How to make concrete columns

kitchendesignAugust 6, 2006

I would like to build concrete columns on either side of a courtyard gate as part of the hardscaping.

I have never worked with concrete before. The columns are 8'' diameter and 10 ft tall. I looked at Home Depot/ Lowe's and all their concrete forms are 4' or 6' tall. Do you stack two together? Do you tape/ staple them to each other?

I will put rebar but how many per column? (These are decorative, non weight bearing columns). Do I need to tie the rebar circumferentially? Thank you

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bindersbee(6a UT)

I'm not sure how to answer your question technically (maybe someone else can) but how exactly do you plan to keep them from toppling? Even if they are non weight bearing, they'll be heavy enough to seriously injure someone should they fall. At the height you want, you'll need a footing to place them on I would think. You'd probably also need to pour in place? When you mention forms at Home Depot, are you talking about the cardboard-like tubes they make for footings?

The other issue is that concrete must be mixed just right in order to have proper strength and finish. A column is probably not a starter project. I would recommend that you do cast stepping stones or some other small project first so you can get a feel for the medium and how to get a proper mix.

In all honesty, I don't think it's something you should take on yourself (this from a consumate do-it-yourselfer). My Lowe's offered fiberglass (looks like cast stone) columns for around $100 each. By the time you get everything you need to do them yourself and spend money practicing, you'll have spent that much. If your homemade columns don't work out, the money will have been wasted.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 2:45AM
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bindersbee(6a UT)

So. I just did a web search (you probably already have) and you can't buy a product anywhere online to do this kind of thing. That would lead me to believe that you really shouldn't do it. Likely, such a thing would have to be engineered. An 8" by 8 foot tall solid concrete column would have to weigh close to 800-1,000 lbs. Would you have a cement truck come to fill them? It would be tough to mix up that much concrete yourself.

If you can find some pre-cast round blocks that are already manufactured and can be stacked and mortared together, that might work but I don't think making them yourself would be wise. I could certainly be wrong though. I'd be interested to hear what others have to say.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 3:12AM
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Thank you. Saved me a lot of aggravation and expense.

I searched the fiberglass columns. Looks real nice. My local stores do not carry it though. There is a company I found on the internet ( have e-mailed them for a quote.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 11:03AM
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on LANDSCAPE SMART sponsored by Lowes I see, per column, they assembled treated 4x4s placed in soil in concrete like fence posts, then with matching concrete trim pieces top and bottom they stacked decorative concrete 16" tall round "pipes" over the posts, filling with pea gravel as they assembled... It looked very good and professional when finished.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 1:18PM
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Why don't you contact a home construction company or a concrete plant and ask them? I bet the size you want is not supportable without a huge footer which you may not be able to dig.
Check this Bob Vila website too - lots of info

Our front porch has columns of the size you're thinking of - made of wood. They require painting or touch up every year even though they are under the roof overhang. If possible I'd go with fiberglass for maintenance.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 3:24PM
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It may be worthwhile to check with the people at a precast concrete operation. I'm not sure about the round columns, and it would be hard to produce them in the slightly bulging form that gives the best appearance. However, if you could accept something square it would be pretty inexpensive for you. Of course, there is then the moving and setting cost. A post 8" X 8" X 8' has a weight of about 550#. There are several finishes that they can use. And they can use a colored cement or some that will give a very white color.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 10:17PM
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Wow you are industrious. You are getting good advice try a foam product or resin. These are common in Forida the company I ordered our capitals and bases from is Architectural Foam in Ft. Lauderdale. Their web site is
Our new home has all poured concrete and steel supported columns it is a very big deal and took a pump truck and vibrator to make sure the columns were perfect. It takes skill and hard labor to get this right. Good Luck

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 12:47AM
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It can be done. Little and Lewis on Bainbridge Island, Washington do it all the time. But of course one of them has years of experience in sculpting and concrete work. They're made in sections. I have instructions somewhere, but it could take a few days to come up with them. I seem to remember using the rolls carpet comes on for the mold. Will post instructions if/when I locate. Don't give up:)

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 2:20AM
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Or, if you are a die hard DIY, you could use the sonotube (cardboard form) and have the outside stucco or shot-crete. It is not my thing, but just a thought.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 7:34AM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Definitely check around the web for architectual details.
You can get almost anything you can imagine in any style of any material . I love to play with the interactive ,changing the columns,bases and capitals. Not to mention wall niches, frieses,mouldings ,you name it
One caution ... have never checked the prices lol.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 5:16AM
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ten years as part of home projects. some using 4x4 and a couple using 6x6s. (i wish i'd taken pix, but have moved). they held up great for 8-9 years and show no signs of wear. painted (concrete stain) them twice to change color. as follows...

- sunk the posts

- firred them out with 1x1 or 2x2s in the middle, depending on which size desired. (6x6s looked great, after being firred w/2x2s).

wrapped post in hardware cloth (stiff metal-type chicken wire) and nailed to 2x2s to make the column circular.

mixed mortar (portland cement) and troweled from bottom up.

made my own "casts" for bottom decorative outer column moldings. poured the bottom casts with same mixture. used circular-trimmed pressure treated 2x8s for top of column design. when completed and stained / painted, looked exactly like a stone column you'd find in rome italy or caesers palace las vegas. came out much better than i my goal was to make them decent enough that mrs. moochie wouldn't tell me to cut them down.

hope that helps... my project sounds far more complicated than it really was... i'm really an amateur DIYer so if i can handle it, anyone can.

(side note: everyone who viewed my home during it's listing commented on the "trellis with the columns", so it was money well spent)


    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 9:31AM
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Seems tall for 8" dia. concrete column. Maybe try a square pilaster (16"x16" x3'tall, witha 7' column on top? )
If you must, you must think of the proper size footing w/rebar, I would embed a round steel post into the ftg. itself, its height abt. 3" below top of the column. than cover with concrete using the sonotube ( center, level and shore up)
you will need a tall ladder to go up and down to pour your mixed concrete ( yourself or ready mixed from a supplier). Vibrate and tap on the outside, pull forms about 4 days later. Finish with a top coat of stucco, a ready bag at home depot, may add color to it ( difficult to trowel on round columns) or just prime and paint.
With planning you can do is just a bit of a work out.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2010 at 12:08AM
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