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What is a Porch Post?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

When building a porch, it is important to support both the floor of the porch and any porch covering with a porch post — or more specifically, several porch posts. A porch post is a vertical beam that acts as a support for the weight of the porch. Some porch posts may be hidden beneath the flooring of the porch, while others extend vertically to support a roof or covering; such posts are often decorative, meaning they are painted, machined with designs, or otherwise made to look aesthetically pleasing. A porch post has traditionally been made from wood or stone, but newer composite materials are now common.

A composite porch post may be made from different types of plastic, vinyl, or even a combination of wood with other synthetic materials. The advantages of synthetic posts depends on the type of material it is made from, but typically the composite posts are less susceptible to rotting, bending, and fading in direct sunlight. They also usually do not require as much maintenance as a wooden post; they are easily cleaned with a hose and some soapy water. Since a porch post is often sunk into the ground or into a concrete footing, it is susceptible to damage from ground moisture. Composite posts combat such damage by being more water-resistant than wood.


Wooden porch posts are easy to machine, however, so they are a good choice for decorative posts. On wide porches, wooden posts can add an aesthetically pleasing touch to the front of the house, and they can be painted to fit the color scheme of the house. Such porch posts are usually used to hold up a roof that covers the porch, though they can also be used as a support for railings or for the porch itself. Wooden porch posts must be maintained with either staining or weatherproof painting, and they should be replaced after several years when rot becomes present.

A much more expensive but visually pleasing alternative to composites and wood are stone porch posts. These are much heavier posts and are difficult to install properly, but they can add beauty to the front of the home as well as a sturdy and long lasting support for the porch. These supports are far less common than composite posts and wood posts, mostly because of the cost associated with installing them. They can also be machined for decorative purposes.

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