The early 1800s saw a major wave of Greek revival architecture in America. Courthouses, state legislature buildings and organizational buildings all sprung up looking like rebuilt versions of ancient Greek temples. Smaller versions of the same grandiose structures were built as homes for the well-to-do. No movie about the American Civil War is complete without at least one scene in front of a majestic family home in the Greek revival style.
Your local county courthouse may have stone pillars out front, but the columns on your Greek revival mansion are more likely made of wood. If the columns have never been replaced in the lifetime of the house, this might be a good time to think about doing so. Since the columns were seldom solid, there are two surfaces to search for deterioration.
The most obvious place to find damp rot is at the top and bottom exteriors of the columns. The base of the column often sits in a circular socket and this is an excellent gathering place for moisture. The inside of the hollow columns holds even more dampness and can be affected by wet and dry rot even when no other part of the columns show damage.
Replacing six or eight tall columns is not an inexpensive proposition, but the health and good looks of your house may depend on it. The good news is that modern wood preservation methods will keep the columns free of both rot and burrowing insects such as termites and borer beetles.