What Are Pad Foundations and What Are The Different Types?

Pad foundations are concrete supports built to hold up the weight of the buildings constructed on top of them, transferring that weight evenly down into the soil.

Foundation pads are used in multiples, with a separate pad being positioned to sit under various load points under the building.

Though they are installed relatively shallowly in comparison to other types of foundations, building pad contractors may also install them deeply depending on soil conditions and the amount of weight they must support. 

Different Types of Foundation Building Pads

There are multiple types of foundation building pads that can be used to support a home or building:

  • Concrete - Square or rectangular concrete foundation pads, also referred to as concrete footings, that are positioned as needed under a building to provide support under various weight and stress points. Since they are not reinforced and designed for a shallow installation, building pad contractors tend to use plain concrete foundation pads only for smaller, lighter structures. 
  • Reinforced Concrete - Square or rectangular concrete pads that are reinforced with rebar to create a stronger, yet thinner pad capable of supporting more weight. Also used for shallow installations, reinforced concrete can be supportive in less space. 
  • Combined Column - A foundation building pad that includes two concrete pads that are affixed into a longer one that surrounds them both. Combination column pads are generally used to support structures that are close to property lines or other structures, which prevents the use of concrete pads in a centered position under the exterior walls and/or corners. This configuration adds additional support to those exterior walls. 
  • Continuous Pad - A foundation that includes multiple foundation pads built into one long, continuous pad that extends the length of the structure, or sometimes completely around it. Building pad contractors will choose a continuous pad foundation for structures that require many smaller pads positioned very close together, to prevent overlapping while making the foundation more secure. 
  • Pad and Ground Beam - A foundation constructed similarly to a continuous pad foundation, only with building pads connected and reinforced by ground beams with metal reinforcements. These are stronger, and more stable foundation pads that require less space between the pads.

In Summary

Concrete foundation pads are all mostly the same, in that they are square or rectangular concrete building pads designed to sit under a structure to support it in the ground.

Depending on the building's size, weight, the design of its support structure, and its position in relation to property lines and other structures, building pad contractors might choose one or more of the different types of foundation pads to securely support that building.