Types of Building Foundations

truck pouring foundationPeople don’t often realize it, but there are many different types of building foundations. A foundation is one of the most important elements of a new building and also a significant cost.

This article will explore the different types of foundations in more detail and what they are best suited to.

Types of Foundations

Type One: Foundations with a Pier

The first type of foundation is called pier, which sits directly on top of bedrock like concrete slabs or an at-grade structure. This allows for very little settlement but can be expensive. Piers are most often used for commercial buildings where there is a need to have very large open spaces.

Type Two: Foundations with an Embedded Beam or Post

The second type of foundation has a beam that goes deep into the ground and then is embedded in concrete, which provides better stability than piers but can be slightly more expensive as well. This type of foundation is most often used for new residential buildings as they are fairly easy to install and can be done without digging too much into the ground.

Type Three: Foundation with Slab on Grade

building slab foundationThe third type of building foundation has a concrete slab that sits directly on top of grade, which provides stability but does not provide enough support for larger buildings. This type of foundation is often used for smaller residential buildings, such as garages, workshops or sheds with small spaces.

Type Four: Foundation with a Concrete Pier

The fourth type of building foundation has an embedded pier made out of concrete that provides better stability than slab on grade foundations but is not as expensive and does not require digging so deep. This is the most common type of foundation for residential buildings, but it can also be used for commercial buildings with shallow basements or first floor retail spaces that are only a few stories high.

Type Five: Foundation on Piers

The fifth type of building foundation could be considered two types of foundations in one: an open foundation with a pier on top, which is most often used for commercial buildings. The other type has piers that are embedded into the ground and then slabs or beams are placed over them to support larger residential buildings, such as townhouses and duplexes.

Type Six: Foundation Using Trenching

The sixth type of building foundation is made by digging a trench that’s deep enough to reach bedrock, which can be expensive and time-consuming. This kind of foundation is used for commercial buildings or large residential buildings where stability is needed.

Type Seven: Foundation with Basement Walls

Finally, the seventh type of building foundation has walls that are built underground to accommodate the basement, which provides stability but needs a lot of digging and can be expensive. This type of foundation is often used for commercial buildings that have basements or larger residential buildings with significant amounts of space below ground level.

*One thing these different types all share in common? They’re not cheap.*

What does a foundation cost?

quonset foundationFoundation prices vary as much as building prices, depending on the type of foundation and what material is used. For example, concrete foundations can be very expensive as they require a lot of materials to create. However, if you are building a small residential home with no basement or underground space then it’s possible that you’ll only need to pour some grade beams rather than a full foundation.

The cost of installing any type of foundation also varies depending on where you are located in the world, how many levels your building has, and whether or not there are commercial aspects associated with it.

For a rough ballpark idea of a basic slab foundation. A 10×10 concrete slab typically costs just under $1000 while a 12×12 would be $1000-$1500 and a 24×24 slab would be between $3000 and $6000 dollars.