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Column Basics for Design and Use


Column Design Numbers - Columns are designated by us as either 100, 200, 300, or 400 according to designs and prices. For example: an Authentic Replication plain Tuscan wooden column is Design Number 100, our finest (highest price). The PolyStone is a Design Number 200, 300 in price. The design series goes from Design Number 100 (the best) to 400 (stock item). The price levels are 100 which is the most expensive to 400 which is the most economical.

Exterior Columns - The best column choices for exterior (outdoor) garden use are our PolyStone and Colossal columns.

Storage - We recommend that wooden columns and decorative capitals not be stored. If wooden columns must be stored prior to installation, it is imperative that they be kept in a dry and well ventilated place. It is important that they be stored in an upright position. Prior to storage, primed columns should be painted with two coats of oil-based paint. PolyStone columns may be stored.

Superpositioing or Stacking Columns - The orders can be placed on top of one another to achieve a greater height than a single story. The more slender orders of columns should be placed above the stouter columns, i.e. Tuscan on the bottom with the Corinthian column on the top. This also reduces the weight as it goes higher and is aesthetically pleasing. A good rule to follow is the example of the Renaissance influence which makes the upper diameter of the lower column order equal to the lower diameter of the upper column order. For example: if bottom diameter is 12" tapering to 10" top diameter, the column sitting on top of it should be a 10" tapering to 8".

Pilasters - Jeffrey Davis, our Founder and Principal Designer, defines a pilaster as: "A column that is attached to and projecting from a wall. It must be half or less than half the width of the column. When the projection exceeds half the width of the column, it is an engaged column." He suggests that when using half rounds to shadow another column, they should taper exactly the same as the full round column that they are duplicating or they should be non-tapered with the width of the column equal to the top diameter of the column it is shadowing. This would not be effective when using pillars.

Using Columns as Covers - Columns can be split to go around an existing structural support or for a customized decorative use. Wooden columns should not be used to surround water pipes.

Lining up Columns with Soffit - When lining up columns with a soffit or anything resting on the capitals, there should be an imaginary vertical line from the smallest diameter to the overhang.

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The Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America Architectural Woodwork Institute National Association of Home Builders American Institute of Building Design
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