Last edited 12 Jun 2018

Difference between pillars and columns

Columns 600.jpg

The terms ‘pillar’ and ‘column’ are often used interchangeably, although in some instances, they may be attributed with slightly different meanings, as described below.

A pillar is a vertical support member and may be constructed as a single piece of timber, concrete or steel, or built up out of bricks, blocks and so on. A pillar may have a load-bearing or stabilising function but it may also stand alone as an ornamental element, such as a commemorative pillar, or to maintain symmetry.

However, whereas a pillar does not necessarily have a load-bearing function, a column is a vertical structural member that is intended to transfer a compressive load. For example, a column might transfer loads from a ceiling, floor, or roof slab, or from a beam, to a floor or foundations. Columns are typically constructed in masonry, concrete or structural steel.

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