Porch column always serves in two ways, supporting your structure for stability and to decorate the area at the same time. If you have enough experience in masonry, building your own porch column isn’t that complicated. If you want to do this project, these steps should help you do it.
Phase 1: Footing Building
Before starting to build the column, you will need to build the footing as well. Footing is very essential in keeping your column strong for years ahead.
The width as well as depth of the footing depends a lot on the height and width of your column, the amount of weight it will need to support, and more. Make sure to do some research first to get the right measurement.
For this guide, let’s use the thumb rule. The hole alone needs to be at least 30 cm or 12 inches deep, and 10 cm or 4 inches longer and wider than the actual size of the column.
- Dig using this measurement. When you are done digging, you need to make sure that the bottom is even and flat. Verify it. If it doesn’t 100% flat, your column won’t be straight as well.
- Next, let’s make the footing frame. You will need wooden plank to do this and the measurement rule should be the same as when you make the footing hole. It needs to be around 10 cm wider as well as longer then the column. Construct the frame with wooden plank, and lay it flat on the footing hole.
- Once the frame is well settled, you can start filling the footing with concrete. Fill up the footing and remove the excess concrete to make sure the surface is flat. Then, leave it to dry. Make sure to understand the kind of concrete you use. While several mixes are designed to dry within hours, there are mixes that take several weeks to really get dry.
- Once the concrete is dry, you can remove the wooden frame from the footing. Now you have a strong footing and you are almost ready for brick laying.
- Before wet laying the bricks, you need to make sure it is centered. Take the bricks you want to use and plan the laying on top of the footing. Provide around 0.95 cm of gap between each brick for mortar later. Lay the brick surrounding the center. Make sure the center will be able to be filled with bricks on the last layer later.
- When the bricks are on the right position, draw lines outside the bricks to give you an outline. To do it right, you need to provide 10 cm gap between the bricks and the outside line of the footing. Draw lines on the outside and inside of the bricks. When it is done, you are ready for the next step.
Phase 2: Bricks Laying
Now, you have the outline to help you laying the bricks. Here are the steps that you need to follow.
- Using a trowel, add mortar to the outline. You will need around 0.95 cm thick mortar as base and between the bricks later. Spread the mortar and make sure not to apply any on the center. It needs to be hollow. It is okay to excess a little on the outside of the outline because you can always scrap it off later before it gets dry.
- Now, you can start laying the brick. Take one brick and lay it as you already planned before. Then on the side that will be joined by the next brick, apply 0.95 cm thick mortar and then add the next brick. Repeat this course to get full level.
- Before laying the next level, you need to check that this level is flat and even. Use a level and a string to do this. Fix the level if it isn’t flat before you begin the next one.
- When you are ready, lay the second level of the bricks. This time, to create nice outer look if you plan to have an unfinished look, you need to rotate the layout 180°. Do the same course of laying each bricks on this level.
- For the third level or layer, you can repeat the first level pattern and lay each brick using the same technique. It means the first and third layer will have the same pattern as the second and fourth do. Stop laying until you reach the fourth level from the bottom.
- Every four levels, you need to put a wire mesh and you need a thick one. It helps your bricks to support the weight later.
- Every five levels, you also need to work on the joints. Make it smooth and don’t do it after six or seven levels because the mortar will be too hard to smooth.
Phase 3: Final Course
Now you have reached the final course. The final course refers to the last layer or level you need to lay as well as one step before that. To finish the column, follow these steps:
- Before the very last level of brick, you need to put another thick wire mesh. Before laying the mesh, apply a thin layer of mortar on top of the last level of the brick. When you are done putting down the mesh, top it with another thin layer of mortar.
- Then, continue to lay down the last level of brick. Start with the first two brick, and then cover the center area of the column with brick as well. By then, you can finish laying the bricks on this last level.
- For a nice looking and polished finish, you can top the brick levels with capstone. Make sure to apply a thin layer of mortar first before adding the capstone. Capstone can be made of bricks as well, but concrete is also welcomes. Make it around 7.6 cm longer as well as wider than your column.