Installing Hardwood Columns

Our Installation Guide for Columns

If installing hardwood columns outdoors, it is crucial that they be treated to resist insect damage and rotting. Ventilation is equally important, as hardwood columns need to be vented from top and bottom. Ventilation can be done in either of two ways – by using a ventilated plinth and soffit, or with a ventilated plinth and recessed soffit. Ventilation not only prevents the accumulation of moisture inside the columns, but also allows the air inside the columns to change with the exterior environment, thus allowing the wood to expand and contract evenly. While installing, care should be taken to avoid any blocking inside the column shaft. Blocking hinders the natural movement of air inside the column, and interferes with the expansion and contraction processes.


For Assembly

1. 2 ½ inch drywall screws or finishing nails. These have to be anti corrosive, and may be made of stainless steel or silicon bronze.
2. Six corrosion resistant dowels. You can also use masonry plugs and screws.
3. High grade silicone caulk
4. Wood adhesive and cabinet maker’s band clamps if you’re installing split columns
5. Flashing
6. Shellac

For Prefinishing

1. Oil based primer
2. Asphalt wood sealer
3. Sandpaper

For Finishing

1. Wood putty
2. Wood filler
3. Liquid aluminum
4. 220 grit sandpaper
5. Oil based paint

Storage Instructions

Prior to installation, all columns, capitals and bases must be stored in dry conditions with adequate ventilation. Temperatures should be moderate and extreme high and low variances must be avoided. All wood components must be coated with 2 coats of an oil base primer and a single coat of paint. Avoid using any type of alcohol based sealers. Apply asphaltum inside the column up to a length of 3 feet. Also apply to the inside wall of the base.

To make installation easier, mark each set of split bases, capitals and shafts. You’ll find it easier to match them during the time of assembly.

How to Attach the Capital to the Base

Caulk the area where the base meets the shaft. Predrill holes for drywall screws either though the shaft or through the capital to attach the long screws to the shaft.

The Assembly

If it’s possible to raise the soffit, draw a line from the innermost hole of the plug, cut and attach to the soffit to the point where the capital is to be secured. Lift the soffit enough so the assembly can glide in and under the plug. Finally the capitals should be flashed and the edges crimped down over the flashing. Remember to caulk before setting it under the soffit.

If raising the soffit isn’t an option, drill holes through it that will enable it to be directly screwed into the capital. Secure the capital in place by using screws.

To Finish

Seal screws with silicone caulk and smoothen out all scratches and cuts using wood putty and sand smooth. Finally, apply two coats of premium grade acrylic latex paint.