Types of Columns

17 Types of Columns Used in Construction

Building columns are vertical structural elements that provide support for the weight of a building or structure. They are typically cylindrical or square-shaped and are made of materials such as concrete, steel, or brick.

The columns are placed at regular intervals throughout the building and are connected to horizontal beams or slabs to form a structural framework. Building columns come in different sizes and shapes depending on the building’s design and purpose. For example, columns in a high-rise building will be larger and stronger than those in a single-story building.

Different types of columns are employed in construction, each serving specific purposes based on architectural and engineering requirements.

Types of Columns Used In Construction

The various column types of columns used in construction are,

A. Based on the Shape

1. Square or Rectangular Column

They are commonly used in the construction of buildings and heavy structures. It is much more effortless to construct and cast rectangular or square columns than circular ones because of the ease of shuttering and to support it from collapsing due to pressure while the concrete is still in flowable form.

The square or rectangular ones are better and cheapest in cost.

Square or Rectangular Column
Square or Rectangular Column

2. Circular Column

Circular columns are mostly used in the piling and elevation of buildings for aesthetic purposes. In a circular column, more than 4 longitudinal steel bars are used as reinforcement bars and their bending resistance is generally higher than the square or rectangular column.

Other than buildings, circular columns are mostly used as bridge pillars due to good resistance against deflection.

Circular Column
Circular Column

3. L and T shaped Column

Generally, the L-shaped column is utilized in the corners of the boundary wall and has similar characteristics to a rectangular or square column. The T-shaped column is utilized based on the design requirements of a structure. It is widely used in the construction of bridges.

T-Shaped & L-Shaped Columns
T-Shaped & L-Shaped Columns

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B. Based on the Type of Reinforcement

4. Tied Column

This is usually constructed from reinforced concrete. Longitudinal reinforcements are confined within closely spaced tie reinforcement.

If ties are spaced too far apart, the column will experience shear failure and barreling in between ties. It is estimated that 95% of all columns in buildings are tied columns.

Tied Column
Tied Column

5. Spiral Column

When spiral columns are reinforced with closely and uniformly spaced spiral reinforcement, they are also known as spiral columns.

Mostly the spiral columns provide support in the transverse direction and prevent the column from barreling. Spirally reinforced columns generally consist of 6 bars as longitudinal reinforcement.

Spiral Column
Spiral Column

6. Composite Column

These columns consist of structural steel or cast iron column enclosed with concrete, reinforced with longitudinal as well as spiral reinforcement. Composite columns are widely used in truss structures to avoid the corrosion of steel. This type of column has more adequate strength with a fairly small cross-section, in addition, to exhibiting good fire performance.

Composite Column
Composite Column

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C. Based on the Type of Loading

7. Axially Loaded Column

If vertical axial loads act on the center of gravity of the cross-section of the column, then it is termed as an axially loaded column. The axially loaded column is rare in construction since coinciding vertical loads on the center of gravity of the column section are not practical.

The Interior column of multi-story buildings with symmetrical loads from floor slabs from all sides is an example of this type of column.

Axially Loaded Column
Axially Loaded Column

8. Uniaxial Eccentrically Loaded Column

The axis of vertical loads doesn’t cross with the C.G. (center of gravity) of a cross-section of the column but rather acts eccentrically either on the X or Y axis of the column cross-section, then it is called a uniaxial eccentrically loaded column.

A column with this loading system is used in the case of columns with rigidly connected beams from one side only such as edge columns.

Uniaxial Eccentrically Loaded Column
Uniaxial Eccentrically Loaded Column

9. Biaxial Eccentrically Loaded Column

When vertical loads on the column do not coincide with the center of gravity of the column cross-section and do not act on either axis (X and Y axis), then the column is called a biaxial eccentrically loaded column.

Columns with bi-axial loading are mostly used in corner columns with beams rigidly connected at right angles at the top of columns. These types of columns are used in special types of construction.

Biaxial Eccentrically Loaded Column
Biaxial Eccentrically Loaded Column

 D. Based on Slenderness Ratio

10. Short Column

If the ratio of the effective length of the column to the least lateral dimension is less than 12, the column is called the short column. A short column fails by crushing the concrete (pure compression failure).

Short Column and Long Column
Short Column and Long Column

11. Long Column

If the ratio of the effective length of the column to the least lateral dimension exceeds 12, it is called a long column.

A long column fails by bending or buckling. Long columns are weaker compare to short columns of the same cross-sectional area and are not generally preferred.

E. Based on Construction Materials

12. Reinforced Concrete Column

Reinforced Concrete Column
Reinforced Concrete Column

A column that is reinforced with steel is known as a reinforced concrete column. This column is mainly used in building construction. Concrete is strong in compression and weak in tension. Therefore, steel reinforcement is provided to increase its tension capacity.

13. Steel Column

Steel Column
Steel Column

A column that is made from steel is known as a steel column. There are huge trends in steel structure construction in the world.

The steel structure is comparatively more flexible, strong, and durable than the concrete structure. There are different types of steel columns like the T-section steel column which is most commonly used in steel structures.

14. Timber Column

Timber Column
Timber Column

A column that is made from timber is known as a timber column. Timber columns are popular in the previous century. Timber is mostly seen in the old building because at that time it is only construction materials that are easily available.

The timer is a strong and durable construction material if it is given proper treatment. Timber seasoning is done to remove the moisture from wood which provides it strength and reduces weight.

15. Brick Column

Brick Column
Brick Column

Brick masonry columns are generally used in load-bearing structures. It plays a vital role in supporting and increasing the stability of the masonry structure.

Sometimes, the construction of brick masonry columns over the concrete column increases its aesthetic appearance. Brick masonry columns may have different cross-sections like round, rectangle or square, or elliptical.

16. Block Column

Block Column
Block Column

Block types of columns are constructed from AAC blocks or cement concrete blocks. The Block column’s structural weight is less compared to a concrete column.

17. Stone Column

Stone Column
17 Types of Columns Used in Construction 19

The columns which are made using stones and rubble are known as the stone column. There are most used to increase the aesthetic appearance of the house.

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