Porch Column Bracket Styles

Written by sylvia cini
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Porch Column Bracket Styles
The elaborate brackets used in Victorian homes are called "gingerbread." (a Victorian palette image by Stormy Ward from Fotolia.com)

Corner brackets, or corbels, are supports that uphold the integrity of a structure, using the stability of walls, posts and/or columns. Brackets are all flat and V-shaped; however, some contain decorative elements that fill the space between the support and roof, enhancing the visual appeal of a structure. You may coordinate brackets with the rest of an exterior design or choose a different bracket for each area.

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Flat (Non-Decorative)

Flat brackets are plain metal bars, bent at a 90-degree angle. They serve a purely structural purpose as they are not visible from in front of a building. Flat brackets may be chosen for houses with decorative moulding that hangs in front of the columns.

Decorative Bracket (Non-Structural)

The opposite of a flat bracket is a decorative bracket. The purpose of a decorative bracket is to add aesthetic value. In this capacity the bracket does not support any weight, making it possible to have elaborately carved or sculpted designs. The primary disadvantage of using decorative brackets is the risk of damage. With questionable structural integrity, the pieces are more likely to rip off or become damaged during a storm.

Eave and Gable

Eave and gable bracket designs draw upon the architectural taste of the 1700s, namely Gothic and Queen Anne homes. Eaves are the lower lip of a roof that projects away from the main wall whereas gables are the triangular wall spaces created at the peak of a triangular roof. The original eaves and gables both featured elaborate wood and stone supports that are decorative as well as supportive. Eave and gable brackets feature the same elaborate designs, scaled down.

Victorian (Gingerbread)

Victorian-style architectural design features elaborate mill work that spans the distance between columns and fills the empty space in oft overlooked places such as the corner of windows, above the doorway and along the roof. The decorative wood elements of this design were often called "gingerbread" in reference to the Medieval practice of using gingerbread biscuits as window decoration. Gingerbread brackets feature the same detailed scroll work of other Victorian-style pieces. Some brackets even featured the initials of the homeowner or the street numbers of the residences.

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