Small Business Brief


A Guide to the Different Types of Foundations for Commercial Buildings

Nothing is more important to a building’s integrity than its foundation. After all, the foundation is that on which everything else rests. A faulty foundation means a faulty structure. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at the most commonly used types of foundations in commercial buildings, and provide a brief overview of each one. 

Shallow vs. Deep Types of Foundations

Before we begin, it’s important to understand the distinction between the two categories of foundation types: shallow and deep foundation.

A shallow foundation holds its meaning in its name. Built near the surface of the earth, the shallow foundation transfers the load of the building to the earth at a very small depth. A deep foundation, on the other hand, goes much further into the various layers of soil and bedrock beneath the surface of the earth and transfers the building load to those lower layers.

Mat Foundation

One of the simplest foundation types of understanding, a mat foundation takes up the same footprint as the building it supports. The mat foundation is a type of shallow foundation and requires significant excavation services. The foundation itself consists of not only concrete but also reinforcements all throughout.

When the commercial structure requires a basement or any sort of lower level, mat foundations are typically used. The entire load of the structure is carried by the lower basement level, and thus a foundation that supports that entire footprint is necessary due to the massive loading forces.

The mat foundation remains exceptionally strong and is extremely capable for most commercial building applications. The mat foundation is also often referred to as a raft foundation, as the foundation serves as a sort of raft that the structure floats on.

Individual Footing Foundations

The individual footing foundation applies to a specific building case. That case is when columns distribute the load of the building into the ground. 

Thus, individual footing foundation is comprised of multiple little foundations positioned directly beneath where a column will sit. Excavation is also required here in order to provide a hole for the foundation to be built.

Typically, individual footing foundations look like square concrete pads with rebar going through both it and the column to reinforce the load distribution. This foundation type also goes by “spot” or “continuous footing”.

Strip Foundations

Strip foundations employ a similar concept as do individual footing foundations. In the previous case, the foundation applied when the load for a commercial building is carried by columns. In this scenario, the load is carried by long walls. 

The strip foundation then supports the load sustained by the walls and distributes that load force to the soil. Much like with individual footing foundations, separate areas will need to excavated where long strips of concrete are poured. This concrete is then reinforced with rebar.


No matter what foundation type you choose for your commercial building, excavation will be a crucial part of the process, so make sure to choose the right excavation service for your needs.