Foundation is one of the most important parts of the structure. It transfers the total loads from the structure to the soil and provides stability to the structure. Foundation can be primarily classified into two parts, such as Shallow Foundation and Deep Foundation. They are basically classified depending on the depth at which foundation is provided.

Shallow Foundation vs Deep Foundation

Shallow Foundation vs Deep Foundation

Shallow foundation and deep foundation have several differences. Sources of main differences between deep and shallow footings are definition, depth of foundation, cost, feasibility, mechanism of load transfer, advantages, disadvantages, types etc.

In the following table the main differences between shallow and deep foundation are given:

 SourcesShallow FoundationDeep Foundation
1 Definition Foundation which is placed near the surface of the earth or transfers the loads at a shallow depth is called shallow foundation. Foundation which is placed at a greater depth or transfers the loads to deep strata is called deep foundation.
2 The depth of foundation The depth of shallow foundation is generally about 3 meters or the depth of foundation is less than the footing with. Greater than shallow foundation.
3 Cost Shallow foundation is cheaper. Deep foundations are generally more expensive than shallow foundation.
4 Feasibility Shallow foundations are easier to construct. The construction process of a deep foundation is more complex.
5 Mechanism of load transfer Shallow foundations transfer loads mostly by end bearing. Deep foundations rely both on end bearing and skin friction, with few exceptions like end bearing pile.
6 Advantages Construction materials are available, less labor is needed, construction procedure is simple at an affordable cost etc. Foundation can be provided at a greater depth, Provides lateral support and resists uplift, effective when foundation at a shallow depth is not possible, can carry huge load etc.
7 Disadvantages Possibility of a settlement, usually applicable for lightweight structure, weak against lateral loads etc. More expensive, needs skilled labors, complex construction procedure, can be time-consuming and some types of deep foundations are not very flexible etc.
8 Types Isolated foundation, strip foundation, mat foundation, combined foundation etc. Pier foundation, pile foundation, caissons etc.



Please note that the information in is designed to provide general information on the topics presented. The information provided should not be used as a substitute for professional services.

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