Spacer serving Magnolia, Ballard, Queen Anne, Greenlake and Leschi
Gary D Torgerson Co. Building Restoration SpecialistsQueen Anne Colonial House Painting
Torgerson Company - Seattle Home Page Residential Exterior House Painting in Seattle Residential Interior Painting in Seattle Residential Repair in Seattle Major Remodel & Construction in Seattle Contact Gary D Torgerson Company
Residential Repair > Columns & Posts

Columns & Posts

A Short Discussion of columns and Posts:

The aesthetic appeal of columns and posts is self evident. In modern construction they generally exist only in a simplified form. In a now long ago past of low labor costs and abundant old growth lumber, however, elegantly designed columns and posts were major design elements in upscale residential construction.

From the standpoint of preservation, columns and posts deserve special attention. Obviously slender and isolated, and commonly exposed to weather, they nonetheless carry loads that otherwise would be born by load bearing walls. A rotted column or post can be tolerated only at the jeopardy of the construction it supports.

Timely and skilled repair and maintenance is important far out of proportion to size. Replacement of these often complex structures provides an economic object lesson in why today’s home construction is typically far less ornate.

View Examples of Our Work:
The following documents Gary D. Torgerson Co. expertise in column and post repair and replacement.

Example 1

Eight years earlier repairs were attempted to the base of this column and its pad. Unfortunately the ill advised procedures simply retained moisture and accelerated the rate of decay. The column and pad were now beyond repair.
(3) Newly installed replacement column and pad
All surfaces were comprehensively precoated for moisture protection prior to final assembly.

Example 2

(1) One of three rotted out replacement columns
Regrettably their vulnerable end grain had not been sealed prior to installation. Seemingly localized surface decay in fact was only late appearing evidence of massive decay within.
(2) Column fabrication
The columns were first assembled from flat segments, then subsequently turned to final cylindrical form. End grain was soaked in a sealer-preservative.
(3) Finished column
In addition to sealing the end grain, the column base-pad juncture was heavily caulked for added protection against a repeat of the past.

Example 3

These column pads and their foundations illustrate the indeterminate nature of rot repair. On the basis of initial appearance the decay might have been superficial. In fact it extended all the way down through the column’s foundation to the ground.

Example 4

(1) One of four seven year old columns installed without a top cap flashing.
(2) Rip out, and reconstruction in progress
(3) Completed replacement
Reappearance of decay is most unlikely. The new columns and pads are inert fiberglass

Example 5
Example 6
With the passage on ninety-three years the glued joints of this otherwise sound fluted column had separated. The column was reassembled with newly glued joints backed up by reinforcing screws.
(1) Replacement of these obviously distressed columns utilized fiberglass pads, and the columns’ end grain was sealed. Recurrence of decay is unlikely.

Example 7

(1) This otherwise well sheltered eighty-five year old terra cotta capital fell victim to a defective drain.
(2) Repair in progress
(3) Restored capital

Example 8

(1) Paint was all that held this capital together.
(2) A sound capital from another location was employed to construct a mold, and a replacement capital was cast.
(3) Installed replacement capital, and completion.

Example 9
Example 10

Unsheltered junctures of wood and horizontal masonry must be suspect. Base trim concealed pervasive decay at the base of this structurally critical corner post.
(1) The end grain had not been sealed on this replacement post, a most reliable recipe for the future to repeat the past. Note that the precoated base trim, installed following repair, does not contact the masonry.

Example 11
Example 12

(1) These corner posts illustrate the consequences of moisture intrusion behind unsealed trim bands. That the decay remained relatively localized is a tribute to the quality of the old growth lumber. In the course of restoration, all surfaces were precoated, and the new trim bands were set in caulk.
The posts of this never completed entry rebuild reflect contemporary departure from building practices of the past. They are fabricated of soft second growth wood finger-jointed together. They were replaced with posts of traditional box construction.

Example 13

Example 14

Example 15

(1) This post graphically illustrates how not to perform a repair. The repaired post’s base is now sealed, pressure treated lumber. Note that the trim band’s top edge is beveled and its base does not contact the concrete.
(1) Structurally critical corner post of a thirteen year old custom home Myriad separations provided entry for moisture and consequent decay in both post and wing wall. The new box member post now rests on a disguised metal flashing.
(1) The consequence of an unsealed juncture of raw wood to raw wood. While this recently installed decorative entry post is non-weight bearing, the developing rot in time could migrate into adjoining structures, a serious consequence stemming from a seemingly minor omission. Pre-coating, caulked seams, and the new trim band’s sloped top edge now guard against recurring moisture intrusion.