and soffit features. Basic vertical porch posts are a great choice for homes that already feature a significant amount of ornamentation in a relatively small space.
2. Contrasting Post Wrap Porch Posts
Porch post wrap is a great way to add an exciting, eye-catching element to an otherwise subdued exterior. By combining contrasting features, like a stone wrap base with a solid white column, homeowners are able to play with different materials to create an attractive exterior.
3. Wooden Buttress Style Porch Posts
Mimicking interior or exterior buttressing is a great way to extend design elements to the porch posts. In addition to creating an impressive visual effect, wooden buttressing also adds an extra layer of structural integrity to the home.
4. Stately Design Porch Posts
Cylindrical porch posts – especially those that are presented in solid white – can carry a stately look, which is particularly attractive on larger estates. Red brick siding is a wonderful complement to this style of porch post, which can be considered a timeless classic.
5. Earth Tones Wrap Porch Posts
To express a natural aesthetic, sticking with earth tones can be a great idea. Natural wood porch posts can show off unique wood grain patterns that blend well with dark siding and stone siding features.
6. Multi-Level Porch Posts
For double-decker porches, lining up porch posts can create quite a visual impact, elongating the beams and making the building structure appear slightly taller than it is.
7. Twin Columns Porch Posts
Twin columns are a great way to add extra flair to porch posts. Twin columns tend to be thinner in composition, which helps the look of the porch maintain a light, airy, and welcoming presence rather than a heavy appearance.
Make it Your Own
From material choice and weight bearing capacity to design, there are many things to consider when choosing the right porch posts for your home! Consult with a professional and select the option that fits your budget, style, and structural needs.