Different Types of Columns used in Construction. Where to use? and When to Use?


A vertical member whose effective length is greater than 3 times Its least lateral dimension carrying compressive loads is called as a column. Columns transfer the loads from the beams or slabs to the footings or foundations. The inclined member carrying compressive loads as In the case of frames and trusses is called as struts. The pedestal is a vertical compression member whose effective length Is less than 3 times Its least lateral dimension. (different types columns)

Why we provide Columns?

Primarily, Columns carry  Axial Loads and therefore are designed for compression. Other loads from snow, wind or other horizontal forces can cause bending in the columns. Columns then need to be designed for Axial Load and Bending.

Columns are classified into four types:-

  1. Based on Shape
  2. Based on a type of reinforcement
  3. Based on type of loading
  4. Based on slenderness ratio

Note: It’s just a classification a column can be a combination of both types like a column can be Rectangular shape with tied column 

Based on Shape: –

  1. Square or Rectangular Column:-

    They are generally used in the construction of buildings., which are common in practice; these types of column are provided only if the shape of the room is a square or rectangular shape.
    It is way much easier to construct and cast rectangular or square columns than circular ones. This is primarily for the ease of working with the shuttering and to support it from it collapsing due to pressure while the concrete is still in flowable form. The square and rectangular ones are better and less costlier to cast.

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  2. Circular column:-

    They are specially designed columns, they are mostly used in piling and elevation of the buildings. Why we use it in elevation? In order to avoid edges, we use this type of columns. they are also provided in sit out areas, auditoriums or fire assembly zones, where you have enough space for them not to hinder any movement of people or look bad with flat surfaces You can find circular columns as pillars of Bridges because there you don’t need to flush them to anything. Also circular looks aesthetic there.CIRCULAR COLUMN   


  3. L- Type Column:-

    They are generally used in the corners of the boundary wall and has same features of a rectangular or square column. These kind of columns are very less used.

  4. T- Type Column:

    This kind of columns is used depending on design requirements and in the construction of bridges, etc. This has same features of a rectangular or square column.

  5. V- Type Column:-

    As a name itself, it showcasing the column is in V shape and generally used if the shape of the room is in trapezoidal. As it requires more amount of concrete when compared to the other columns.

  6. Hexagon Column:-

    Hexagon columns are generally modified columns. It has six sides and it gives good pictorial view generally used in elevation.  It is adopted to give a good look to the column. It is generally provided in open verandahs, Auditoriums, Cinema halls etc.
    hexagon column

  7. Arch type columns:

    These type of columns are used when the room has a shape of an arch. It is adopted where there is a no chance of building square or rectangular or circular type of column. it is rarely used as it possess very difficulty in casting.

  8. Y – Type Column:-

    These types of columns are generally used in the construction of bridges, flyovers, etc.Y TYPE COLUMN

  9. Y type Column with Arch:

    As it is same as Y-type Column but it has curved edges or sides. These are generally provided below the bridges and flyovers where there is a  congestion of building more columns to withstand heavy loads on top.


Based on Type of Reinforcement:-

Depending upon the type of reinforcement used, reinforced columns are classified into following types:-

  1. Tied Column:

    When the main longitudinal bars of the column are confined within closely spaced lateral ties, it is called as tied column.

  2. Spiral Column:

    When the main longitudinal bars of the column are enclosed with in closely spaced and continuously wound spiral reinforcement, it is called as a spiral column.

  3. Composite Column:  

    When the longitudinal reinforcement is in the form of structural steel section or pipe with or without longitudinal bars, it is called as a composite column.

Based on the type of loading:-

Depending on the type of loading on columns are classified into three types:

  1. Axially loaded Column: –

    When the line of action of the compressive force coincides with the center of gravity of the cross-section of the column, it is called axially loaded column. (The  total load from top is acted on the centroid of the column.) How to design Learn more
    Axially loaded column

  2. Eccentrically loaded column (Uniaxial or Biaxial):

    When the line of action of compressive force doesn’t coincide with the center of gravity of the cross-section of the column, it is called as the eccentrically loaded column.


    We know the X-Axis and Y-axis if load is acted eccentrically either on X or Y axis (anyone) then it is called as Eccentrically loaded column (uniaxial)


    If load is not acting eccentrically on both the axis, that mean load won’t act on either X or Y axis is called Eccentrically loaded column (Biaxial)

eccentrically loaded column biaxial


Based on Slenderness Ratio:-

Depending upon the Slenderness ratio (ratio of effective length to least lateral dimension of the column), the columns are classified as (most important)
It is used extensively for finding out the design load as well as in classifying various columns in short/intermediate/long.

  1. Short Column:

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

  2. Long Column:

    If the ratio effective length of the column to the least lateral dimension exceeds 12, it is called as long column. A long column fails by bending or buckling.

Some other types:

  1. Stub Column/ Floating column / Linked Column:-

    We know that column stands on the footing. but when coming to the stub column. It won’t have any footing. The column stands on the slab or beam.

    For making you clear, here I am giving an example, for suppose you constructed a house with a capacity of 50 members so according to the members using building you design a water tank. Suddenly due to the scarcity of land building is using by 90 members so initially, you are provided one tank which will sufficient to 50 members. Now, you have to provide another tank to cover all the 90 members. But you constructed a building with the design of only one tank but additionally, another tank is added inorder to bear that load another column is added beneath the tank and it rests on either beam or column.

  2. Neck column:

    It is a part of the column (any type of column) which is buried in earth is called Neck column. The word Neck column is usually used while building footings.
    neck columnHi, friends hope I covered each and every column. Found anything missed add them in comments will definitely add in this. Hope you learned everything about columns.

    Also Read: Learn Different Types of Footings 
    16 Different types of slabs used in construction  


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