Front Exterior & Front Yard

How To Wrap Front Porch Posts (Turn Skimpy Front Porch Posts Into Pretty Columns) – Part 1

After working on my porch floor for several very long days without a break (if you missed it, you can click here to see my porch floor project where I built a wood porch over an existing concrete porch), Matt insisted that I take a day off to recuperate. I definitely needed it, but at the same time, I was chomping at the bit all day Tuesday to go out and wrap the front porch posts. So yesterday, there was no stopping me. I’ve been so anxious to do this project for a very long time, and my one singular goal yesterday was to get as far as I could with turning those skimpy, plain 4″ x 4″ front porch posts into pretty, decorative columns with a traditional style.

So after working until it was too dark to work anymore last night, this is what I had accomplished.

I ended up going with the simple design rather than the tiered design that I really wanted. And since I only have three columns on the whole porch, and I decided to forgo the balustrade and the tiered column design, I made these columns a bit thicker and chunkier than I had originally planned. I really like the more substantial look.

I’m still undecided about how I want to trim out the tops of the columns. I have a couple of ideas rolling around in my head, so hopefully I can make a final decision and get it done today.

So let me show you how I went from skimpy 4 x 4 posts to (mostly) trimmed out 6.75″ columns. (Note: If you plan to tackle this project, please be sure to read Part 2 of this project. The link to that post is at the end of this post. I show some very important design changes that I made and the reason those changes were necessary.)

The first step was to add spacers around the posts. I started by cutting six 5-inch-long pieces of 1″ x 4″ lumber for each post, and attaching one piece to either side of the post using exterior construction adhesive and 16-gauge 2-inch nails.

And then I cut six more pieces to go on the front and back of the post. These had to be ripped down to the correct width using my table saw.

I repeated that on the middle of the post and the top of the post (which is why I needed six pieces of each size).

On the other two posts — the ones that flank the front door — I actually put both of the side spacers on the left side. The reason I did this is because when I stood back and looked at the posts flanking the front door, the door looked just a touch off center between the posts. So to try to correct that, I used the spacers to try to move those two columns over to the left just a bit. So here are the two side spacers attached to the left side of the post…

And then I did the front and back spacers the regular way…

And just like the end post, I did the spacers at the bottom, middle and top of each post. Here are the two posts flanking the front door with the spacers attached to three sides of the posts…

Next, I used my table saw to rip some pre-primed lumber to the correct widths to make a box around the posts and spacers. For each box, I used two pieces that were ripped to 6.75 inches wide, and two pieces that were ripped to 5.25 inches wide. I put three of the pieces together (the two narrow ones and one wide one) using wood glue and 1.5-inch 16-gauge nails.

After letting the glue dry for a few minutes. I placed the 3-sided box around the post and spacers.

And then I attached the fourth piece (the second wide piece) in the same way.

That gave me the basic column, but of course, I wanted to dress it up a bit. I started by cutting pieces of 1″ x 8″ pre-primed lumber to fit around the base. I didn’t miter the corners because my miter saw does a terrible job at mitering any lumber wider than a 1 x 5. But with wood filler, sanding, and caulk, this will look just as good.

And then I used two of my favorite decorative moldings — panel molding and base cap molding — to finish trimming out the base.

Since the panel molding is raw wood and it’s sitting at the base, I pre-primed the bottom and back side with oil-based primer before attaching it. The front and top edge will be primed before I paint the column.

And that’s it so far. Like I mentioned above, I didn’t trim out the top because I’m still undecided on exactly how I want to finish the tops. But I can assure you that I won’t be leaving them plain like that. 🙂

When I stopped for the evening, I had the two columns by the front door both completely wrapped and the base trim attached. The third column was still at this stage…

And here are a couple of pictures that I took early this morning showing the two columns at the front door…

And that’s the progress so far!

UPDATE:

The columns are finished! Click the links below to see the rest of the posts for this project.



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74 Comments

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    joan p habinowski
    March 15, 2018 at 9:51 am

    wow – looks great

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Matt "The Hubs" Linauer
    March 15, 2018 at 9:52 am

    I often find myself at a loss for describing how amazed I am about the skill of this AMAZING woman, but I think this word comes close as any word can…..WOWEE!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Coleen Wright
      March 15, 2018 at 11:05 am

      A compliment any wife would be extremely pleased to hear from her husband! And you are right, her skills and determination are quite impressive!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Marilyn Canaday
      March 15, 2018 at 11:23 am

      I agree!! She continues to amaze me! I can’t tell you how much I enjoy Kristi’s blog!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Nadine
      March 15, 2018 at 11:48 am

      @Matt – My sentiments exactly. She amazes & inspires me with every post.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Cyndee
      March 15, 2018 at 1:27 pm

      Totally awesome job. Totally talented wife. Take care of each other.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kimberly
      March 15, 2018 at 7:37 pm

      She IS amazing, Matt! There are some really good blogs out there in blogland, but to me Kristi’s is by far the best of them all. A complete standout above the rest. The range and breadth of projects she does and work she takes on never ceases to astound me. Her talents and skills are practically limitless. I’ll never get over how much energy she has — she has the strength, vitality, and ideas of at least 10 individual humans all crammed into her tiny little frame!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Birdie
    March 15, 2018 at 10:09 am

    Everything you do is beautiful-you never cease to amaze me!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Judy
    March 15, 2018 at 10:14 am

    WOWEE is right! This looks sooo good! And good for you, Matt, for making her take some time to recuperate – she just goes full bore with such wonderful ideas, doesn’t she?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Mary Henderson
    March 15, 2018 at 10:24 am

    I’m so glad you went with this style of column. I think you’ll be happy with the simplicity

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Guerrina
    March 15, 2018 at 10:34 am

    Love it! Thanks, Matt, for making Kristi take a break! You rock!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Gaye Austin
    March 15, 2018 at 10:44 am

    What a transformation! Kristi this is great.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    marcia greene
    March 15, 2018 at 10:48 am

    top same as bottom – simple and classic

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Shannon
    March 15, 2018 at 10:51 am

    Looks awesome, you are doing a great job!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Robin
    March 15, 2018 at 11:10 am

    👍❤️

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    cary thomson
    March 15, 2018 at 11:12 am

    Goodness that looks terrific.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Robbie
    March 15, 2018 at 11:16 am

    The column design looks fantastic and I love how you adjusted the column by the front door. I’m always so happy when I see you have a new post. You do amazing work! BTW Matt, so nice of you to ask her to take a rest!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Shanda Maiolo
    March 15, 2018 at 11:17 am

    Amazing

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Hannah
    March 15, 2018 at 11:18 am

    Looks great! I like the columns without trimming at the top. It’s hard to tell if there’s enough room at the top for trim without the trim sticking out in front of the header board (or whatever the top board under the roof is called).

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    JILL NELSON
    March 15, 2018 at 11:22 am

    As I read your post today – I instantly thought…’your neighbors must love you!” It’s hard to believe all you’ve done to take a run down looking home and make it beautiful. Of course, we all appreciate the inside work you’ve done – but most people will never see the inside. It will be a pleasure to drive down your road and something your neighbors will greatly appreciate!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kimberly
      March 15, 2018 at 7:40 pm

      I second this statement! Goodness knows I’d love to have her as a neighbor — she’s improved the look of the house immensely, and has made the neighborhood more beautiful with her work.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Rebecca B
      March 15, 2018 at 8:16 pm

      I thought the same. Hopefully this will inspire the neighbors to keep up with the Linauers!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Rebecca Neustel
      March 19, 2018 at 2:39 am

      The only problem if she was my neighbor, I would be comparing my house to hers and feeling terribly inadequate!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Marlyn Bisher
    March 15, 2018 at 11:22 am

    I’m loving the transfaormation! So many porch posts are too narrow in proportion to the house. Well done!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Tracy
    March 15, 2018 at 11:29 am

    Looks so good. Glad you went more simple. I totally get the frustration of wanting one design but another just works better. When I get something in my mind like that I obsess and it’s hard to shift gears. Bravo to you.
    When the porch columns are finished can we get a before/after picture of the whole house so we can see how amazing it is from the street please?

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi
      March 15, 2018 at 11:32 am

      Absolutely! I tried to take one this morning, but I have so much stuff in the way — two tables with all of my tools, my truck parked in the front yard with for easy access to the lumber in the back of the truck, etc. hopefully I can get the columns finished and get all of my tools and supplies cleaned up by the end of the day so I can get some full view pics.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Theresa P
    March 15, 2018 at 11:32 am

    The porch is really looking great! I can’t wait for you to finish it up and work on the yard. I’m so impatient. I don’t know how you deal with the waiting. LOL!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Darlene
    March 15, 2018 at 11:41 am

    Do your neighbors come over and talk to you about all your hard work and how pretty your home is!?! If I was your neighbor, I would have my lawn chair and coffee out there….watching every move you make….just like a live tv show!!!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Karen
      March 15, 2018 at 11:43 am

      haha, Darlene, I posted a similar question along with yours… It must be fabulous to living next to Kristi and being able to watch her work!!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Tara Tosh Kennedy
      March 17, 2018 at 7:57 am

      I bet they all love talking to you and each other about all this amazing stuff!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Karen
    March 15, 2018 at 11:42 am

    It’s looking great already and you haven’t even finished them yet! I love that you decided to have the chunky bit only at the bottom and not much further up as I think that this suits your house font perfectly! I keep imagining your neighbours coming round while you are working on outside projects and questioning you about them – such as how you manage all that, where your inspiration comes from – and admiring what you do. is that happening irl as well or only in my head???
    Btw, I am glad that Matt makes you relax and take time off, my husband does that all the time with me. And even if I chafe at the request, he is mostly right and it does me very good to take a break. So: well done, to both you and Matt, too 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Jane
    March 15, 2018 at 11:43 am

    You are truly amazing. The things you accomplish and the care with which you do all your upgrades … wowie. Thank you so much for sharing. I really enjoy seeing your progress. xo

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Joyce
    March 15, 2018 at 11:43 am

    Wow….beautiful as always. What kind of feedback to you get from your neighbors?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Susan
    March 15, 2018 at 11:51 am

    Quite simply, “You are my hero!”

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    CINDY SCHWARZ
    March 15, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    You did it again! Beautiful craftsmanship and skills. I am always impressed at how you push yourself to learn and do things. The porch looks so warm and inviting. 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Alma Miranda
    March 15, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    WOW!! Now I have to print this too to follow directions. You are amazing!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Alma Miranda
    March 15, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    I was thinking about this too. Because on her night photo of the third column you can get a glimpse of the inside and it looks gorgeous.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Gilmer Gal
    March 15, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    It looks like a new house. The porch project really made the difference! Beautiful, Kristi. Can’t wait to see how you dress up the accessories on the outside (plants, etc).

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sami Fye
    March 15, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    I’ve been following your blog for a couple of months now and as others have said, you are an amazing woman. I have an awful itch to decorate the home we moved to 2 years ago, but unfortunately none of the skills. So my ideas ruminate in my mind until I can talk my honey into helping me or save enough to hire it done. Very frustrating! I did get my bathroom redone last fall, and it is handicap accessible but I don’t think you would know that to see it. I’m proud of it but I bet you’d have suggestions. Loving your posts 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Gwen
    March 15, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    Looking so good and I love how you thought to add all the bulk of the columns around the front door to the left to center things better. Brilliant!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Dale
    March 15, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Very pretty. I love the added detail on the bottom. I am anxious to see a shot of the entire front of your home when you are ready!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Jamie
    March 15, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    The columns look great! I would have neve thought of placing the spacers on one side or the other to gain a little distance. Very nice.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kimberly
      March 15, 2018 at 7:44 pm

      Agreed. This was a brilliant idea Kristi, to even out the spacing of the columns in relation to the door with those spacers. If it were me doing this project, I’d have finished the job and at the end gone “well, that doesn’t look very good!” LOL! Brilliant thinking ahead like that!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Lindsey
    March 15, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    Love this! I have a much smaller front porch but have told my husband multiple times I would like it to be wood floor instead of concrete. Also, would it be possible to do austin stone under the porch?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sue
    March 15, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    You do amazing work and I love how they look with your porch floor. Can’t wait to see the whole porch complete.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    KathieB
    March 15, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    It is just wonderful!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sharon C
    March 15, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    Wow…….I always seem to start with the word, wow, but that’s exactly how I feel when I see the work you accomplish Kristi. The columns are already looking fantastic and what a difference it’s already making to your porch and your curb appeal. Can’t wait to see the final reveal. Awesome job Kristi, you never cease to ‘wow’ us with how you do things.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Danna
    March 15, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    You are just so darn smart! What love you are giving that house! And you are getting so much done before it gets beastly hot there!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Alta Craig
    March 15, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    The posts are looking terrific, Kristi! I do like the beefier look. However, it seems to me that something simple, like just the panel molding around the top, would finish off the post without “cutting it down” in appearance. However, I have learned that you have a great eye and am looking forward to seeing how you finish them off. Onward and Upward!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Ann Kent
    March 15, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    Looks fabulous! I love how detailed your posts are. So helpful! And lots of pictures really helps too.

    Thanks!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Wanda Hobbs
    March 15, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    Kristi, you nailed it, no pun intended!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Elaine Ness
    March 15, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    Krosti, can I interview somebody who could recount how early in your life this innate creativity showed up–this eye you have for all this? This isn’t just book-learnin’. I think it must be quite a story.

    Your house is coming along great. I am looking forward to the studio most of all. I love work spaces.

    Regards from Ecuador to both you and Matt

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Genelle McDaniel
    March 15, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    I agree with Sheila Green. Do the top the same as the bottom, except make the top trim less than an inch shorter than the bottom. I bet your neighbors love what you have done!!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Mona Keegan
    March 15, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    Wowee is the word! I have just joined your blog as a follower. You do beautiful work. Very impressed with your clever solution to “move” the door to be centered between the posts. You are an inspiration!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Gail Ebeling
    March 15, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    Great job you just gave me the momentum to finish the bottom of my posts.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Margo
    March 15, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    Great job! Love them! Thank you for the detailed instructions and pictures. When I get ready to do mine, I will be using your tutorial. Can’t wait to see Part 2.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Deb
    March 15, 2018 at 7:58 pm

    ooooooo! Your hoooouuuusssseeee! All the hearts!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Rebecca B
    March 15, 2018 at 8:19 pm

    It’s just great. What an improvement. I would never had the vision to see what could be done with that porch. The cedar does look so rich and warm. And the pillars are lookin fantastic. It seems like you’re motivated again. I’m excited to see what you post on Monday.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Raylene
    March 15, 2018 at 10:48 pm

    Wowee is right! I love how Matt is your biggest champion, he must be so very proud of you! The porch looks fantastic and those columns…such a great choice! My question is how do you know or figure out high to make your base trim pieces? My hubby says you must draw it out on the computer first or at least on paper. Please share your method.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    JoEllen
    March 16, 2018 at 8:37 am

    Wow! What a transformation. This is truly amazing! You’ve done such a great tutorial here. I know it takes effort and time to take pictures while you go, and explain what you’re done, but it is greatly appreciated. This outdoor space is really amazing!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sarah Romine
    March 16, 2018 at 9:15 am

    I absolutely love this! Stunning! I can’t wait to see the before and after when you have it complete.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Michele
    March 16, 2018 at 9:48 am

    This is an amazing transformation already! I can’t wait to see how it looks finished and I’m sure, soon with new landscaping. The exterior transformation is awesome!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Josie
    March 16, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    Looks awesome! Also, I’ve been waiting for you to do this because we will be redoing our porch posts this Summer and I wanted to see how you did it. Now I just need to show the husband so that he gets an idea of what our steps will be.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    YvonneM
    March 17, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    Just Brilliant! I don’t think I could have imagined adjusting the setting of the posts would make such a dramatic difference to the visual balance at the front of the house. The way you think through your options and decide on a plan of action is incredible.
    For what it’s worth, I think the upper trim of the posts should be kept as small scale as possible in order to not present a “shortened” appearance to the posts (if that makes any sense).

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Lane
    March 17, 2018 at 10:24 pm

    You did an excellent job centering the front door between those two posts. And I agree with not mitering the bottom trim. It will look great.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Rebecca Neustel
    March 19, 2018 at 2:48 am

    You are such an inspiration, Kristi, and I love how your mind thinks through a problem and comes up with a solution. We’re going to do this to our two posts this summer and build cedar shutters, too, and your blog post will be the one we use, so thanks!! I love how Matt has your back, looking out for you.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Maegan Martin
    June 18, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    What would you do if the current skimpy post are right on the outside edge of your deck? My 4×4 post come up right to the edge of the deck. If I wrap it like you have done, then it’ll hang over the edge. Any advice??

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kristin
    June 21, 2019 at 10:22 pm

    Can you tell me the paint colors of the house and door?

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi
      June 21, 2019 at 10:57 pm

      House color is Sherwin Williams Mindful Gray, and front door is Benjamin Moore Bird of Paradise.

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