While finishing a downstairs room, my thoughts were on the two Lally columns that carry the beam supporting the ceiling. Their steel-pipe look didn’t go with the new decor, which featured a chair rail 40 in. above the floor, wainscoting, baseboards and drywall. I decided to apply those details to the columns. Here’s how I did it.
First, I boxed the columns with drywall. At the corners of the boxes, I screwed the drywall to straight-grain pieces of pine, ripped into 3/4-in. by 3/4-in. strips. The pine rippings reinforced the drywall corners from the inside. Then I applied the metal corner bead, again using screws to keep from banging the boxes apart. The problem then became how to secure the drywall boxes to the columns. As shown in the drawing, I drilled small holes next to each corner of the boxes at three elevations: near the top; 40 in. above the floor; and at the bottom. Next I poked the nozzle of a urethane foam can through each hole, depositing a generous dose of the expanding foam at each comer. The foam is very sticky, and it pretty much stays where you put it so I didn’t have to fill the entire box. A couple of hours later the foam was hard, and the boxes were surprisingly sturdy. Trimmed out with chair rail, wainscot and base, the columns (and the room) look great.