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   Imperial Productions Columns - copyright MRDCI

 Imperial Productions ®                               

 Frequently Asked Questions

 

 Fast Track to Question Sections on this page

 A) Design Questions

 A1) How Big Should a Column be ?

 A2)  Tapered vs Non-Tapered Columns

 

 B) Custom Questions 

 B1) Can I specify custom Sizes on Hardwood columns

 B2) Can I use any wood outside?

 B3 Can I specify custom Fiberglass Columns ?

 B4) How to measure the bottom of a column shaft

 

 C) Load Bearing vs Decorative

 C1) Difference between column wrap and load bearing columns

 

 

 

 

 D) Install Questions for Non Wood  Fiberglass, FiberCompTM, PolyCompTM

 

 E) Install Questions for Hardwood

 

 

 

   The following notes are intended as suggestions only for your benefit. 

   Consult with your own structural engineer, architect or designer for further advise regarding

   application or suitability for your project in your area.

   You local buildings codes and conditions may vary from City to City. 

   Consult with your city hall for local statutes before buying or installing columns.   

 

 

 

 A) Design Questions

 

  A1) DESIGN FAQ

 How Big Should a Column be ?

 

  Simple Answer: 

  Most people undersize their columns, creating a pole effect

  on a porch or deck area.

 

 

   It is important to maintain a design ratio between the

   columns size and the house or office as seen in the photo.

 

 

 

  A2) DESIGN FAQ

 Should I pick Tapered or Non-Tapered Columns ?

 

  Simple Answer: 

  For modernism Non-tapered will look like posts.  This provides a simple look

  to a facade or deck structure.

 

  For a traditional look use Tapered Columns. 

  The taper provides the visual distortion necessary for the column to look proper.

  Keeping within the design principles of  PHi, ie "the golden rule"  there should be approximately

  a 1/3rd to 2/3rd ratio variation between the top of the column and the bottom diameter. 

 

  Example:  Top diameter of the shaft is 10", the bottom is 16", height 10 Feet

  The taper should stop 2/3rds down the shaft, then go straight to the bottom. 

  This can vary per manufacturer.   On a 10 Feet high shaft the taper would stop

  approximately at the 7-1/2 Feet level.   Using the calculation of Phi .618 the taper

  would stop at 6.18 Feet level, then go straight.  The use of the 2/3 - 1/3 rule

  is mostly used by manufacturers rather than true Phi.  

 

 

 

 

  B) Custom Questions

 

 

  B1) Custom FAQ 

 Can I specify custom Sizes on Hardwood columns ?

 

  Regardless of species, any hardwood column can be

  custom made.

 

  You can

  a) Specify the exact height within 1/8" 

 

  b) Specify the diameter on round columns

 

  c) On tapered columns specify the Entasis or variance

      between the top of  the shaft and the bottom of the shaft. 

      Most columns are made to a 2/3rd taper and a 1/3rd straight

      to the bottom.   

 

  d) Split hardwood columns can be ordered for post wrap

      or pilaster (engaged) column applications.

       Remember the walls are approximately 1-1/2" thick on

       either side when considering post wrap.

 

  e) Refer to our page - click below for the post wrap page

   

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  B2) CustomFAQ

  Can I use any wood outside?

 

 

 

    For historic homes, Imperial

   offers exact duplication of

   rotted columns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  No.  The following woods are good for outside use.

 

  Pine:  This wood has inherent properties to ward off rot.

 

  Knotty Pine:  Before painting Knotty Pine you need to seal the 

  knots with shellac to avoid the knots from bleeding any

  remaining sap in the wood. 

 

  Western Red Cedar:  Like pine it has inherent anti rotting

  chemicals in the wood.

 

 White Oak: 

  It is the hardest wood that we offer making it very strong.

  The issue of white oak is that it will turn grey and dark overtime. 

 

 

 

  B3) Custom FAQ

 Can I specify custom Fiberglass Columns ? 

 

 

  Yes

  Our Duchess Series is the only Fiberglass that can be customized.  They are available in Square

  or Round sizes. 

  You can specify the height and variable cuts for post wrap or pilaster application.

 

  Select from inside corners, outside corners, wall wraps, or engaged variations. 

  Remember any split column ceases to be load bearing. 

  This applies to Round and Square columns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  B4) DESIGN FAQ

 How to Measure the Bottom of a Column Shaft

 

 Take a string wrap the bottom of the shaft and provide us with the length of the string which

 is the circumference of the shaft to sit on the base.  The base top flat should be 1/2" larger than

 the shaft bottom.

 

 

 

 C) Load Bearing vs Decorative Columns  

 

  C1) Custom FAQ

 What is the difference between column wrap and load bearing columns?

 

  Column wraps are purely decorative. They must be big enough to encapsulate load bearing posts.

  Select from Split for Post Wrap.

 

  Load Bearing columns stand alone and all weight must be centered.  Regardless of thickness of

   the wall, the load is determined by science by the manufacturer's testing and declaration.

 

 

  

 

 

 

  C2) Custom FAQ

 Decorative Hardwood Columns

 

  Hardwood Columns are sold as decorative columns only. 

  They are not intended to be load bearing although they do hold load on the 1-1/2" wide walls.  

  You can order hardwood columns to be load  bearing with a solid wood core.   

  Rely on your structural engineer for advise.  

 

  For split columns for post wrap use plastic wood to cover the seam and wood glue or construction

  adhesive. 

 

  how to preserve wood   

 

 If columns need to be prepared for outside use

 

 <= Here is a helpful article 

 

 

   youtube video about hardwood columns  <= Here is a Youtube on Hardwood Columns

 

 

  C3) Custom FAQ

 FRP: FiberCompTM & PolyCompTM Load Bearing Columns

 

FiberCompTM & PolyCompTM are composite fiberglass columns.  Primarily made from Calcium Carbonate, Polymer Resins and Fiberglass.   They are rated by manufacturing as load bearing columns.  Like Fiberglass they are hollow. Their wall thickness has no bearing on the load bearing capacity as stated by the manufacturer. They can be filled with insulation to reduce any hollow sound. PolyCompTM columns cannot be customized while FiberCompTM can be ordered to size and split variations.  Check with your structural engineer for load requirements

 

 

  For split columns for post wrap use Poly Spackling

  or Bondo to cover the seam and construction adhesive. 

  youtube video all about polycomp columns

 

 If columns need to be prepared for outside use

 

 <= Here is a helpful article 

 

 

     <= click for material properties  

 

 

 

  C4) Custom FAQ

 Duchess Series Fiberglass - Load Bearing Columns

 

  Duchess Series Fiberglass are a lighter weight load bearing column.  They are rated up to

  20,000 lbs set with a center down load.  Load Bearing weight are determined by diameter and

  science.  They can be customized in both square and round sizes.   They can be customized

  for larger sizes where as PolyCompTM & FiberCompTM cannot be made in larger sizes.

  They can be filled with insulation inside to reduce any hollow sound.

 

        <= click for material properties  
  

  For split columns for post wrap use Poly Spackling

  or Bondo to cover the seam and construction adhesive. 

 

 

 

  C5) Custom FAQ

 Decorative Hardwood Columns

 

  Hardwood Columns are sold as decorative columns only. 

  They are not intended to be load bearing although they do hold load on the 1-1/2" wide walls.  

  You can order hardwood columns to be load  bearing with a solid wood core.   

  Rely on your structural engineer for advise. They are fully customizable.

 

  how to preserve wood   

 

 If columns need to be prepared for outside use

 

 <= Here is a helpful article 

 

 

   youtube video about hardwood columns  <= Here is a Youtube on Hardwood Columns

 

 

 

  C6) Custom FAQ

 ArchPolymerTM  - Decorative Columns

 

ArchPolymerTM is a synthetic wood.  It is rot, inspect and water resistant with the same consistency as White Pine.   They come primed and are ready to paint.  They do not hold any load and are purely decorative.   Available in Square and Round.  There is no customization but the bottom of the shafts can be cut.  They can be filled with insulation  inside to reduce any  hollow sound.

 

    youtube video on archpolymer     <= click for YouTube Video   

 

 

 

  C7) Custom FAQ

 StoneMoldTM & ZeamentTM Decorative Columns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 StoneMoldTM is a finished interior column. 

  They are custom made as per order with a variety of finishes. 

 <= click for material properties

      

  ZeamentTM is a finished exterior column. 

  They are custom made as per order with a variety of finishes.   

 Both are made from molds and there is no customization except for height. 

 There is a seam or reveal on these columns. They can be foamed inside to reduce any hollow sound.

   <= click for YouTube Video

 

 

   

 

  D) Non-Wood Installation Questions  

 

  D1) Custom FAQ

 Preparing the Substrata ?

 

  PolyCompTM, FiberCompTM & Fiberglass - Round & Square Columns Install Notes

 

   It is vital that the substrata be strong enough to support

  a) the weight of the columns

  b) dead structural loads applied (ie 2nd floor or deck)

  c) horizontal loads such as wind and earthquake

  d) variable loads such as snow or ice    

 

    

 There must be an adequate foundation poured from

 concrete to hold the types of  loads as described.

 

 Portland cement is advised and depths vary per locale. 

 

 

      

  For a poured patio around the columns employ

 rebar in the concrete for support and avoid cracking

 

 

 

 

  

  

  The Pad. 

   Create a pad for the column shaft to sit on.

   Ensure it is perfectly level.   This pad is separate from

   the poured patio so that it has an independent foundation.

 

  

 Install a gasket around each pad before adding the

 concrete deck - the black material as shown in the

 photo beside stops pressure of expansion or contraction.

 

 

 

  D2) Custom FAQ

 Cutting the Column Shafts to Height ?

 

  PolyCompTM, FiberCompTM & Fiberglass  - Round & Square Columns Install Notes

 

 

 

 If columns need to be cut in length always trim them from the

 bottom of the shaft using an abrasive saw blade.  Make sure the

 cut is even on all sides so that the shaft sits plumb on the substrata.

 

 <= Here is a helpful YouTube Video

 

 

 

 

 

  D3) Custom FAQ

 Temporary Supports ?

 

  PolyCompTM, FiberCompTM & Fiberglass -  Round & Square Columns Install Notes

 

   

 

 In order to slide the columns into place use loly or jack posts to

 temporarily hold the load of the lintel above. 

 

 Once secure and slightly higher than the shaft to be put in place,

 slide the columns into place on the level foundations. 

 

 When the temporary post is removed the lintel will lower

 ever so slightly on the dead middle of the shaft. 

 

 

 

 

  D4) Custom FAQ

 Installing the Columns ?

 

  PolyCompTM, FiberCompTM & Fiberglass - Round & Square Columns Install Notes

 

 

 

 

Load bearing columns are those that are Whole and NOT split for reassembly or pilaster applications. Once split they cease to be load bearing.   

 

If the columns are sold as load bearing they are rated by the manufacturer and all static and non static loads should be assessed by the architect or structural engineer. Always have your project inspected by the City.  

 

It is vital during placement of the shaft that it is placed directly DEAD CENTER to the dead load applied (ie the lintel).

 

Load is borne on the shaft not the capitals or bases as the free float. Any variation to the application center load will subject the column shaft to an uneven amount of weight on one side of  the shaft resulting in possible breakage or cracking.

 

Also ensure that 100% of the bottom of the shaft is sitting evenly on the substrata. 

 

 

 

  D5) Custom FAQ

 Securing the Columns ?

 

  PolyCompTM, FiberCompTM & Fiberglass - Round & Square Columns Install Notes

 

    

The base: 

Once the shaft is in place slide the base up the shaft about 1 foot up the shaft and wedge it temporarily with a shim.

 

To prevent horizontal movement from winds and earthquake it is necessary to secure the bottom of the shaft to the substrata.  We  recommend consulting with Simpson Strong Ties for your particular application. "L" angle iron are not a wind uplift device.   You can leave the base detached or use silicon to secure them to the substrata.

 

 

 

The Capital:  

As stated before the load is borne on the shaft only. The capital is purely decorative and should be attached with screws by pre-drilling a pilot hole and counter sinking screws on 4 sides.

 

  Cover the screw head with poly Spackling Compound or in the case of fiberglass car Bondo.

 

 

 

 

 

  D6) Custom FAQ

 Finishing Notes ?

 

  PolyCompTM, FiberCompTM & Fiberglass - Round & Square Columns Install Notes

 

   

 

  Once in place, we recommend using a wet wash cloth to remove any surface dirt.  Once dried

  use 200 grit sandpaper to remove any raised areas.   Remove any powder with a damp cloth.

 

 

   Filling:  We recommend Poly Spackling Compound or Paintable exterior caulking

 

   

 

 

  Painting:  Today's modern paints do not require primer as they are paint & primer together. 

  We have had a good response with Behr high end Marquee paint/primer.  Follow all instructions

  on the tin.   Use a spongy roller for multiple coats, allowing the paint to dry in between coats.  

 

 

 

 E) Hardwood Notes

 

 

  E1) Custom FAQ

 About Decorative Hardwood Columns & Bases

 

Hardwood Columns

These are sold as decorative columns only.  They are not intended to be load bearing although they do hold load on the 1-1/2" wide walls.   You can order hardwood columns to be load bearing with a solid wood core.    Rely on your structural engineer for advise.

 

Hardwood Bases:

These are load bearing as they are made from solid wood staves.  Use exterior woods like Pine, White Oak, Western Red Cedar for Bases.  They are made from two parts a square and a round section. All parts can be customized.

 

  how to preserve wood

 

 If columns need to be prepared for outside use

 

 <= Here is a helpful article 

 

 

 

 

 

  How to Order Products  1-800-399-7585     416-264-6096  

  email: sales@imperialproductions.com

            click here for trade registry program

  * All Prices & specifications in this website subject to change without notice

  * Prices are net, Freight, Taxes & Duties charged where applicable otherwise client is responsible for remittance

  * Measurements are approximate only, Final Product may vary from this website

   COPYRIGHT  MRDCI Martin Richards Design and Contracting Inc, Martin Richards DesignTM 

     and Imperial Productions®                                                        Feb 2018  all rights reserved

   Last Update JAN-19