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

difference between piles piers and caissons
Pier FoundationCaissonPile Foundation
Pier foundation is a type of deep foundation, which consists of a cylindrical column of large diameter to support and transfer large superimposed loads to firm strata below. Caissons are watertight structures made up of wood, steel or reinforced concrete built above the ground level and then sunken into the ground. Pile foundation is a type of deep foundation, in which the loads are taken to a low level by means of vertical timber, concrete or steel.
The types of pier foundations are masonry or concrete piers and drilled caissons. The types of caissons are box, open, pneumatic, monolithic, floating, excavated etc. The types of pile foundation are end-bearing piles, friction piles, compaction piles, anchor piles, tension or uplift piles, sheet and batter piles etc.
Pier is inserted down to the bedrock. Caisson is putting a box into underwater and pouring it with concrete. Pile is a column of material driven by a piledriver.
Pier has a footing. Caisson doesn’t have a footing. Pile doesn’t have a footing.
Pier is typically dug out and cast in place using forms. Caissons are driven into surface condition. Piles are driven into surface condition.



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