You’re remodeling your porch and still considering styles when a neighbor recommends column wraps. You like the look of your neighbor’s porch, so you’re thinking that maybe wraps could be a good idea, but you’d like to learn more first. What are column wraps exactly?
A column wrap, also known as a porch column wrap, covers the columns or posts on a deck or porch, bringing new life to the porch without the need for an expensive remodel. Column wraps are purely for decorative purposes and do not support the structure of your home.
This guide to column wraps is ideal for those new to this porch accessory who might be weighing their options before remodeling their home’s exterior. We’ll talk about the various column wrap styles, materials, and costs so you can decide whether they’re right for you!
What Is a Column Wrap?
Referred to also as a column cover, a column wrap is a decorative, architecturally-designed column.
The column wrap does not have to replace a preexisting column, per se, but can go over an exposed I-beam, wooden post, or lally column.
Some people get column wraps installed to hide these exposed areas as well as wiring or supports that detract from the overall appearance of their homes.
Others opt for column wraps because the wraps are usually more affordable than gutting their entire porch or deck and starting over.
We must stress that a column wrap is a decorative feature only. Installing the wraps across your porch does not increase the load-bearing capacity of your porch. That’s also true if you’re considering column wraps for your deck.
The column wraps are usually two or more hollow pieces that connect together. They’re not full, solid columns and thus cannot improve your home’s structural integrity.
If you have concerns about the strength of your porch, then perhaps you’ll want to explore column wraps later. Rather than remodeling, you should be more focused on restructuring your porch.
Porch Column Wrap Materials
Should you decide to purchase a set of column wraps for your home’s porch or deck, you have a myriad of materials to select from. Whether you want to match the porch wrap to your home’s preexisting style or go against the grain, you can.
Let’s take a closer look at your options.
The utilitarian appearance of metal column wraps complements some homes. Lightweight and thin yet exceptionally durable, aluminum makes for a fantastic column wrap material. Homeowners love the affordability as well.
Since aluminum is metal, you may worry about your column wraps rusting and/or corroding with time and weather exposure.
Well, fret not! Aluminum resists rust so it will maintain its appearance for a long time to come.
The metal won’t warp either, so that’s another benefit. Plus, aluminum column wraps require a lot less maintenance compared to some of the other materials we’re going to discuss.
If you want to instantly elevate the luxury and curb appeal of your home, then buy a set of faux stone column wraps.
The stone that comprises the wraps isn’t real, so it doesn’t require the often costly services of a stonemason to painstakingly install.
Okay, so if stone column wraps aren’t actually made of stone, what is the material used? That would be a polyurethane composite.
Polyurethane is a type of plastic that can be flexible or rigid. In the case of column wraps, the polyurethane composite is always rigid.
Besides their enviable looks, one of the biggest benefits of faux stone column wraps is their ease of installation. The pieces lock together seamlessly.
Another major benefit of faux stone column wraps is their low cost. You could save thousands of dollars compared to getting the real deal. No one will ever know that your column wraps aren’t made of actual stone.
Plus, since they’re plastic, keeping your column wraps in appealing shape isn’t difficult or time-consuming in the least.
The next column wrap material for your perusal is polyvinyl chloride, more commonly known as PVC.
As one of the most popular types of plastic, it makes sense that the stuff would be used for column wraps as well.
PVC column wraps are single-colored and usually white, although you might be able to find them in other hues. If not, you can always paint them any color you wish.
The wraps are simple but add instant appeal to any home. Keeping the PVC wraps clean and tidy is nearly effortless, and their low cost is attractive as well.
Unfortunately, PVC is prone to yellowing, especially after prolonged UV exposure. It’s worth it to spend a little bit of extra money on your PVC column wraps to ensure they’re pre-primed. The primer prevents yellowing.
Wood column wraps add a rustic charm to any home and are a popular material.
You can shop wraps made of durable types of wood such as cedar. The wood may be available raw, or it could be primed, stained, and painted to increase its durability.
Even still, wood doesn’t outlast a lot of the other column wrap materials we’ve discussed. If you live in a moist region or one where it rains very often, you might want to reconsider wood column wraps.
Water and wood do not mix, and with time, the wood can bend, warp, or rot. Even if you buy pre-primed wood column wraps, the primer doesn’t last forever.
That’s why many homeowners will choose faux wood column wraps instead. You get the appeal of real wood but without the risks of the wood falling apart when it gets too wet.
Additionally, faux wood wraps weigh a lot less than real wood, so they’re a lot easier to work with.
The base of a faux wood column wrap is a plastic composite, so all the benefits of PVC or polyurethane that we’ve discussed apply. That is, the wraps shouldn’t be overly expensive, and they’re exceptionally easy to maintain.
Plus, the look of faux wood column wraps is exceedingly convincing.
The last column wrap material for your consideration is vinyl. It’s also the most popular, and you’ll soon understand why.
Vinyl column wraps are moisture-resistant, unlike wood. You can choose from a multitude of colors for vinyl wraps with no need to paint.
Further, vinyl column wraps are very inexpensive, so even a homeowner on a tight budget can afford them.
About once per year, you should power wash the wraps to remove grime, but that’s about all the maintenance you have to worry about.
Can You Install Column Wraps Yourself?
You’re a handy type of person, and if you can, you’d prefer to install column wraps yourself. You can save money that way and ensure that the job is done your way (which you happen to think is the correct way).
Is installing column wraps a DIY type of job or must you hire a contractor?
The simplicity of most types of column wraps makes them the perfect DIY project.
If you only have a few columns, then you should be able to get them up in an afternoon. For an especially column-heavy home, maybe you’ll need a weekend.
Even better is that installing column wraps is usually a one-person job.
You may wish to have a spotter keep an eye on you when climbing the ladder. They can also hand you supplies. That said, if you must go solo, it won’t be the end of the world.
As we talked about earlier, you can often snap together pieces of the column wrap like a puzzle. Many porch column wrap kits come with two or four-piece wraps.
In some instances, you may have to cut the column wraps, typically using a saw, so they fit your home’s dimensions.
Most pieces snap together without the need for glue or any type of adhesive. If your column wrap kit includes overlapping posts though, then you might need glue. This can prolong the project completion time but doesn’t ramp up the difficulty.
Installing wood column wraps is a more involved project, as you get wood boards in L shapes that you must then fully assemble. You have to use nails to attach the wood together.
If you’re handy with wood, then building a wooden column wrap shouldn’t cause you to struggle. You should set aside at least one weekend for the project.
You may have to screw in faux wood wraps into a wooden post. This too isn’t hard but will add more time and work.
How Much Do Column Wraps Cost?
We’ve touched loosely on pricing throughout this guide, but precisely what will you spend on a set of porch wraps for your home?
One column wrap might cost about $150, so project costs can be as low as $300 up to $2,000. The materials you select also influence the price.
Should you hire a professional contractor for installation, you could spend between $250 and $300 on installation in addition to the above fees.
A column wrap fits over existing columns, wooden posts, or I-beams on your home’s exterior. The wraps cover any unsightly areas of the exterior and can increase your curb appeal.
You can select from a variety of column wrap materials and styles at different price points. Then, if you want to enjoy even greater savings, you can install the wraps yourself.
For more complex column wraps, you can pay a professional to come out and put them together.
If your porch is in good shape structurally, then try column wraps before remodeling the entire thing. The wraps just may be the big change you were looking for, and for thousands of dollars less!