Melton Classics, Inc. Classic™ Wood Column Installation Instructions

Component List



Table of Contents

Critical Column Ventilation
Storage and Handling
Base and Plinth Installation
Capital Installation
Field Trimming Column Shaft
Satisfying Warranty Requirements
Split Columns for Reassembly


Also Needed

5″ Non-corrosive dowels – 2 per Column
21�2″ Non-corrosive (stainless steel or aluminum) double hot-dipped galvanized screws
20-year silicone caulk
High quality wood filler


If you are using split bases, shafts and capitals, be sure to mark each set so that you can keep the matching halves together later on, during assembly.

Critical Ventilation Details

Ventilation must be provided at the top of the column by the installing contractor. All warranty claims will be voided if columns are not properly ventilated as shown at right.

Storage & Handling Instructions

Column shafts, capitals and bases must be stored in a secure, dry, and well-ventilated area. Columns should not to be stored under a plastic tarpaulin as moisture may collect from the atmosphere and may damage the column. The column shaft should be raised off the ground so that air circulates around the column. Column shafts or wooden components should not be stored in direct contact with concrete or other masonry.

If our standard primer and asphaltum coatings are not factory applied, all wood components should be painted with two coats of a high quality oil based primer prior to delivery to the job site. Also, asphaltum paint should be applied a minimum of three feet up the inside of the shaft, and on the inside walls of a wood base.

Be sure to keep any column components that are split for reassembly paired with their matching halves. Failure to keep matching halves together may have detrimental effects on reassembly.

Installation of Plinth/Base and Capitals

Fiberglass plinths, aluminum plinths, or lead plates must be used to provide ventilation and act as a barrier against concrete or other masonry.


1. Determine the position of the center point of the column by dropping a plumb line from the center of the beam to the deck. This procedure will identify the center of the plinth so that the column capital will align properly with the beam. (See Figure Below)

2. Set two 5″ non-corrosive dowels in the deck on diagonally opposing corners of the plinth. Allow them to protrude 34” from deck. This will prevent the plinth from shifting. Be sure to allow for the thickness of the plinth when selecting the dowel position.

3. Set plinth over dowel pins and check for level. If the deck is pitched, scribe the plinth and use a fine tooth hand saw or hack saw to trim plinth for level. Be sure to maintain the same amount of ventilation area originally provided by the plinth. For columns provided with lead plates and no plinth, remove the plates, level the column and replace the plates after resealing the trimmed area with a high-quality oil base paint.

4. Reset assembly over dowels and recheck level.

5. Position the base on the bottom end of the shaft. Pre-drill through the base and into the shaft for fasteners. Apply 20 year silicone caulk to the base area and where the column shaft intersect. Secure base and plinth to the shaft using non-corrosive screws. (See Figures Below)

6. Pre-drill through shaft and into the capital for fasteners. Apply caulk to the area where the capital and shaft intersect. Secure capital to shaft using non-corrosive screws. (See Below)


Installing the Shaft:

7. Raise the beam to permit the base/ shaft/capital assembly to be correctly positioned underneath.

8. Caulk the area where the beam meets the capital and lift shaft into position.

9. Lower beam onto column assembly. Attach beam to capital. When unable to raise the beam, use shims to lock the capital in place before securing.

Trimming Shaft to Exact Height:

To determine the overall height of the column, measure the opening distance from the finished beam to the finished floor at the center of where the column will stand. Be sure to measure ALLof the column locations, as opening heights are frequently different due to variations in the deck.


Be sure to include capital (with plug for ornamental capitals), base and plinth when determining desired shaft length to fit opening. Measure from the upper most top cove on the column shaft along the edge of at least four staves around the circumference of the column shaft to obtain an accurate bottom trim line.

The end grain on the bottom of a column shaft field trimmed to length must be coated with two coats of oil based paint prior to installation.

Attachment of Ornamental Capitals

Ornamental Capitals are Non-Loadbearing. Use Enclosed Plug When Installing. (The Loadbearing plug should be approximately 18” taller than capital.) After completely covering all areas of the capital (both inside and outside) with a high quality oil based paint, position capital over loadbearing plug and onto column shaft. Pre-drill through capital and plug at an angle so that the attachment fastener will intersect the shaft Caulk the area where the capital meets the shaft. Attach the capital using non-corrosive screws. Install the lead flashing on top of the capital, and turn the edge of the flashing down over the edge of the capital to act as a drip edge.


Attachment of Wood Capitals

Pre-drill through shaft and into capital for fasteners. Apply caulk to the area where the capital and shaft intersect. Secure capital to shaft using non-corrosive screws.


Finishing Instructions


Non-corrosive (stainless steel or aluminum alloy) nails and fasteners should be used on Redwood exposed to moisture. Top quality double hot-dipped galvanized nails will also perform well if the galvanized coating is not damaged during nailing. Experience indicates that nails galvanized by other processes are unsatisfactory, and like ordinary corrosive nails, can react with Redwood�s natural extractives when wet to cause stain streaks.

10. No wood blocking or other obstruction should be installed on the interior of the column which would interfere with the natural expansion and contraction of the column.


11. Seal all fastener holes with caulk and repair holes or nicks which occurred during installation with a high quality wood filler. Use patching plaster to repair any nicks or scratches in ornamental composition capitals.

12. (See Finishing Instructions) immediately after installation apply at least two coats of a high quality oil based paint to all exterior surfaces. See paint manufacturers recommendations for proper paint application. Note: An even coating of at least 4.0 mil dry film thickness is required. (FHAminimum of 5.0 mil is preferred.)

The end grain on the bottom of a column shaft field trimmed for length must be sealed prior to installation with two coats of a high quality oil based paint.

All interior and exterior surfaces of plaster composition capitals must be coated with two coats of a high quality based primer.

Reassembly of Split Column Shafts

Keep all seams at 90 degrees to front view. Halves will arrive marked. Be very careful to keep proper halves together. Use a quality resourcinal adhesive for joining wood pieces and a quality polyester resin for fiberglass pieces.

13. The two-piece plinth and base are installed as in Steps 1 through 4, join halves with resourcinal adhesive and non-corrosive fasteners.

14. Natural stresses in wood may cause variations in the roundness of the shaft once columns are cut in halves. Determine the roundness of the shaft by pre-assembling on the ground. Any area appearing elongated will require l” x 1″ x 4″ blocking to be placed at a point opposite that area for shaft to be pulled back into round while clamping. There should be no more than a 132” difference at seam.

15. Caulk with 20-year silicone caulking underneath halves, then place them on the base and align splines leaving a gap between halves. Fully cover joints of both halves inside gap with resourcinal adhesive. Be certain there is complete wood-to-wood contact along joint.

16. Place chain/clamps not less than 16″ apart along the length of the shaft. To prevent damage, place strips of carpet beneath clamps and tighten clamps to 80 psi. Let stand for a minimum of 24 hours. (Follow adhesive manufacturers recommendations for clamping time under cool or moist conditions.) Adjust clamps and use blocking where necessary to pull columns into round. It may also be necessary to tap along seam with a rubber mallet. Check and be certain there is complete contact all along the joint, then remove excess glue.

17. Refer to pages 4 & 5 for capital installation. Join halves with resourcinal adhesive.

Final Steps: Fill any gaps along seams of shaft and capital with wood filler and sand smooth with fine sandpaper.


Made in Half Ornamental Capitals


18. Match corresponding numbers on each half capital and shellac both cut faces of the capital to seal prior to gluing.

19. Center half capital on the column and secure it to the wooden plug (or shafts) by drilling holes through the capital into the plug and countersinking the fasteners.

20. ONCE HALF OF THE CAPITAL IS SECURED, apply adhesive to the secured capital. Squeeze other half of capital onto the secured capital and secure by drilling holes and countersinking fasteners.

21. Take molding plaster or any premixed plaster compound and patch the seams. Once plaster is completely dry sand excess plaster from joints.

22. Place flashing over capital and bend over edges to protect capital from moisture. Caulk the seams where the capital meets the shaft and the beam before applying two coats of oil base paint.