What Are The Common Misconceptions About Load Bearing Structural Porch Columns?

When you think about load bearing structural porch columns, surely some common misconceptions exist, which are listed below.

Misconception concerning load bearing capacity of the structural porch columns

Porch ColumnsThe first common misconception is regarding the load bearing capacity of the structural porch columns. Never take it for granted, but consult a structural engineer to know if your concrete columns have the required capability to hold the weight of the roof. While estimating and making a blueprint for the project, it is important to take into consideration the elements like rain water, snow etc., which could add to the overall weight of the roof. If the overall weight of the roof exceeds way too much, it could bring equal problems in the future.

Misconception that alignment of the roof-line header on any part over the top of the column would facilitate the column to bear the load

This is the second widespread misconception that people believe. In fact, it is significant to place the header in the middle (center) of the column ā€“ this is applicable for all load bearing applications. The load bearing capacity of the column shaft would be greatly lowered if the header – regardless of its width, is not positioned in the center on the top of the column shaft. Thus, its imperative to position the header in the center on the top of the column.

Misconception that split columns can be put together to create structural columns

This is not true. In fact, split columns are used in two types of specific applications that are –

  • To serve the purpose of a pilaster (half column) which would stand against the wall.
  • To border a structural support.

Thus, its prudent to use split columns for serving the specific purpose for which they are manufactured.

Misconception that column will bear pergola beams in a pergola or free standing application

This statement may sound appropriate as the fibreglass column will bear the weight of pergola, however, there is a big exception to it, as the fibreglass columns can’t support sidelong movement. This type of arrangement could trample down the whole system, particularly, in windy regions or slanting on the free standing pergola. Thus, beneath the footer, it is imperative to install a structural support like that of a steel support or a pressure treat pine wood post. This structural support will rise up through the column and join to the pergola header above. This will shield from the sidelong movement and support the pergola system too.

Misconception that in order to accommodate the slope of the porch, trimming the column at the bottom is not required

In case, slope of your porch is not too much, it won’t be required. Nonetheless, you need to ensure that the load is evenly distributed all over the bottom of the porch column. Suppose, the bottom of the column is not aligned, perhaps, all or most of the load may be supported by just one side of the column, which could be dangerous, and might bring down the entire structure.


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