Installing Square Permacast Columns

Square Fiberglass Column Installation Instructions
From HB&G 2021. Want to print a copy, check out the PDF here.

 1. Determine the position of the column shaft by dropping a plumb line from the center of the beam to the floor. Mark this point on the floor with an “X”. This mark is where you will center the column shaft so that the top of the shaft will align with the center of the beam. On the bottom of the beam and on the floor surface, measure a distance out from these center points in 4 directions (half the width of the column shaft) and mark those distances. Use a carpenter’s square to draw the outline of the column shaft through these marks. When you install the column shaft, you will align the column to these marks. 

2. Measure the overall height. Raise the beam slightly with a brace for easy installation of the column. 

3. Lay column on saw horses and trim column shaft to length. Column shaft can be trimmed from the top or bottom since the shaft is non-tapered. Cut with a circular saw with an abrasive masonry blade or fine tooth carbide blade. Finish both the top and bottom of the shaft with a rasp or sander to ensure an even load distribution around the bearing surfaces. 

4. Slide the neck mould (if included and assembled) over top of the shaft to the desired location (do this before sliding capital over the shaft). Fasten neck mould to the shaft using construction adhesive and countersink non-corrosive screws. Slide cap over the top of the column shaft. Let capital slide down to rest on the neck mould temporarily until the shaft is correctly positioned. Caulk between neck mould and shaft and fill countersunk screw holes with caulk or exterior filler. 

5. Slide base onto column shaft from the bottom. Use masking tape or shims to temporarily hold the base approximately 12” up from the shaft bottom.

6. Place column in a vertical position with beam load centered over column shaft with an even distribution around the bearing surfaces. Be sure to align the perimeter of the column shaft with the marks you made in Step 1. You can use a 4’ or longer level to verify column shaft is plumb. 

7. Remove brace to allow the load to bear on the column shaft. 

8. Use small L-brackets included in the cap and base kit, and place them on opposite sides of the column's shaft to attach the column. The vertical legs of the L-brackets should touch the face of the column shaft. Use the holes in the vertical leg of the L-bracket as guides to pre-drill the attachment screw holes into the column shaft. BE SURE TO PRE-DRILL HOLES. Be careful to not over tighten screws. 

9. POLYURETHANE Cap and Base: Slide cap up to soffit and attach to soffit using non-corrosive screws. Attach the base to the floor and bottom of the shaft using non-corrosive screws or appropriate fasteners. Countersink holes so screw heads will recess into the cap and base material. Fill holes with exterior “Bondo” or filler. SYNTHETIC INJECTION MOLDED (SIM) Cap and Base: Attach using non-corrosive screws in the holes pre-moulded in the cap and base. Fill holes with “Bondo” or filler. 

10. Caulk between cap and soffit, the cap and shaft, and the base and shaft for a finished appearance


  • Be certain the load is evenly distributed over the load-bearing surface of the shaft. The column should be loaded concentrically with 100% contact on the bottom with the substrate and 75% at the top with the soffit. 
  • PermaLite® columns are not intended to be split. 
  • Split columns are non-load bearing. 
  • If building code requires an uplift connection, contact your distributor or dealer for recommendations.
  • Do not paint using dark colors (dark colors are considered any color that falls within the L values of 56 to 0). L is a measure of the lightness of an object and ranges from 0 (black) to 100 (white).
  • Spray painting is not recommended. Paint should always be applied with a brush.
  • 2nd-floor balconies should NOT be attached directly to the side of any Square Fiberglass Column.
  • Water should not be allowed to collect inside Fiberglass Columns. Flashing should be used to channel water away from the inside of the column. A drainage hole can be drilled in the bottom of the shaft and plinth if necessary.
  • Columns should never be pressure washed or sprayed with water prior to installation.
  • Columns are not designed to be set into masonry or concrete. This will void the warranty.
  • Concrete should never be used to fill Fiberglass Columns. This will void the warranty.
  • Do not install columns below grade. This will void the warranty.


1. Use warm soapy water and a sponge or soft brush to make sure all surfaces are clean and oil-free prior to painting. Rinse with water. Do not use a pressure washer. Allow column to completely dry prior to applying finishes. Finishes will not adhere well to damp, dirty, or oily surfaces.

2. Apply a high-quality exterior-grade bonding primer (like XIM Primer400 White or a bonding primer made for use with fiberglass or plastics) and 2 coats of high-quality exterior-grade acrylic latex paint. Painting without the use of a bonding primer can lead to adhesion issues.

3. Follow the paint manufacturer’s instructions for best results. There are different grades of paint available. Check with painting professionals and use products that will provide a long-lasting finish in exterior applications. Do not use paint or solvents containing acetone.

4. Failure to properly finish and maintain the finish can damage fiberglass columns and will void the warranty.


1. Before installation, apply the panel insert pieces to the top and bottom of each side of the column shaft (Field trimming shaft to the desired length prior to attaching insert pieces). Each column will include (4) top panel insert pieces and (4) bottom panel insert pieces. The pieces can be attached to the shaft using a construction adhesive and non-corrosive screws (screws must be countersunk and filled with a fiberglass body filler, such as “Bondo”).

2. If using panel divider pieces to achieve a two-panel or three-panel design column, attach in the same manner as the panel insert pieces. First, measure and determine the placement of each of the panel divider pieces and attach to each side of the column shaft using a construction adhesive and countersunk non-corrosive screws.

3. Fill the seams where the panel insert pieces and panel divider pieces meet the shaft and the countersunk screw holes with a fiberglass body filler, such as “Bondo”. 4. Follow “Square Fiberglass Column Installation Instructions” Steps 1-10 & “Finishing and Painting Instructions” Steps 1-4.

Want to print a copy, check out the PDF here.