Building an Apron and Wrapping Porch Columns for a More Finished Look

wrapped porch column home improvement project

We originally had old cedar columns on our porch. As part of our porch renovation project, we decided to add an apron to frame the porch ceiling and then wrap the porch cedar columns with Hardie boards.

Before Pictures to Give Perspective

Below is a before picture (also before the outdoor fireplace and old barn wood ceiling. Notice in the picture below the old columns on the far left and that there is no apron around the edge of the ceiling.

before picture of porch with random furniture and concrete floor

Here is another picture of the original cedar columns before we wrapped them.

view of lake

Here is a picture after we added the fireplace, but before the apron and wrapped the columns.

porch under construction with outdoor fireplace and light gray stone on the house

Cutting the Simulated Stone

We had to cut the rock to build the two columns on the house. I was trying to find an easier way, but Neal insisted this was the right way to do this. He was right!

However, cutting the rock was a dusty and dirty process!

We also had to cut the stone around the small columns on each side of the fireplace so that these cider posts could be wrapped with Hardie plank trim to match the other white columns.

Here is the other side of the fireplace where we cut the stone.

After he cut the rock in both places, Neal installed a piece of treated lumber. We used this as the base to build the half-column that would be butted into the house.

Building an Apron

We built an apron using 2×4 lumber all around the perimeter of the porch ceiling. You can see in this picture that we cut the rock and installed the treated wood on the far right.

Then we started covering the apron with Hardie plank trim boards.

Wrapped Columns with Hardie Board

In the picture below, one of the columns has been trimmed out. The other column on the far left has been wrapped with Hardie plank trim but has not been trimmed out. You can really see the difference that the trim makes.

This is a picture of the columns from the lakeside view after the columns have been wrapped with Hardie plank trim, but have not been trimmed out on the top, the bottom or on the edges.

Trimmed Wrapped Columns

We wrapped all the columns with Hardie plank trim pieces. We also added trim to the top and bottom of the columns and ripped thin pieces of trim to add corner pieces to each column. Neal really has an eye for trimming out things like this. The detail gives this a beautiful look. Also in the picture below, you can see that we have finished wrapping the apron with Hardie plank trim.

On the top of each corner column, we added a piece of trim to help it blend with the apron above it. The picture below shows the column without the top/corner trim piece.

white column on a porch under construction

This picture shows the top corner trim piece. Once we caulked it, it blended well and really gave the column a finished look.

Here is a picture of the lakeside of our house. Not all the pieces of trim have been painted in this picture.

Finished Columns

Here are the finished columns from another angle.

Here is a close-up view after we added crown molding, caulked, and painted. (It is also after we added old barn wood to the ceiling.) In this picture, you can also see the columns butted into both sides of the fireplace and into the house on the right.

rustic barn wood installed on a porch ceiling with white columns

And one final picture of the finished columns, after totally updated our porch . . .

Neal also added electrical wire to two of the columns to add downcast light fixtures and outlets.

We also wrapped the column on our front (street side) porch.

For other blog posts related to our porch renovation, check out the links below:

Don’t forget to Pin this for future reference.

Thanks for reading our blog. Let us know what you think or if you have any questions about how to build an apron and wrap porch columns with Hardie board by commenting below.

28 Comments

  1. Kelly on 10/27/2018 at 11:10 AM

    Looking good! I like the ceiling and fireplace too.

  2. Janet on 10/27/2018 at 12:34 PM

    What kind of wood did you use to make the posts?

    • Suzanne on 11/01/2018 at 6:59 PM

      We used Hardie plank trim to build our columns. Here is a link.

      • Mary on 07/27/2020 at 12:45 PM

        I saw that the columns were wrapped in the Hardi board planks but my husband would like to know what was used for trim board on the top. Was it wood or cut down from Hardi board? What thickness?

        • Suzanne on 07/29/2020 at 8:42 AM

          Hey Mary,

          The columns are wrapped with Hardie board. The corner trim pieces are wood, and the base (baseboard) and top trim pieces are Hardie board. The bottom (baseboard) is 1×6 with PVC quarter round. The top trim piece is also 1×6; however, only 4 inches is exposed due to the molding at the top.

          I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.

          Suzanne

  3. Karen P. on 11/01/2018 at 2:45 AM

    Looking good! I enjoy reading your blog posts. You and your husband have a lot of talent.

  4. William on 11/01/2018 at 10:43 AM

    This looks great! Your directions are helpful. My fav is the fireplace. I wish my partner and I add this in our back yard area.

  5. Samantha on 11/02/2018 at 10:46 AM

    how long did this take?

    • Suzanne on 11/02/2018 at 10:52 AM

      Samantha,
      Wrapping the columns took a few weekends. The entire porch project has taken about two years because we have done this in stages. Stage 1: Build fireplace Stage 2: Wrap columns Stage 3: Brickwork around the edge of the porch (blog post coming soon) and Stage 4: Tiling porch (working on this now, so stay tuned for this blog post too). Thanks for reading and commenting on our blog post.
      Suzanne

  6. Sannygeway on 12/07/2018 at 8:56 AM

    Make a more new posts please 🙂
    ___
    Sanny

  7. Sannygeway on 12/11/2018 at 12:16 PM

    Nice posts! 🙂
    ___
    Sanny

  8. Cari Daste on 04/28/2019 at 2:48 PM

    Hiya, I’m really glad I have found this information. Nowadays bloggers publish just about gossips and internet and this is really annoying. A good blog with interesting content, that’s what I need. Thank you for keeping this website, I will be visiting it. Do you do newsletters? Cant find it.

    • Suzanne on 04/30/2019 at 8:29 PM

      Hey Cari,
      Thanks for reading our blog! Yes, I send out a newsletter to subscribers, which contains my recent blog posts.
      I have not sent out one for a few weeks because we have been SOOO busy renovating a house for my mother. The good news is that we will have several renovation blog posts coming soon!
      Suzanne

  9. Guqinz on 06/23/2019 at 4:19 PM

    I’m still learning from you, as I’m trying to reach my goals. I absolutely enjoy reading all that is written on your site.Keep the posts coming. I liked it!

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  12. From Butcher Block to Farmhouse Table on 09/25/2019 at 4:58 PM

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  13. KK on 02/11/2020 at 7:31 AM

    What type of material did you use for trim & molding on the columns after wrapping with Hardie Board? Did they require painting?

    • Suzanne on 02/11/2020 at 8:35 PM

      KK,

      At the top and the bottom of each column, we used Hardie board. On the corners, we used finger-joint cedar. At the top of each column, we used decorative molding.

      Yes, we had to paint (after chalking) all the trim.

      Thanks for reading our blog.

      Suzanne

  14. Kate Eidem on 04/20/2020 at 5:14 PM

    how did you cover up the nail marks left ob the Hardie board. You had to use specific nails correct?
    Thanks

    • Suzanne on 04/20/2020 at 7:11 PM

      Hey Kate,
      That is a great question! Yes, we used finishing nails (used a nail gun), which are smaller and less visible. However, we also caulked each nail hole and then painted over it.
      I hope that helps!
      Suzanne

  15. Malachi on 07/05/2020 at 12:41 AM

    You have done an awesome job! Thanks for sharing. I have a question. You said you wrapped the top beams with Hardie plank, how did you do the seams. Are they butted up against each other? Or is there a metal bracket? Again thank you for sharing your knowledge!

    • Suzanne on 07/05/2020 at 9:49 PM

      Malichi,
      Thanks for your affirming words. When we wrapped the top beams with Hardie board, we just butted the Hardie board into each other – – sort of like building a box. If you look closely at some the the pictures, you can see the seams – – where they are butted into each other. I hope that helps.
      Suzanne

  16. Ron LeBreton on 08/04/2020 at 9:00 AM

    Did you run your hardie board right to the ground or how much of a gap did you allow.

    • Suzanne on 08/05/2020 at 9:15 PM

      Ron,
      We left about a 2-inch gap because we added a layer of concrete over this existing floor before we eventually tiled the porch floor. Normally, the Hardie board would go all the way to the floor. Here is the link where we tiled our porch floor (after adding a layer of concrete over the existing slab.

      I hope this helps.
      Suzanne

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  18. Mark on 04/08/2022 at 11:31 AM

    Hello Neal and Suz,
    We are converting a screened in porch to a 3 season room and wish to add a gas fireplace. I noticed that the fireplace that you chose for your outdoor space is a direct vent gas fireplace made of steel. We keep reading that one should get a stainless steel gas fireplace for outdoor use due to the outdoor elements. Did you consider a stainless steel option? Is your fireplace showing any signs of rusting? What kind of climate do you live in?
    Thanks for your help.
    Mark

    • Suzanne on 04/09/2022 at 8:43 PM

      Hey Mark,

      Great questions! We have not had any issues with rust. Our porch is covered and thus it does not get direct rain. We live on a lake in Alabama and have mild weather (not much snow), mostly rain. If a hard rain, it might get a little moisture on it but not as much as it would if it were out in the elements. We love our fireplace! Best of luck to you on your project – – sounds exciting!

      Suzanne

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