Pile and Pier foundations are two different types of deep foundation used in construction. To choose between these two types of deep foundations a foundation engineer must know the differences between them. The main differences between the pier and pile foundation are given below.

Difference Between Pile and Pier Foundation
 Pile FoundationPier Foundation
1 In pile foundation, the loads are transferred by means of vertical timber, concrete or steel. Pier foundation consists of cylindrical columns to support and transfer large superimposed loads to firm strata.
2 Piles are driven through the overburden soils into the load-bearing strata. Piers are drilled with the drill machine.
3 Pile foundations transfer the load through friction (in case of friction piles) or through both friction and bearing ( in case of combined end bearing and friction piles). Pier foundations transfer load through bearing only.
4 Pile foundations are of great depth. Pier foundations are of shallow depth.
5 Pile Foundation exists where there are no firm strata at reachable depth and the loading is uneven Pier foundation is used where top strata consist of decomposed rock, stiff clays.
6 The types of pile foundation are end-bearing piles, friction piles, compaction piles, anchor piles, tension or uplift piles, sheet and batter piles, etc. The types of pier foundations are masonry or concrete piers and drilled caissons.
7 Pile foundation is required to resist greater loads like a load of bridge or flyover. Pier foundations are required for small loading.

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