3 Common Styles of Architectural Columns

August 27, 2019

Architectural columns can seriously increase your custom home’s curb appeal and make it stand out. Plus, they’re often necessary to help provide structural support to a porch roof, second-floor balcony, and other additions that make your custom home look great. Here are a few common styles of architectural columns:

3 Common Styles of Architectural Columns

Architectural columns have been classic elements throughout the evolution of custom home architecture. They can be customized into all types of crazy shapes, but they generally fall into two common styles – square and round. The right column for your custom home will depend on several factors including the front porch style of your custom home design.

Most architectural columns are used on the exterior of the home and tend to also provide structural support in addition to a design flair. They are one of the classic ranch architecture design ideas and also make an appearance in many other exterior styles. The exception to the exterior rule is interior columns, which are rarely structural and are purely for aesthetics. Here’s a deeper look into these common styles of architectural columns:

1. Square Columns

Square columns can offer an interesting look to the exterior of your home while also providing load-bearing structural support. They can be plain, which is a square column without extras. Square columns can also be fluted, which gives the column a “ridged” look and some extra texture. They can also have applied or recessed panels.

A square column with applied panels has paneling or molding applied to it to create a new look or to mimic another material. For example, a square column with applied paneling can look like wood without all of the issues and maintenance that come with actually using wood. Square columns with recessed panels have a built-in panel that is slightly depressed on each side of the column.

2. Round Columns

Round columns can also add a unique and interesting look to the exterior of your home. Like square columns, they can be decorative and also provide load-bearing structural support. They can help support your home’s exterior design while also enhancing and tying the look together.

Round columns typically come in four styles. They can be plain or they can be fluted and each can be with or without tapering of the upper column. So, depending on the style of your home, you can have plain or fluted columns that maintain the same circumference from top to bottom. Or, you can get a more classic tapered look where the upper two-thirds of the column slightly taper in so that it is more narrow at the top of the column than at the base.

3. Interior Columns

You will sometimes find columns inside the home. These are rarely used as a structural element and are generally there for aesthetic reasons only. Interior columns tend to follow similar styles to the exterior columns, so they will be round or square and plain, fluted, tapered, etc. depending on the design of the home. However, because they are not meant to be load-bearing, interior columns tend to be made of drywall while exterior columns are made of much sturdier materials.

3 Popular Materials for Architectural Columns

Whether exterior or interior, highlighting columns is a brutalist architecture design idea that can work well with several modern and contemporary styles. Because exterior columns tend to be more popular than interior columns, materials that are able to bear loads and withstand weathering tend to be more popular for architectural columns.

Because of this fiberglass, aluminum, and cPVC tend to be the most popular materials for exterior architectural columns. There are other options available, like wood and vinyl wrap, but they generally don’t offer the same performance as these popular types of architectural columns:

1. Fiberglass Columns

Fiberglass columns are strong and look great as well. They are load-bearing, which means they can hold up whatever structure your custom home design requires. Plus, they can be made in a variety of styles and can be painted to match whatever your home needs.

On top of that, they can withstand weather, are insect-proof, and require very little maintenance. This means that they are long-lasting and that there is one less thing for you to worry about as a homeowner.

2. Aluminum Columns

Aluminum columns are also load-bearing and come in a variety of styles and colors. They generally don’t come in a tapered look, but are still available in square or round and in plain or fluted styles. Square columns also have the recessed panel style available.

This means that they are able to provide structural support for your custom home’s exterior design elements while also looking great. Additionally, these columns are generally pre-finished and are also low-maintenance.

3. Cellular PVC

Another popular material for some exterior architectural columns is cellular PVC or cPVC. Architectural columns made of cPVC are generally fully-assembled columns that have an internal aluminum post. This internal aluminum post allows the column to bear loads. They are also insect and weatherproof while also being a low-maintenance column.

These types of architectural columns may not be the best fit for every custom home design as they are not able to support quite as much as fiberglass or aluminum columns. Still, they’re able to support up to 4,350 pounds, so it’s still a lot! Brackets secure the top and bottom of the post to prevent wind uplift.

There are a lot of details to choose from when it comes to your custom home. Working with an experienced custom home builder can help you get the home you want and need. If you’re ready to make your dream home a reality, contact Custom Home Group at 717-284-4090!