Column Selection Guide

Architectural Columns

Selection Guide


Melton Classics offers the industry’s most comprehensive selection of column products, materials, finishes and designs, and our customers have numerous and differing building applications. Therefore, we feel it is important to offer our customers experienced counsel to assist them in selecting the ideal columns for their project. We begin by listening closely to our customer’s needs and desires. We ask questions to ensure we understand your design goals, and educate you on all your options. Then based on our three decades of column experience, we help you select the ideal column product for your specific design, application.and budget.

Our most popular and affordable column products are our DuraClassic Composite Fiberglass Columns and our ClassicGlas FiberResin Fiberglass Columns. They both offer a lifetime warranty and are available in load bearing or column cover styles in a variety of round and square designs. Click on the product name above for more information on these innovative and affordably priced lifetime warranty columns. 

Please allow us to speak with you now to help you with your search for the best column product for your building project. Call one of our experienced Architectural Column Specialists now at 800-963-3060 for a free  project consultation and quotation. 

The Column Selector has been designed to cover several areas that will impact your decision on what column you ultimately need for your application, design and budget.

1. Do you need Load bearing Columns or Column Covers?
2. Architectural Column Finishes and Textures – Prefinished Columns, Maintenance Free Columns or Painted Columns
3. Design Selection Assistance, and Our Gallery of Standard Columns
4. Custom Columns, Custom Pilasters and Custom Pillars
5. Columns and Pilasters – A close relationship
6. The Relationship Between Architectural Columns, Piers and Balustrades
7. The Orders of Architecture – The Classical Rules of Column Design and Proportion
8. Architectural Column Proportion – Column Height to Diameter Relationship Assistance

Your Column Application – Load Bearing Columns vs. Column Covers and Column Wraps

One of the first decisions to be made in selecting a column is whether you want to use your column as a load bearing column, or will you use a steel or wood load bearing member to provide structural features and also do the load bearing work. This decision is best made early in the design phase of your project, and is normally made in consultation with your AIA Certified Architect and a structural engineer. Your Melton Classics Column Specialist will be pleased to assist you with some basic guidelines.

Assembly and joining the column halves can be an expensive and laborious part of your column project unless it is engineered properly. You can, however, greatly simplify installation and greatly lower installation costs by selecting the right column cover for your application, or by avoiding the use of a split column or column cover altogether.

There are several ways that we can assist you in eliminating or reducing the cost of using a split column or column cover. We can even show you how to use a one piece column with your steel or wood load bearing supports without splitting the column shaft. In order to help you reduce costs it is critical that we consult with you early in your project to be of maximum assistance in avoiding or reducing the labor and cost of joining column covers. Please call one of our experienced Architectural Column Specialists 800-963-3060 for assistance with your application and selecting the ideal column for your project.

When your project calls for a column cover, Melton Classics has the largest selection of column covers in the industry. We also offer our exclusive joining and alignment system on our ClassicGlas Column Covers to eliminate the need for interior blocking and to greatly cut installation costs. Call our office at 800-963-3060 for more information on how you can simplify and reduce the cost of rejoining column halves on your column covers.

Most of our column products, when not split for reassembly, are load bearing, however, live loads are best carried by a steel post or beam, or a structural wood member that will provide structural attachment to the beam and floor. In many exterior applications uplift, shear, or wind loading issues are also a consideration. This makes the use of a structural steel member or Simpson Tie Bolt inside the column important for the purposes of tie down of the structure in high winds. In these cases, we recommend the use of one of our many decorative column covers or column wraps.

We also have a wide variety of load bearing columns that will support many thousands of pounds each. See the technical sections for load bearing capacity estimates and guidelines. Be sure to consult your architect or structural engineer for exact load values and to determine if it is appropriate to use a load bearing column for your specific application.

Column Finishes and Textures

Melton Classics offers a wide variety of maintenance free prefinished columns in a variety of colors and textures. Whether you are looking for a small porch column or a large column for a courthouse, Melton Classics can provide you a maintenance free column for your design.

Synthetic Stone Prefinished and Textured Columns

Our MarbleTex Columns are cast from integrally colored maintenance free synthetic stone. Textured with a fine sandblasted texture, these columns come in a variety of colors and designs to enhance any project.  They can be provided with a one piece shaft for load bearing applications or can be split for reassembly around structural steel as a column cover or column wrap.  For applications where you need a prefinished column cover, we also offer our FiberCrete GFRC and MeltonStone Cast Stone Column Covers in a variety of stone finishes and textures. These beautiful column covers provide the look and feel of stone with reduced weight. They can also be matched to a myriad of MeltonStone Cast Stone Architectural Elements such as balustrades, mouldings and millwork for complete coordination of your architectural elements. Click here to see our full line of beautiful maintenance free Prefinished Columns.

We also offer a wide variety of paint grade and stain grade columns to allow the application of field applied paints and stain finishes. To coordinate with our paint grade columns we offer a wide variety of low maintenance Balustrades and Architectural Urethane Millwork products. These polyurethane millwork products are factory primed and provide a cost saving and more durable low maintenance alternative to wood mouldings and millwork.


Brackets, Corbels & Dentil Blocks

Custom Millwork

Door Surrounds

Finials, Balls, Urns & SpiresLouvers


Window Features

Other Millwork Details

Designs for Columns, Pillars and Pilasters

Melton Classics offers the most comprehensive selection of Architectural Column Designs in the industry. From Classical Columns based on the timeless Orders of Architecture to Craftsman Columns or Arts and Crafts Columns, Contemporary Columns or completely custom columns of your design, Melton Classics can create any column design you desire. We offer classically tapered round columns with entasis tapered shafts and contemporary round columns with straight shafts. Square columns and pillars are offered with straight column shafts or tapered column shaft styles in paneled column, fluted column or plain smooth column designs. In our Architectural Column section you will find a photo of each of the standard designs offered in each product group under the Designs tab to assist you in finding the ideal architectural column for your project.  For a look at our classically designed column capital and column base designs please see the Capitals and Bases section of the website. Click here for a Gallery of Past Projects to illustrate most of our standard architectural columns. For custom designs call us at 800-963-3060 for a free consultation and custom quotation.

Round Architectural Columns

Square Architectural Columns

Columns and Custom Pillars

Melton Classics also specializes in the custom manufacture of custom architectural columns at amazingly affordable prices. The only limitation to what we can create for you is your imagination. If you don’t see the design you are looking for, or are looking for a custom column, please send us your drawings and call one of our Architectural Column Specialists for an economical quotation for your custom columns.

Pilasters to Compliment Your Architectural Columns

In addition to full columns, any of our columns can be supplied as an engaged column or pilaster. Pilasters are the classical compliment to the free standing column, and are used to enhance column design by adding a mirror image of the full free standing column engaged to an adjoining wall. Melton Classics offers pilasters and engaged columns in a variety of styles to enhance all designs of our full round columns, square columns and pillars.

Architectural Column Piers and Balustrades

In Classical Architecture columns were set atop piers to enhance design, and to act as a pier attachment for balustrades. The pier was so integral to classical architecture that it was included in the Orders of Architecture when proportions were established for each Order. Melton Classics offers column piers and balustrade piers and newel posts in a wide variety of materials and designs to enhance the beauty of your columns. Balustrades were often incorporated with columns in classical architecture and normally were placed between the piers atop which the architectural columns were placed. Melton Classics can assist you in designing your porch columns atop piers or with balustrade running between the column shafts.We also offer balustrades with rail spans up to 20 feet uninterrupted by posts, piers, or columns. For more design ideas in how to incorporate balustrades into your column design see our Balustrades Section or call us at 800-963-3060 for a free personal consultation.

The Timeless Orders of Architecture

The classic column designs of Melton Classics are based on the timeless Orders of Architecture laid down in the 1500’s by the Italian Renaissance architect Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola. Vignola codified the rules of classical column architecture from Greek and Roman architecture on which the design and proportions of the Orders of Architecture are based. Classical columns are based on temples from ancient Greece and Rome and are constructed with specific diameter to height ratios based on the Column Order, or design. The Comparison of the Orders below illustrates the varying proportions between the Orders which are based off of the bottom diameter of the column shaft which indicates the relative proportion of the surrounding architectural elements, as well.

Comparison of the Orders

For a larger more detailed view of the Comparison of the Orders click here.

The Comparison of the Orders plate above is the sole property of Melton Classics Incorporated. Any use or reproduction without prior written permission is prohibited.

Architectural Columns – Proportion

The classically proportioned column is based proportionally as it sits atop a pier and is embellished above with a large entablature. Modern architecture often lacks the column piers, large entablatures, or beams, and large exterior cornices above the columns. Therefore, it is not unusual to see the modern column proportioned slightly more slender than is indicated by the Orders of Architecture. An often used minimum height to diameter ratio is an inch in diameter for each foot of height for individual (unpaired) architectural columns. If the columns are paired or tripled on a corner an even slimmer column may be proportionally sufficient depending on the design. Our Architectural Column Specialists will be pleased to give you any guidance you desire with regard to column diameter or design selection based on your project’s architectural style. How columns relate to one another is also included in the Orders of Architecture in establishing a spacing guide between columns, Intercolumniation, and a hierarchy and proportion of columns on different floors of a building, Superposition.

Please give one of our experienced Architectural Column Specialists at 800-963-3060 for a free consultation and quotation on the ideal Melton Classics Architectural Column for your design, application and budget.

Column Selection

Building the perfect column for you
custom application has never been easier

Start Now

Balustrade Selection

Let us help identify the right balustrade system
for your custom application

Know More