Fluted Columns

What is a Fluted Column?

When we refer to a fluted column, we simply mean a column has round indentations running vertically the length of the shaft.  Fluted columns add an element of detail and timeless beauty, and are often paired with ornamental capitals.  Flutes actually were seen even before the Greek architecture it is commonly associated with.  According to Rook Andalus, fluted columns were first found in ancient Egypt at the Step Pyramid of Djoser.

We offer fluted options on our round tapered, non-tapered, as well as square columns.

What is the difference between “Standard Flute” and “Custom Flute”?

The standard flute option is only available on our best-selling 8”, 10” and 12” Round Tapered Fiberglass-polymer Columns.  In those sizes the flutes are available molded right into the shaft.  If possible, you’ll want to use the Standard Flute simply because it is more cost-effective.  There is a portion at the bottom of the shaft that is smooth, before the flutes begin to allow for the column base and for trimming to length.  See the table below.  The bottom line shows how much shaft can be trimmed before the flutes will “run into” the Tuscan base.  If your project needs a finished column height that does not fall within that range, or your using a different cap/base style, you’ll want to consider choosing a custom flute.

The custom flute is the best option if your column diameter or length does not fall into the range allowing a standard flute.  All column sizes can be custom-fluted for specific shaft lengths and for different cap and base options.  On custom fluted shafts, typically the flutes end 1”above the base and end 1″ from the astragal (detail at the top).  When ordering custom fluted columns, just let us know your actual finished height, which base and cap you like, and we’ll send a drawing for your approval prior to production.

Standard Fluted Column Specifications
8" Column10" Column12" Column
Shafts Heights Available8', 9', 10'8', 9', 10' ,12'8', 9', 10', 12', 16'
Smooth Shaft (Before Flutes)9 3/4"10 1/4"11 1/4"
Tuscan Base Height4 1/4"5 1/4"6"
Maximum Shaft Trim5"4"5"

For example, if you are interested in our 8″ Round Tapered Column but have a finishing height of 8′ 3″, a standard column would not be the best option for your project. This height would require you to trim 9″ from the shaft which exceeds the straight shaft portion by 4″. Because your finishing height would require you to cut into the flutes, we would recommend the custom fluted route.

Custom fluted columns are available in every diameter and shaft height. With a custom fluted column, we will tailor the flutes based on the finishing height so that the flutes will begin 1” above the base. If you have varying heights throughout your project, our fluted columns are a great option. If there is more than ¼” of variance in column height, you will see a noticeable difference between the flutes. We also offer custom flutes for our Square Non-Tapered FRP Columns. Contact us today for a custom quote. 

We do not recommend mixing standard and custom fluted columns in the same project.  There are slight differences in flute design that might be noticeable if used together.

Not sure which option to pursue?  Want to use a different style cap or base (such as an Attic Base and a Scamozzi Cap)?  We are here to talk through the details of your project, provide recommendations, and answer any questions you may have.  We are happy to provide you with drawings that provide a comparison between each design once it is installed.

How To Trim a Column To Length

Trimming our fiberglass-polymer columns is easily accomplished with a masonry blade on a regular circular saw.  Always trim the bottom when cutting to length, otherwise your capital might not fit.  The bottom approx. 1/3 of the column shaft is not tapered and that allows you to trim the bottom without affecting the fit of the base.

Are your columns structural?  What about using them as a wrap?

Split column options

Our whole columns are structural.   Our fiberglass polymer columns have concentric load bearing capacities ranging from 6,000 to 20,000 lbs per column. It is important to note that our columns are structural as long as they remain whole. If you pursue one of our split options, they are no longer load bearing.  Split columns are typically used as a decorative wrap around an existing structural member.

We offer several different split options based on how the column is being installed. One of our most popular splits is our split for reassembly (AS) option where a column is reassembled as a decorative wrap around an existing post. If you plan on wrapping a square or round post, please check our column specifications to ensure you have enough room inside of the column based on the size of your existing structure. Reassembling a split column is easier than you might think.  We have a great reassembly kit that contains everything you need to make the installation process seamless (for you and the column). You can find a copy of our instructions pertaining to reassembling a split column here.

Whether you are interested in standard or custom flutes, a round or square shaft, tapered or non-tapered columns, whole or split shafts, we are here to help! Our columns add beauty and architectural elegance to any porch. Let us help bring your design dreams to life.