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Top 10 Questions You Should Ask When Buying Square or Round Fiberglass Columns

Ordering fiberglass columns can be overwhelming and mind-boggling when you have no idea what you should be buying in the first place.  Questions with regards to quality, manufacturer reputation, column longevity, warranty, materials and shipping come to mind. No worries, we have come up with a list of 10 questions you should ask your manufacturer when purchasing columns.
1.) Does your column have a fiberglass or FRP capital and base?

Fiberglass or FRP (comes standard with all of our columns) A fiberglass cap and base have a Lifetime Limited Warranty. The fiberglass cap and base weigh about 3 to 5 times as much as the polyurethane cap and base, the fiberglass cap and base is a hard material that is hard to damage.   
Polyurethane- A polyurethane base which is what many other column manufactures provide only has a 1-year warranty. This is what you would most likely get from your local hardware store.  It has the density of wood.  It can be dented if you are shoveling snow, using a weed eater or something as small as kids poking it with a sharp toy.  The picture to the below shows where a squirrel ate the base.

2.) Is the column we are buying class A fire rated? (All of Worthington’s WorthingtonCast™ and WorthingtonFRP™ columns are class A fire rated) Many companies try to utilize shortcuts when manufacturing their columns. This makes the materials less expensive to produce, therefore they can sell it to their customer at a less expensive price.  You can usually spot this just by looking at the warranty for their columns.  When you try to cut corners, you get a less durable product.  You can identify a lesser quality product by doing a flashlight test like the one we did below.  Per these pictures, if the company is using a good strong material, you will NOT be able to see the flashlight through it in a dark room.  


3.) Is the capital and base a “solid” fiberglass? (All of our caps and bases are made of a “solid” fiberglass material) Again, this is a way that companies try to cut corners and therefore hurt the durability of the product. You can tell if it is not solid fiberglass by shining a flashlight on the inside.  If it is solid, you will not be able to see the flashlight from the other side.  Note the picture below to get an idea of what we mean by solid fiberglass. 

4.) Has your columns load bearing capacity testing been provided by an ICC third party company and can you show the testing reports? The companies that try to cut corners and sell a lesser quality product will not have done this internally, which can err on the side of bias.   All of Worthington columns are ICC Tested, you can access our ICC Testing Report HERE.

5.) Do you use high quality materials when manufacturing your product? All of Worthington’s products are manufactured with the highest quality of materials backed up by external testing facility reports.  Again, when companies cut corners, they tend to try to do things like this themselves, which can cause bias and you would not want to explain to anyone why their columns did not hold up or warped and inevitably cost them a lot of money or even hurt someone.  Please see the picture of the warped column below. 

6.) Is your product architecturally correct? You want to make sure you are dealing with a company that cares about their customers.  All of Worthington’s employees are trained to know exactly what architecturally correct means and if it fits the style of architecture of the home or commercial building our product is being put onto.  While an architect is an architect and knows what he or she wants, we feel it is our duty to inform you if we see something that is not architecturally correct.  We will still be happy to sell you exactly what you want, but we will ever so pleasantly inform you if something is not architecturally correct. We as a company truly care about our customers and want them to know if they are making a mistake. 

7.) Is my square column an FRP or cast fiberglass or is it a pultruded fiberglass?   All of Worthington’s standard square columns are either FRP or cast and are Class A fire rated.  Worthington can provide a pultruded fiberglass column, but it has a Class B fire rating, its load capacity is much less, and it is NOT recommended to attach railing to it due to its thin wall thickness. 

8.) Is your shipment shipped with shipping insurance? All of Worthington’s order are shipped with shipping insurance. This ensures that if any damage occurs during shipping, it is covered by the freight company Immediately.  It is very important that when it arrives to you, you make sure that there is NO DAMAGE to your product before signing off on their Bill of Lading.   If you do this, your product will be replaced and put into our manufacturing work flow immediately.  Many companies do not ship with insurance.  This means that even if you sign for it damaged, they will have to deal with the freight carrier to get reimbursement for the damaged product and they will not ship your product until they get their reimbursement.  An insurance company pays us immediately once you provide the signed documentation that your freight was damaged, so we put your replacement product into production as soon as possible.

9.) Are the columns, capital and base properly packaged for shipping? Worthington prides ourselves in the way that we ship our products.  Below are some examples we have seen from companies that are trying to save money on packaging.   Your products are important to us.  We understand that if shipped properly, you get your product in good condition and there are less headaches for everyone all around.

10.) Does the company that you are doing business with have a “noted at delivery” freight claim process and are they working with reputable shipping companies? Due to the above explanation in item 5, this is very important.  All of Worthington’s orders have a “noted at delivery” freight claim process.   This means that once delivered, you will be asked to review the product and note any damage to the product.    In addition to that, all of Worthington’s shipping companies are reputable companies that we have worked with for many years.  If we ever add on a new company, we do our due diligence to make sure they can handle the products that we ship.  We ask them to provide references from previous companies with similar products.