Fiberglass columns provide an alternative to
wood and stone, while maintaining the appearance of the
traditional classic column styles.
Fiberglass is composed of very thin glass
fibers. The fibers are combined with a plastic material,
reinforcing the plastic, and resulting in a light, strong
and durable material.
One of the most common fiberglass composite
materials is fiberglass reinforced polymer, commonly known as
FRP, a construction material stronger than most tradition
materials used to make columns. Fiberglass reinforced polymer
has several advantages over wood; it is non-porous, and avoids
the water damage, swelling and warping that can occur in humid
climates and conditions.
Fiberglass is used to make both fiberglass
columns and column covers. Solid fiberglass columns can be
either load-bearing, designed to carry the weight of a supported
structure, or non-load bearing, concealing a supportive
structure, or standing on its own. Fiberglass columns possess
high impact resistance, and they have powerful supportive
qualities, minus the weight of a traditional stone or wood
column. Fiberglass is also easy to clean and maintain.
Fiberglass column covers can conceal
unattractive ducts, structural features, lally columns, and
basement supports. Fiberglass covers consist of two pieces that
join to create a seamless surface, and often include detachable
bases and capitols, as well. Therefore, they can be easily
separated for maintenance, and reassembled.
Modern fiberglass first appeared in 1938,
as the invention of Russell Games Slayter. Today, fiberglass
columns are produced from molds. The raw materials are melted in
a furnace, and poured into a negative physical image of the
column or column components.