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Steel Building Foundation Option to Ensure Sustainability

Choosing the Right Steel Building Foundation Option to Ensure Sustainability

A shifting foundation can lead to many issues like cracked walls, jammed doors & windows, uneven floors, mold & water damage, etc. A weak or unstable foundation needs instant repairs or replacement, increasing your repair and maintenance cost. The average price for foundation repair is $4,449. However, it may cost $500 for minor repairs like filling cracks.

Moreover, it could be a gutting experience when you are informed via a home inspection report that your building has foundation issues.

steel building

The solution to all the problems is choosing the appropriate foundation for your building.

If you intend to purchase a pre-engineered metal building kit from Steel and Stud, our experienced foundation engineer will help you prepare your structure plans and ensure that your slab foundations are done correctly and accurately. We take immense pleasure in sharing relevant and appropriate information about steel building foundation options here. After reading this blog, you can choose the right metal foundation to prevent wind uplift, and your steel building stays safe and long-lasting.

Steel Building Foundations Plan Performs An Incredibly Important Function

Steel Building Foundations Plan Performs An Incredibly Important Function

Determining the concrete slab of the metal building foundation is paramount before the planning and construction process of metal building. The base or foundation supports the exterior steel framing walls of the steel structure. If the planning lacks articulation and carefulness, it could cause a metal foundation to fall weak and start deteriorating like cracking, settling, and shifting, which can impact the main structure. Also, ensuring that the foundation is laid in a way that adheres to your US state’s local building code is important to consider before placing the metal buildings.

Basic Types of Foundations for Metal Buildings

Basic Types of Foundations for Metal Buildings

There are typically five metal building foundation options.

1. Concrete Slabs

Floating concrete slabs are concrete slabs that just sit over the ground without any anchor.
Builders pour concrete and reinforce it to create a floating foundation. A finished floor slab may measure anywhere from 3-1/2″ and 5-1/2″ in thickness. It serves as the structure’s floor and can be built with deep footings if necessary. This type of foundation is ideal when erecting an industrial structure. It also delivers superior stability when there are poor soil conditions.

2. Curb Foundation

This foundation consists of poured concrete around the perimeter where the builders will install the structure. Concrete is not filled inside that perimeter.

When construction starts on the main building, the walls are placed on top of the curb. The footings are installed with the curb. Adding more curbs to serve as their foundation becomes necessary if there are weight-bearing walls within the structure. Ideal for buildings with crawl spaces.

3. Floating Slab Foundation

This foundation is a hybrid between a traditional slab and a curb foundation design. Construction starts with the installation of a curb foundation. The builders pour a slab inside the established perimeters as soon as the curb and footings are in place. A hybrid design provides more “buffer” to the foundation, which allows it to settle comfortably without compromising the structure.

4. Pier Foundations

In this foundation, reinforced concrete piers are installed deep in the ground around the perimeter wall of the metal building. Perimeter footing can support the building’s vertical load. The wall is built with a grade beam to counteract horizontal load stresses. It is best suited for locations where wind uplift is a concern and where the soil is reasonably dry, packed, and stable.

5. Portable Foundations

A portable foundation can be picked up and moved. It is ideal when setting down a building that you may later expect to relocate, mainly if you do so frequently.

After Foundation Understand Types of Metal Building Bases

Not an only foundation, but it is also necessary to select the right base for your steel building to use it efficiently. The base is the natural texture of the ground, whereas the foundation is the man-made base created using concrete materials. Here is the following popular steel building foundation type.

Ground Foundation

The ground foundation is nothing more than a leveled area in its natural form. You don’t create any manufactured base and use it in its original form. It is the most affordable steel building foundation with a ground-floor farm shed, metal barn, and other buildings used for agricultural purposes. The ground foundation is not recommended for carports, RV ports, or any other storage use, as moisture from the ground can make the upkeep of the belongings difficult.

Concrete Foundation

The base that is cemented, tiled, or any other concrete flooring of your home is available to install a metal building is concrete foundation. Concrete floors provide a strong, clean base; you can use it for storage, parking, or recreational purposes.

Gravel Foundation

It is a middle ground between dirt and concrete foundations. It will be more firm and clean than the ground floor, but not as much as a concrete slab. These budget-friendly floors develop trenches; you need to re-level them to keep the surface even.

Asphalt Foundation

Asphalt foundations are for the area with continuous damp grounds due to frequent rain. This foundation doesn’t wash away and delivers a firm floor to store your valuables or perform your functions. It is as good as the concrete foundation but needs more maintenance.

Choosing Your Steel Building Foundations

Choosing Your Steel Building Foundations

The choice of the foundation depends on various factors like load, wind uplift, soil type, soil quality, local frost lines, building’s weight, the weight of equipment or vehicles to be housed in the structure, dimensions, building reactions, location of anchor bolts to attach steel framing columns, purpose, local building codes, type of the metal building, and federal rules & regulations. Let’s see how the following condition affects the choice of foundation.

Loads of Structure

Regions having high winds, heavy snowfall, high earthquake susceptibility, and high temperature need a concrete foundation to stand still. Further, the building type, construction material, and environmental factors also govern foundation selection.

One should prefer a shallow foundation in the case of a low-rise building. However, one would require a deep foundation for high-rise buildings.

Soil Types

48 States in the USA have different soil types like loose, sandy, clayey, and expansive soil. Surface soil up to a depth of 3m is called topsoil, and subsoil begins below 3m. The bearing capacity of both the topsoil and subsoil layers would strongly influence the selection of the foundation in a particular region. One should select a more robust and more suitable foundation for low-bearing capacity soil compared to cases where the soil has a strong bearing capacity.

Ease of Construction

When choosing the foundation, one should also consider the ease with which it can be constructed. Since laborers with various skill levels and skillsets are required to build different foundations, it may be costly.

Water Table Level

The water table also affects the foundation selection as the foundation should not be placed on soil that undergoes expansion and contraction due to water table fluctuation. Thus, it should be constructed on arid soil or fully wet soil.

Adjoining Structure/Water Bodies/Slopes

One should consider parameters like adjoining structures, water bodies, and slopes when selecting foundation types. In situations where the neighboring structure’s foundation is very near the foundation to be built, it can have a detrimental effect on the choice and the safety of the adjoining structure.

Things you Need to Take Care of While Preparing Foundation For Metal Building?

The following tips will help you when pouring piers, slabs, or perimeter walls for steel buildings:

  • Dont get confused between concrete and cement. Concrete is created when cement, sand, gravel, and water are mixed together. Cement holds concrete together.
  • Concrete is sold by the cubic yard. A concrete engineer decides the amount of concrete required based on your metal building plans, the weight of vehicles or heavy machinery, local soil conditions, and building codes.
  • In poor soil conditions, bringing in better soil may be less costly than pouring a deeper foundation for a large steel structure.
  • Avoid pouring concrete in the dead of winter for steel-framed buildings; pour concrete between 45° and 90° Fahrenheit.
  • Frost heave might crack curing concrete foundations. The concrete might lose as much as half its projected strength if the temperature drops below 0° in the first 24 hours after pouring.
  • Allow enough time for the foundation to settle completely. Arrange your steel building to arrive at least three days after the pouring of foundations in warm weather. For long-lasting results, let the concrete dehydrate for two weeks or more.
  • Condensation may occur in a structure built on a slab that is not completely dehydrated. A 5,000 sq. ft. concrete slab poured 4″ deep may produce over 1,200 gallons of water vapor inside the structure! Proper ventilation is crucial during winter construction. Leave a few exterior steel panels off until the foundation dries completely. 
  • Avoid the use of additive calcium chloride for your building foundation. It is highly corrosive to the steel in the foundation.
  • To ensure the correct location in the slab, set your anchor bolts with templates. Examine all the anchor bolts again immediately after concrete installation to ensure the bolts remain straight and true.


Metal building foundations play an important role in the sustainability of the building. Paying attention to the foundation at the very beginning can save you from wasting your money on repairs and will keep the resale value of the building high. While choosing the foundation, ensure that you consider all the factors affecting it.