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Finish

Launch Slideshow

Replacing Giant Columns

Finishing up

Replacing Giant Columns

Finishing up

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    The finished job matches the original perfectly.

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    The original two-piece fiberglass capitals were reinstalled.

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    New trim was scribed to fit.

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    Where adjoining roofs meet the column, a rubber membrane was adhered to the shaft, then covered with copper.

After installing the capitals and bases, we moved on to the trim. In some places we had to disassemble and replace the entablature moldings because the new columns had a slightly different profile from the originals (see slideshow). We made some of the new trim components on site and had some of the profiles milled at a local wood shop.

The final step was patching the rubber roofing. The previous roofers had installed a tar-and-copper curb against the column, attempting to follow the radius and patching with cement where necessary. This didn’t seem like the best approach — besides being unattractive, it would be prone to leaks. Instead, at the spot where the roof deck met the column, we ground back the flutes to create a flat area. We primed the bare wood, then adhered rubber roofing to the column and covered it with new copper flashing.

After we finished our work, the painters came in. When they were done and the scaffolding — which had been up for eight months — came down, it looked as if we had never been there. 

Cost

The total cost for the columns was $43,500, and the fiberglass bases and associated flexible cove moldings added another $12,240 — for a total, with tax, of about $60,000, or $10,000 apiece. We were on the job for about six months, with two men half of that time and three men (not including the lift operator) the other half.

Noah Woodruff is a lead carpenter for R.J. Doerr Co. in Easton, Pa.