Types of Foundation Piers: A Comprehensive Guide


Foundation piers are essential components of many building structures, providing support and stability to the foundation. They are designed to transfer the weight of the structure to the ground, ensuring that the building remains level and secure. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the different types of foundation piers available and their unique characteristics.

Steel Piers

Steel piers are made from strong, durable steel and are known for their high load-bearing capacity. They are often used in commercial and industrial construction projects where heavy loads need to be supported. Steel piers are resistant to rot, decay, and termites, making them a long-lasting solution. However, they can be more expensive than other options and may require specialized equipment for installation.

Concrete Piers

Concrete piers are a popular choice for residential and commercial construction projects. They are made by pouring concrete into a hole or form in the ground, creating a solid and stable support for the foundation. Concrete piers are relatively affordable and can be customized to meet specific load-bearing requirements. However, they may be susceptible to cracking or deterioration over time if not properly maintained.

Block Piers

Block piers, also known as masonry piers, are commonly used in pier and beam foundations. They are constructed using concrete blocks or bricks stacked and mortared together to form a sturdy support column. Block piers are cost-effective and easy to install, making them a popular choice for residential projects. However, they may not be suitable for areas with high soil moisture or poor soil conditions.

Cinderblock Piers

Cinderblock piers, similar to block piers, are frequently used in pier and beam foundations. They are made from hollow concrete blocks that are reinforced with steel rebar and filled with concrete. Cinderblock piers offer good load-bearing capacity and are relatively inexpensive. However, they may be prone to shifting or settling if not properly installed or if the soil conditions are unfavorable.

Helical Piers

Helical piers, also known as screw piles, are steel shafts with helical blades welded to them. They are screwed into the ground using hydraulic equipment, providing excellent stability and load-bearing capacity. Helical piers are suitable for various soil conditions and can be installed quickly with minimal disturbance to the surrounding area. However, they may be more expensive than other options and require specialized installation equipment.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Foundation Piers

When selecting foundation piers for your project, there are several factors to consider:

  1. Soil conditions: The type of soil on your site will influence the choice of foundation pier. Some piers are better suited for certain soil types than others.
  2. Load-bearing requirements: Consider the weight of the structure and the load-bearing capacity required for the foundation piers.
  3. Cost: Different types of foundation piers vary in cost. Consider your budget when making a decision.
  4. Ease of installation: Some foundation piers are easier to install than others. Consider the equipment and expertise required for installation.


Foundation piers play a crucial role in ensuring the stability and longevity of a building’s foundation. By understanding the different types of foundation piers available, including steel piers, concrete piers, block piers, cinderblock piers, and helical piers, you can make an informed decision for your construction project. Remember to consider factors such as soil conditions, load-bearing requirements, cost, and ease of installation when choosing the right foundation pier for your needs.

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