PORCH COLUMNS

Which Material Should I use?

Below is a chart of the general differences between each porch column material. But feel free to skip the reading and call us for a quick run through based on your project description.  We can recommend budget sensitive applications, minimal maintenance applications, easiest installation option, etc. All of the materials that are listed offer have different application advantage over another.

Appearance: Unlike fiberglass and other composite materials, wood columns do not come cast in a mold, therefore the edges and details are crisp. Wood is diverse because it can be either painted or stained depending on the wood one chooses.
Durability: Wood porch columns work best indoors since they have the propensity to split, crack and rot. However, there are naturally more durable woods such as cedar, cypress, and redwood.
Load Bearing: Wood can be load bearing, however modern composite material  and aluminum columns have more capacity.
Price: Depending on the wood one chooses, wood can be very affordable. However, wood columns require more upkeep than modern composite materials and normally do not come with a lifetime warranty.
Appearance: Fiberglass columns are cast with modern composite materials and are advantageous because once they are painted, it is hard to distinguish them between  wood columns.
Durability: When it comes to durability, modern composite materials such as fiberglass is a no brainer. Fiberglass does not rot, crack, split or rust. The composite virtually does not absorb moisture therefore its waterproof too.
Load Bearing: Fiberglass columns are stronger than wood columns. The composite materials have great tensile strength and is pound for pound stronger than steel.
Price: Fiberglass columns are considered the most affordable columns in the industry since they are durable and the cost of upkeep is little to none. Normally they have a limited lifetime warranty.
Appearance:  Similar to the poly/marble materials found in fiberglass columns, but infused with color pigment.  These columns look and feel like real stone and can be virtually matched to any color. The customer also has the option to leave them smooth or lightly textured.
Durability: Similar to fiberglass, polymer stone/synthetic stone does not rot, crack, split or rust. The composite virtually does not absorb moisture therefore its waterproof too.
Load Bearing: Similar to fiberglass, load bearing capability is high.
Price: Like fiberglass columns, polymer stone/synthetic stone are very affordable since they are unrivaled when it durability and upkeep. However, they are slightly heavier than fiberglass and that factors into the materials and shipping cost.
 
Appearance: Comes in a white, gel-coat finish. Also available in any prefinished color, texture, or any aggregate that comes to mind. Similar to fiberglass & polymer stone/synthetic stone.
Durability: Similar to fiberglass, FRP does not rot, crack, split or rust. The composite virtually does not absorb moisture therefore its waterproof too.
Load Bearing: Similar to fiberglass and polymer stone/synthetic stone, load bearing capability is high.
Price: Like fiberglass and polymer stone/synthetic columns, FRP is very affordable since they are at the top when it comes to durability and upkeep. 
Appearance: Fiberglass, FRP, polymer stone/synthetic stone, and wood columns appear better with a finished and rich texture, however some aluminum columns come pre-painted and are very low maintenance.
Durability: Very low maintenance and will not chip or rot.
Load Bearing: Aluminum also have load bearing capabilities.
Price: Aluminum columns are normally the most affordable columns.
Appearance: PVC porch columns come in white but is considered a paint-grade product. They are popular because they have a wide variety of designs available including options of taper, flutes, panels, etc. *As far as decorative caps and bases, a lot less options than fiberglass & wood.*
Durability: Very low maintenance and will not chip or rot.
Load Bearing: No load bearing capability since columns come split before assembly and hence called “column covers”
Price: PVC columns are similar to aluminum and can be very affordable.