The hard reality about porches is they are far from consistent and uniform. Sections that are supposed to be equal may differ by inches. This can create a dilemma when ordering decorative spandrel for your porch. Most spandrel comes in standard lengths and the installer has to trim the ends for a proper fit. The length of your finished opening determines the end space you will have. When you have one or more spandrel sections in a row, it becomes harder to maintain a balanced appearance from section to section. How can you be sure that the spandrel you order will fit properly in the spacing and have a balanced appearance?
To get that balanced look, you either need to order all your spandrel custom cut and sized which can be very difficult and costly or order from someone who has perfected the process– like Durabrac, perhaps.
Our PVC/Vinyl porch spandrel almost didn’t become a reality because our spandrel designs flow into a bracket at each end.
The more typical bracket placement is under the spandrel rail at each end. Having the bracket flowing out of the rail is unique, and it didn’t take us long to learn why.
Placing a bracket at each end of the spandrel rail can create a serious spacing conflict where the bracket and rail meet. This can happen in about 30% of the potential lengths a customer could order. It’s important for the rail spacing to flow into the brackets equally and with uniformity from section to section. Scrunched or stretched sections stand out and detract from the finished look.
Our many trips to the drawing board paid off. In the end, we worked out the spacing problem with a custom computer program. The result was a manageable spandrel system where each spandrel section is manufactured to fit the customers’ exact opening with a “custom-like” fit that requires little or no cutting or trimming by the customer. Each spandrel section is delivered with rail spacing that looks just like the other sections around and next to it.
So, how do you get this perfect fit and look?
First, determine the height you want, not length. Consider how it will fit visually on the porch and with your home. The following questions can help determine this:
- Do you consider your home small, medium or large?
- How high are the ceilings?
- What is the column size and post spacing?
- How far back is the home from the street?
- Do you just want to accent or do you want to make a statement?
Now, measure length. You want to measure each span/section individually. To determine your span lengths, measure each section across from vertical post or wall. Be sure to measure at or near the top. The bottom may be wider or narrower than the top. You might also have tapered columns that at first may not be noticeable. When measuring, always ignore any trim that may wrap the top of the posts. Remember, we size for the span, if you measure only to the trim you will be short. The top rail can be shortened to allow for existing trim. If you plan to install trim around the posts, it is better to install the spandrel first.
And finally, enter in the height and length you have determined and let our program do the work. It’s as simple as that.
Well, simple now. Third time’s a charm. It took three times going back to the drawing board before we developed a system that would streamline the manufacturing of custom lengths. From that resilience, our now popular Chesapeake and LaSalle PVC/Vinyl Spandrel were born. You, the customer, orders each spandrel section delivered ready to install. Little or no trimming is required and there are no scrunched or stretched railing sections. It doesn’t matter how many different lengths you need, each spandrel section will look like the others. And, in the end, that’s really all that matters– a perfect fit and look for you.