Diagram of spread footing concrete piers

Spread Footing Vs. Grade Beam

There are multiple foundation types. Those outside the industry hear the different terms and treat them interchangeably for the sake of simplicity. However, foundation types have different names because they support structures in different ways. Two of the more commonplace foundations are grade beam and spread footing. Learn how they differ in application.

What Is a Spread Footing?

As the name implies, spread footing evenly spreads the weight of a structure across the soil using a combination of walls, columns, and lateral loads. In contrast to a more standard load-bearing foundation, a spread footing has a wider base for providing greater weight distribution and stability.

Whereas a spot footing only has a single point of contact with the foundation, spread footings spread the support across the entire structure’s layout. Think of the footing as an inverted table, where the table surface is the “spreader” that distributes the support. You can also imagine the footing as an inverted T; some also refer to it as a T footing.

Spread footings are constructed from concrete and/or reinforced steel with minimal risk of failure.

What Is a Grade Beam?

Grade beams serve two purposes: it acts as a beam that carries the foundation load while simultaneously bracing the foundation. Unlike a spread footing, which primarily supports the foundation via latitudinal reinforcement, grade beams utilize longitudinal reinforcement for the bulk of its weight-supporting bearing. The beams essentially act as connectors between footings and pile caps. The footings, meanwhile, transfer the building’s load to deeper parts of the soil or to the bearing points.

Spread Footing Vs Grade Beams: Which Is Better?

The better of the two depends on ground conditions. Spread footings are usually recommended for shallow foundations where the bulk of the footing rests directly on or near the soil surface. The footing also surpasses the building’s perimeter by several inches.

An installer may recommend a grade beam when the building requires a post or pier foundation that extends deep into the soil. The beams usually rest on its own pilings for support though it may also rest on the soil.

We Install Both Foundation Support Types

Spread footing vs grade beam? It all depends on the conditions. Each has their place; both are also commonplace for residential and commercial buildings in the Garland, Texas, area. Contact Align Foundation Repair for an inspection. An initial assessment will determine which is best for your location.

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