Which Porch Post Is Right For You?
Porch posts serve as necessary structural support for the porch roof. In addition, they are often built much bigger for design or decorative reasons.
In most cases, a 4 x 4 or two 2 x 4s nailed together are structurally all that is required for porch posts.
Sometimes wide brick bases and tapered fiber cement tops are added for decorative purposes.
What is right for you? Before you decide, check out some of the drawbacks below to commonly used options.
Material Options For Porch Posts
Built Out Columns
Large columns have been a trend in home building for the last few years.
Typically, they are designed with a base made of fiber cement or a brick facade attached to treated plywood.
Most columns are built around a pressure treated 4 x 4 so that in theory, they should last a long time.
Unfortunately, some builders bury the pressure treated 4 x4 in the concrete of the front porch.
This still meets code requirements. However, the concrete greatly speeds up decay of the post, even if the post is pressure treated.
Decorative wrap hides this issue. As a result, decay is prevented from being detected until it’s too late.
Cedar is naturally resistant to decay and it makes a great porch post.
When stained properly, cedar is just beautiful.
However, cedar is extremely expensive, especially for the large sizes needed for posts.
It also has a tendency to check and get surface cracks the longer it is exposed to heat and weather conditions. This doesn’t compromise the strength integrity of the post, nevertheless, it does diminish the pristine look over time.
I’ll briefly add that fir posts are quite a bit less expensive than cedar but have a higher tendency to check as well.
Glue Laminated Posts
Glue laminated posts are gaining traction every year. They bridge the gap between old 4 x 4 pots and newer, trendy built-out columns.
Glu-lam posts are very stable and resistant to checking and cracking. They are available in sizes up to 8″ x 8″.
Some manufacturers offer hollow glue-laminated posts for easy routing of electrical components.
If you opt for glue-laminated posts, look carefully at design and attachment requirements as some bases cannot and should not be used.
Make sure and check the structural value of the post, as this varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.
There is only one GLB porch post that has a preservative treatment as a standard feature. That is XT Post by Belco.
Belco’s preservative treatment protects against moisture over its lifetime with a 20-year warranty.
XT Post is offered as a solid porch post configuration or with an electrical chase. Either option is the same price point.
Installation is a breeze: just pour the concrete for the porch, set the bracket, and attach the porch post, no wrap required.
We have a complete list of 5 Benefits of Choosing Laminated Posts and Columns for further information.
Have the porch your neighbors envy, use preservative-treated XT Posts on your next project.