Types of Foundations in Construction

foundation in building

Foundation in construction

When it comes to building a structure, whether it’s a deck, a garage, a house, or a commercial building, the foundation is one of those components that need the most attention. Well, it doesn’t matter how much money have you spent on the building or the structure above, if you do not have a quality foundation then all the money that has been invested goes to waste. Foundation in construction is hence one of the most important parts no matter what sort of structure it is. Here, we will help you understand the same by highlighting the types of foundations and their purpose in any structure that you talk about.

Types of Foundations

The foundation of any building could be mentioned as its base level. It helps keep the moisture and groundwater away from the structure while distributing the structure’s weight evenly on the ground. Well, these foundations could be of diverse types. To help you understand this underworld of building foundations and to help execute your plans and projects flawlessly, we have listed below a few different types of foundations and how they differ from one another.

Shallow Foundations

Shallow foundations are way closer to the ground surface and are suitable for light to medium-weight structures. In this type of foundation, the depth is generally lesser than the width. These types of foundations are mainly seen in light commercial structures, residential buildings, or low-rise industrial structures. They further include subtypes such as isolated spread footings, cantilever or strap footings, combined footings, and mat or raft foundations.

Deep Foundations

Now, unlike shallow foundations, there are deep foundations, which are usually constructed at a depth from the ground surface, and there exists a difference of five times the distance from the underside to the foundation as compared to the width of the foundation. They are way more suitable for structures that are heavy or when the soil near the surface is not strong enough to hold the weight. In this type, the building’s load is shifted to the deep part of the ground where there is stable soil. The main subtypes of deep foundations include pier foundations, pile foundations, and caisson foundations.

Pile Foundations

Pile foundations are made up of long, slender structural elements called piles. Piles are driven deep down into the surface to help transfer the load of the structure to the stronger, stable soil or rock layers.

Raft or Mat Foundations

These foundations are used when the soil has a lower bearing capacity or when the superstructure load has been distributed extensively throughout the entire footprint area. The mat or raft foundations are designed in such a way that they help reduce any uneven settlements and provide better stability.

Strip Foundations

Strip foundations are one of the most commonly found foundations in a lot of buildings. They are also commonly called wall footings. This is one of the variations of shallow foundations and supports a line of loads, such as a load-bearing wall. They are also longer and narrower. This foundation is usually made up of a strip of concrete spread along the length of the wall, and this makes it suitable for light-loaded structures such as any residential building.

Purpose of Foundations

The building may tend to face a lot of issues if the foundation has not been built properly. Without a proper foundation, the base of the columns will penetrate into the ground, which will cause instability in the structure. The foundation, hence, helps in spreading the weight from columns in a greater area. The purpose of foundations can be explained roughly with the following points.

Protection from natural calamities

It is important to study all the weather conditions of the region along with the ground conditions before you start constructing the foundation. The foundation is made strong enough to withstand any natural calamities such as cyclones, earthquakes, etc. The foundation’s strength is designed in such a way that the extreme natural calamity of the area is considered.

Support for building structure

It is the foundation that takes the load of the entire structure while keeping it even. It should be able to bear both live and dead weights to avoid any buckling or cracking of the building. In case the foundation malfunctions or fails at any point, the building could be considered unstable and could even collapse. Building foundations is not just pouring in concrete but also fitting it in such a way that they are sewn into the soil. It should also be compacted as required to ensure there is proper load bearing.

Protection from settlement

One of the primary reasons for the construction of foundations in structures is to protect the building from the settlement as it starts to minutely sink as time goes by. The shape and structure of the foundation are designed based on the soil condition prevalent in the area to resist settlements above permissible limits.

Factors Influencing Foundation Choice

Factors that affect the foundation choice could be anywhere between the soil conditions to the type of structure and the weight of the building. All the factors are hence considered before the selection of a foundation is done for durable building construction. Here are a few of eh factors that will affect the foundation choice.

Weather conditions

The climate where the building will be located will play a very important role in determining which type of foundation would be the best and most durable. Hot weather, for example, has a different long-term effect on concrete foundations as compared to colder climates. While both could be damaging, these damages could be negated by considering the climate in the area and choosing the right type of foundation design to lower the effects. Areas that experience major rainfall problems are prone to flooding and, hence, may require a design that will help avoid the associated problems.

Soil bearing capacity

If the soil bearing capacity is low, then a deeper foundation should be used to prevent the soil from collapsing under the foundation’s weight and causing severe damage. For locations that consist of higher soil-bearing capacity, it is possible to use a shallow foundation.

Load from the structure

If the structural weight is relatively small shallow foundation can easily withstand the load. However, in the case of high-rise buildings, it will be necessary that deep foundations are constructed to deal with intense loading.

Types of structures in the neighbourhood

High-rise buildings may cause an uplift of any nearby building due to soil heaving. So, a pile foundation may be the best solution to safely transfer the load to the deep soil and not harm any nearby structures if there are any.

Previous use of the area

Before the construction of a new foundation can begin, it is important to take into consideration the history of the site and the previous structures that were built there. Researching the location’s history could also alert the structural engineers regarding the possibility of any below-ground contaminants that might lead to any obstructions while building a new foundation.


In the ocean of construction, the foundation has always been an important part of ensuring the longevity of the structures and the stability of the buildings. By understanding the different types of foundations in construction, you get to lay a strong groundwork for your projects. Remember that each type of foundation has its own strengths and suitability, which is why it is important to check with professionals as to which foundation will suit your needs. With a well-designed foundation, you can build structures that last for ages.


What is the function of a foundation in construction?

The main function of a foundation in construction is to ensure that the structure is anchored against any natural forces such as tornadoes, earthquakes, droughts, floors, or other calamities.

What is the foundation?

A foundation is nothing but the lower portion of the building structure that helps transfer the gravity loads to the earth.

What is the benefit of a foundation?

There are tons of benefits when it comes to having a foundation, however, they mainly help ensure there is proper stability, durability, and safety of the structure.

What is the basic principle of foundation?

The basic principle behind a foundation is that it helps distribute the weight of the structure evenly to the ground which prevents any excess stress on a specific area.

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