How Much Does Porch Post Replacement Cost?
Oftentimes, porch posts and columns are crucial to the structural integrity of a home. Not only may they provide structure to the roof, or bear the weight of a second floor or porch overhang, they can also complement the overall appearance of your home. The exterior of your house is the first thing that people see, and porch posts can lend a certain aesthetic.
Most porch posts and columns are constructed out of wood, which can split, rot, and warp over time. As a result, it’s not uncommon for porch posts to eventually need replacing. If the damaged porch post is load-bearing, it’s best to have it replaced as soon as possible to prevent any further damage to your home. But, how much is it going to cost?
The average cost to replace porch posts is $400 per post if it is load-bearing. Homeowners spend an average of $1,800 to replace porch posts if there is structural damage. It costs another $450 per post to replace ornamental posts that aren’t integral to the structure of your home.
There are a number of factors to consider when it comes to porch post replacement costs. Continue reading for our comprehensive guide, outlining everything you need to know about this, often overlooked, home repair expense.
Average Rates to Install Porch Posts or Columns
If you have porch posts, or columns, that are in need of some attention, it may be time for a replacement. Over time, these posts become more vulnerable to cracking, warping, rot, and other signs of damage. With consistent exposure to rain, direct sunlight, and possibly even snow, the posts will start to wear. If the posts have minimal damage, you may be able to get away with filling the cracks in with wood putty and repainting.
However, if the posts have more extensive damage, removing the old posts and replacing them with new ones may be the best course of action. Generally speaking, the cost to replace porch posts will vary based on the style, material, and size you choose, as well as your location, the scope of the job, and the finish options you select.
On average, you can expect to pay between $367 and $515 to have a new porch post installed. Of course, your costs will be higher if you opt for a higher-quality post or something more ornate. The table below outlines the national average costs associated with replacing porch posts, including the cost of materials and labor:
|Average Cost Per Post (materials only)
|Average Cost for 1 Post (labor and materials)
|Average Cost Range for 1 Post (labor and materials)
|$367 to $515
Replacing a Load-Bearing Porch Post
It’s not uncommon for porch posts to be more than decorative features on the exterior of your home. They may support the weight of your roof, the second floor, or a porch overhang. If you have a load-bearing porch post that is significantly damaged, it may collapse which can result in serious injury. If you’ve determined that your damaged porch posts are load-bearing, you must have them replaced as soon as possible.
For this type of job, it’s always recommended to seek the help of a professional. They will be well-versed on local building codes and also the proper and safe way to remove the porch post and install a new one. The replacement involves providing temporary support while removing the old posts. If you neglect to support the roof of your porch, it could collapse and result in extensive (and expensive) damage to your home as well as the possible injury to the inhabitants.
In some cases, the roof may need to be raised with a jack so there is adequate space to install the new post. Your contractor will detach any trim or casing at the top and bottom of the post, then use a crowbar to dislodge the fasteners holding the post in place. This will expose the flange underneath, which connects the post to the roof and the porch. Once the flange is disconnected, the old post can be removed.
After the old post is removed, any remaining debris will be cleaned up by your contractor and the underside of the roof will be cleaned to ensure a smooth, level surface to attach the new post. At this point, your contractor may have to address any additional damage to the roof or floor of your porch before they can install the new post.
Then, the contractor will measure the distance from the roof to the floor of the porch to determine the size of the new post. When the post is aligned and level, it will be attached to the porch and checked to verify that it’s secure.
Cost to Replace a Load Bearing Porch Post
Hiring a professional to replace a load-bearing porch post will usually cost you between $300 and $500 on average. However, if your contractor determines that there is more damage to your home or the scope of the work is more extensive, you could end up paying much more – between $1,000 and $2,500.
To ensure proper installation, it’s important that you choose a professional that understands how load-bearing posts work and has plenty of experience in the matter. Depending on where you live, your contractor may also have to gather permits before the job can be completed. If permits are necessary, budget for an additional $100 to $200 added onto the total cost of the project. The actual cost of permits will depend on your local jurisdiction’s building permit prices.
Porch Post Labor Cost
In order to replace your porch post, your contractor first has to locate and properly alight the top and bottom blocks. Then, to provide adequate support, they will secure the blocks to the framing. The entire process of removing the old post and installing a new one usually takes between 2.5 and 5 hours. This may or may not include painting the new post to match your porch.
With that said, the labor cost to have new porch posts installed is $60 an hour on average. Of course, labor costs will vary based on where you live, current labor rates, and the demand. Whenever possible, we recommend obtaining a quote during the fall or winter season. During this time, work like this is in less of demand and you could get it done for a lower price.
Cost to Install Ornamental Porch Columns
If your porch posts aren’t load-bearing and are purely ornamental, you have many different styles to choose from. To remove the old and install new ornamental columns, most homeowners hire an experienced carpenter. However, a general contractor can also typically handle this type of work.
Aside from appearance, there is little difference in terms of price between replacing a standard porch post and an ornamental porch column. Though, if the old column is challenging to remove or your contractor has some difficulty installing the new one, you will be charged more for the extra labor. Here’s a breakdown of the costs you can expect when replacing an ornamental column on your porch:
- A standard ornamental porch column costs $225 each, on average. On the higher end, these columns can cost between $300 and $500 a piece.
- Most contractors charge $60 to $95 an hour to remove and replace ornamental porch columns. The amount of time the project takes will depend on the condition of the old column and the complexity of the installation of the new one.
- In total, you can expect to pay between $300 and $600 to have a new ornamental porch column installed. Factor in an additional 15% of the estimate for extra labor that may occur, just to be on the safe side.
Porch Post or Column Materials
If you’re replacing the ornamental columns or load-bearing posts on your porch, it’s important that you are aware of all the materials available. While wood is the most common, vinyl and fiberglass are also popular choices.
The cost of porch posts or ornamental columns varies considerably. On the low end, you could pay between $100 and $150 per column. On the high end, you’re looking at around $1,000, if not more. Ultimately, the cost depends on the material, style, size, and manufacturer.
- Wood: Due to its versatility, wood is the most popular choice for porch posts and columns. A wooden porch column is usually made from maple, oak, or pine. For those who want to stain their posts, pine is the best option as it accepts color much better than any other hardwood. While wood is very visually appealing, it is susceptible to rot, warping, splitting, and other damage from termites.
- Fiberglass: If you prefer something a bit more durable, fiberglass is the ideal choice. Fiberglass posts come in a range of styles and are designed to mimic wood, but with better durability. Fiberglass is resistant to weather damage, moisture, won’t attract insects, and takes paint well. Not to mention, you can wrap the material around existing columns to give them an ornamental look.
- Vinyl: Of all the materials, vinyl is the most budget-friendly option. While wood may be the best choice for load-bearing posts, vinyl can usually handle average loads pretty well. It typically comes in cream, almond, white, or off-white hues and may not accept paint as well as fiberglass or wood. Vinyl posts are generally easy to install and work with, especially if you’re in a hurry to replace your porch posts and want to save a bit of money on material costs.
Ornamental Porch Column Styles
New columns will not only add security to your porch, they can also enhance your home’s curb appeal while adding beauty to your porch space. These posts and columns come in a range of styles – from basic to contemporary to ornate. The following are some of the most popular options when it comes to ornamental porch columns:
1. Square Stain-Grain
Reminiscent of homes constructed at the turn of the century, this is a classic design that features a distinctive square shape. These posts are often stained to mimic the look of maple, oak, and other hard woods, giving your house a taste of daring architectural appeal. You’ll also find these columns on the porches of historic homes, with decorative carvings at the top and base for more visual interest.
If you want a very elegant look on your porch, consider pilasters. These posts come in a range of shapes, sizes, and designs, giving your home a sleek, stylish touch. Similar in design to the square posts, pilasters, though, are usually installed against a wall or used for interior design. Pilasters can be modified to go around a corner and are simple to install on a porch.
3. Round Wood
This column design consists of a smooth, round shape and may also feature a fluted detailing at the base and top. You can find paint-grade round wood columns that can be painted easily to match the color of your siding and your porch. Most round style posts range in size from around six to 10 inches wide, and can be up to 10 feet tall.
For added durability, opt for round wood columns that are made out of pine. Some round posts are wrapped around a solid steel support column for additional stability and strength.
Often found in basements to cover support jacks, lally style columns offer a simple, clean design. If you want something modern on your porch, this style is an excellent choice. Its square shape is typically finished off with a simple box at the top and base to create a minimalistic look.
5. Arts and Crafts
Commonly seen on the porches of bungalow-style homes, this style may also be referred to as mission, craftsman, or shaker. Arts and crafts columns consist of a tapered design, with the widest section at the base. They may be made out of PVC, MDF, or wood. If load-bearing, dimensional lumber will be installed inside of the column for extra support.
Jessica considers herself a home improvement and design enthusiast. She grew up surrounded by constant home improvement projects and owes most of what she knows to helping her dad renovate her childhood home. Being a Los Angeles resident, Jessica spends a lot of her time looking for her next DIY project and sharing her love for home design.
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