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Choosing Between Piers and Footings in Construction

Piers and Footings in Construction, A pier and a footing are two different types of foundations. Piers and footings both support structures. Footings can be either concrete blocks or they can be posts that are driven into the ground. With either one, support is needed underneath the structure to keep it steady. A pier is also a type of foundation commonly used in construction projects.

Pier Vs Footing: What Works for Your Construction

Piers and Footings in Construction

This article will examine the differences between these two systems to determine which is better for your construction project.

Types of Piers

Foundations can be made of various materials, but most are concrete or structural steel. The foundation you use depends on the size and weight of your home and the soil in the location where you want to build.

  • Concrete piers; are typically the most economical choice for supporting buildings, decks, or other structures. They can be built in either a standard or a monolithic block form, which are both easy to install and provide excellent support. Concrete piers are usually installed with post-tensioning cables that are embedded into the concrete during construction.
  • Masonry piers: Masonry piers have a long history as one of the most common forms of pier support in older buildings. They were popular because they were easy to manufacture and could be built in any shape or size needed for each project. Plus, masonry is far less expensive than concrete and can be used over existing foundations without excavating them first.
  • Steel piers: Steel piers offer an alternative to concrete options that come with a much higher price tag and require more time to construct. Steel piers also require specialized equipment and trained workers to install them properly. However, they are often required when there is no existing foundation or if they need extensive repair work done on them before being.

Types of footing

The footing is the most important part of a pier and beam foundation. Piers and Footings in Construction has to be strong enough to support the weight of the house, so it is made with footings that are at least as wide as the pier’s or beam’s width. The footing should be placed directly on top of compacted soil and then filled with concrete.

A footing that is not deep enough can cause the house to shift out of alignment over time, leading to cracks in walls and floors. If a pier is too long, it may not have enough depth for proper support. The type of footing you use will depend on the type of pier you are building. 

The most common are:

  • Poured concrete footings. These are by far the most common type of footing used for piers. This is because they are easy to build and can be customized to fit your needs.
  • Concrete block footings. These are also quite common, especially for smaller buildings like sheds or garages. They are also simple to build and relatively cheap compared to poured concrete footings.
  • Steel post footings. This is often used when building piers in rocky soil or areas prone to flooding, as it’s difficult to penetrate solid rock with a wooden post or even concrete block foundation. Steel posts can be very useful in these situations as they can be pounded into the ground until they hit bedrock. Then filled with concrete or grout so they don’t move around while being built on top of them later on in construction.

Difference Between Piers and Footing

Piers support, while footings level. Both support structures and buildings.

A pier can withstand one-way forces like water or wind. Piers can be concrete or steel. Pier bases can be circular or rectangular depending on the support needed. In shallow water, waves pushing against the side of a circular base squeeze it inward toward its center.

A footing distributes pressure outward into the earth rather than inward toward its core. When building on unstable land, footings are needed to support more weight without sinking.

Footings may also be needed when building on slopes that need shoring up because they distribute weight evenly across the slope instead of concentrating it at the top, where gravity pulls on water runoff and debris during rainstorms.

Pier Advantages and Disadvantages

Piers are an excellent choice for those who want to add a new dimension to the house. They can be used as an entertainment area, or even as a bedroom.


  1. Piers and Footings in Construction is relatively cheap to build a pier.
  2. A pier can be built in any area with access to water, including landlocked areas with access to manmade lakes or rivers.
  3. They are not vulnerable to natural disasters like earthquakes, floods and hurricanes.
  4.  Their long lifespan makes them an attractive investment for residential and commercial real estate owners who want to ensure that their properties will last for many years.


  1. Piers are susceptible to termites, which can cause significant structural damage if not treated regularly with pesticides or other pest control methods. This can lead to increased maintenance costs and even require the structure’s replacement altogether if the damage becomes too severe.

Footing advantages and disadvantages

Piers and Footings in Construction

Footings are the foundation of your home. The footing is the portion of the wall that is below ground level. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of footings is important before you build a new home or remodel an existing one.

Footing advantages:

  • They are easy to install and can be used to support a wide variety of structures, including homes, barns, garages, sheds ,and more.
  • They are easy to place in the ground and can be used in almost any environment.
  • Footings are relatively inexpensive when compared with other forms of foundation systems.

Footing disadvantages:

  • Footings may not be ideal for all projects because they require a large amount of excavation work, which can cause additional expenses if the use of machinery is required.
  • They must be able to withstand soil pressures from above as well as pressure from water flow below the surface.


Piers and footings are distinct. Despite their names, footings are on the ground and piers are part of a home. You must get it properly to construct a house that lasts. That starts with distinguishing between piers and footings, which can be used in construction projects.