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Building Foundation Types

Foundation serves as an anchoring structure for a building. It holds the house into the ground and provides a level grounding for the building to sit on. A solid foundation is crucial to the longevity of your home or building. If your foundation was poorly built or has aged over time, your structure could settle as the soil moves. This leaves you with a damaged home.

Construction workers with blueprints at construction site
Construction workers with blueprints at construction site

Foundation allows a structure to stand in place, even when the soil around it shrinks or expands from moisture. This prevents the home from succumbing to environmental stresses below. If the soil is heavily saturated and turns into mud, a home or building still stands. Conversely, if the soil around the house is extremely dried out, a solid foundation will keep the home from moving too much.

One of the most important functions of foundation is to counteract weight. The deeper the foundation, the more counterbalance there can be. The counterbalance offsets any additional force that might be applied towards the building above the soil. By anchoring it into the ground, it is literally having the weight of the world push against it. This keeps the building locked into place.

Not every building requires the same amount of foundation, though. The demands of a skyscraper are vastly different than the needs of a manufactured home. Because of this, different building foundation types exist. This keeps each structure properly anchored due to its particular requirements.


Shallow Foundation

This is a majority of the foundation you will find in any residential area. The structure of a home or small building does not require a tremendous amount of counterbalance in order to keep it in place. As such, homebuilders primarily plant shallow foundation. This gives the base a structure needs to stay steady.

Shallow foundations can be made in a variety of methods. Their construction varies, but the purpose of each one remains the same: give buildings the support they need.




Spread Footing

Spread footing is just a bit wider than the wall or structure directly above it. It’s a very precise, direct form of foundation where only the actual structure is supported instead of having any left over.


Combined Footing

Combined footing is where multiple columns are reinforced by fortified concrete. These may be utilized when a load bearing structure is unable to go past a certain point. You may find one of these in use when a column cannot go past a building’s end.


Strap Footing

Whereas combined footing are simply columns, strap footing takes it a step further. Strap footing columns are columns which are connected with a beam of concrete, or a “strap.” This strap helps distribute weight between columns, which relieves the weight pressed on each individual structure.


Mat Footing

Mat footing (also known as raft footing) is foundation that is fortified by steel beams. This is different than combined footing, as it is a wide foundation compared to a column. The beams are laid into place, then has concrete poured inside. This gives the foundation extra strength and helps hold the weight.


Deep Foundation

For bigger buildings such as office complexes, multiple story apartments, skyscrapers, and more, you have to dig deeper. This is where deep foundation comes in. Compared to something as superficial as shallow foundations, deep foundations bore deep into the Earth, laying thick bases for maximum stability.

Similarly to shallow foundation, deep foundation accomplishes its goals in a number of ways. Deep foundation is also used when the soil in a construction project is bad. This requires placing the brunt of the weight onto strong rock bases located far below the soil. Therefore, the load is no longer placed on the bad soil, but on the rocks far below.



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Pile Foundation

Pile foundation is when a grouping of pylons or beams are placed together as one of the support echelons. The beam is usually made out of concrete or metal, though some beams are made out of wood. On top of this beam is a cap. This cap provides a firm setting on which the superstructure will rest on. This effectively forms the “pile,” though it resembles more of a column when finally deployed.

The benefit to this method is the wide distribution. Instead of one beam taking the brunt of a tremendous amount of weight, the weight is spread out. This requires each load to bear less. Additionally, it can be much easier to create one large column out of smaller elements instead of trying to handle one single massive column.


Helical Piles

Helical piles operate much the way a common household screw would, but on a macro level. Many steel plates are attached to each other and then torqued into the Earth. The pile then “screws” itself into the soil, securing the foundation and preparing itself to receive the load.

Ram Jack Texas deals with two different types of pile foundations: While driven piles are simply driven into the ground with hydraulic drivers, helical piles operate in a vastly different way. Instead of relying on a centralized structure, a helical pile relies on the outward forces of the helix plates on the surrounding load-bearing strata.. The location of all the weight is not centralized; it is spaced out vastly.


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