6 Difference between Beam and Column [Comparison Table]

You may go to construction sites, from a typical house to a vast apartment. All contractors, workers, and people out there recognized the beams, columns, structures, and other vital forms. But you get confused between Beam and Column. Isn’t that correct? They are made from the same material, like cement, sand, etc. And mainly, your confusion starts from there! 

Most people feel they are both the same. But that’s not the truth! So, let the cat out of the bag! Although they need the same material to make, both are different. We have a complete difference between Beam and Column below to save you from awkward situations.  

6 Difference Between Beam and Column  

Let’s quickly find out the difference between beam & column with this table. 

Points to Consider




Beams are horizontal 

Columns are vertical 


Simply supported, fixed, overhanging, continuous, etc.

Rectangular, square, tied, composite, spiral, short, long, circular, etc.


200 mm is the minimum beam width.

200 mm is the minimum column width. However, 300 is best to be protected from earthquakes. 


Beams are established near columns at one or both ends.

Established from the foundation level. Beams are installed near columns at one or both ends.


Beams are cast primarily on slabs.

Mostly cast in small batches.

Steel Requirement

It falls between 0.2% to 2.5%

It falls between 0.8% to 5% 

Beam - A Structural Factor

The Beam is not a vertical component you look at in construction sites. It is actually a horizontal structure that stands against bending. Most people feel that these are used to carry vertical gravitational forces. But that’s the incomplete truth! 

The complete truth is that the Beam drags the horizontal loads too. Therefore, most contractors and workers call a beam, a wall, or a sill plate, which helps transfer the load to the attached girders, walls, or columns. 

In the olden days, timbers were the most famous materials used as beams for structural support. However, when the time changed, most people used beams to carry the vertical gravitational force. Also, materials such as steel, aluminum, and others are used in the making. 

Lastly, the beams are those bearing the sheer force of the load and bending moments. Now, it’s time to meet you with a few different types of beams available in the market.  

Also, read :
Tmt Bar Weight Chart
Best Tmt Bars in India

Types of Beams

A beam is used to carry loads. Therefore, different types are also available for beams, and some of them are as stated below. 

  • Simply Supported Beam - stands with two supports and is free to progress parallel. 
  • Fixed Ended Beam - to provide support between two determined ends
  • Overhanging Beam - it supports a balcony
  • Cantilever Beam - does not support columns and bracing but provides clear space beneath the Beam
  • Continuous Beam - comes with a higher vertical loading ability

  • Apart from these, some reinforced concrete, steel, and composite beams are also available in the markets. Choose according to your needs. 

    Columns - A Compression Member

    Columns are the vertical structural compression factor. They are commonly made for bearing loads from the compressions and transferring them to the foundations. You may have seen them standing as they support the complete building or a home. 

    You won’t believe it, but the slabs, beams, or arches become more robust with the help of columns. Although the columns stand straight and form part of a wall, a column can be an adorning factor that helps you in many ways.

    According to a few people, it is also created to prevent the horizontal forces framing from the winds and earthquakes. However, you may have seen on most construction sites, including home construction, the contractors and the homeowners determine the column places. It is necessary because no flexible stresses will pass at the cross-sections. 

    As a result, the columns are of immense value on the construction sites. They are the most crucial factor in the load transfer systems, and a structure cannot be completed without the Column. Columns also have several types. 

    Types of Columns

    By now, you understand the Column and have also learned how vital the Column is for your construction. However, you must know the different types of columns below. 

    • Tied Column - it holds the long bars in the vertical positions
    • Spiral Column - resists more loads than tied columns
    • Composite Column - increase the usable floor spaces
    • Axially Loaded Column - more economical options 
    • Short Column - has a large lateral dimension
    • Long Column - high load carrying ability
    • Square Column - provide ease of working
    • Circular Column - comes with heavy load capacities

    Besides the above types, you can check out the other Column types, including L-shape, T-shape, Steel Shape, Composite Shape, and many other columns. 


    Frequently Asked Questions

    Do Beams differ from Columns?

    Yes! The columns are vertical structures joined with a roof slab, Beam, or ceiling from the foundation level. On the other hand, beams are horizontal elements that help to bear the loads from the slabs to the columns. It might create confusion, so remember one thing only: if you see the vertical structure, call it a column. And if you see the horizontal structure call it a beam. However, they both have different types. 

    What is the standard size of Beam and Column?

    The sizes depend on the construction area and the owner. However, the standard beam size in a residential building is 9 inches X 12 inches. You can say it as 225 mm or 300 mm. But the column sizes are determined by the total load on the columns. 


    The Beam and Column play a vital role in the construction sites. Without a proper Column and Beam, you cannot erect your building and a project.

    However, recognizing the Beam and Column becomes the most challenging task for many people. To help them here, we have a short, simple, and impactful guide on the difference between Beam and Column in this blog. 

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