Beams hold tremendous responsibility in the construction industry, by offering them a rigid shoulder to lean on. 

They carry weight, distribute loads, and ensure the stability of our buildings and bridges. But guess what, beams can’t do it alone! They rely on a crucial partner: beam support.

The type of support a beam receives significantly impacts its performance and overall structural integrity. 

So, let’s dive into the world of beam supports and explore the most common types:

What are Supports in Construction?

Think of beams as the weight-bearing elements in a structure, similar to bones in our body.  

But just like bones need strong joints to function, beams require strong supports to distribute the load they carry and maintain stability. 

The type of support a beam receives significantly impacts its performance and the overall structural integrity of the building.

Different Types of Beam Support

1. Roller Supports

Imagine a beam resting on cylindrical supports that allow it to move horizontally. That’s a roller support in action! 

These supports resist vertical loads but allow for horizontal movement due to thermal expansion or contraction. 

For example: Bridges use roller supports to accommodate slight shifts caused by temperature changes.

2. Pinned Support

A pinned support, also known as a hinged support, acts like a fixed point at the end of the beam. 

It allows for rotation at the connection point but prevents vertical and horizontal movement along the beam’s axis. 

Pinned supports are commonly used in trusses, where the beams are connected to form a rigid yet flexible framework.

3. Fixed Support

Fixed supports are the strong and silent type. They act as an unyielding anchor, completely restricting the movement and rotation of the beam at the point of connection. 

Imagine a beam embedded firmly in a concrete wall – that’s a fixed support! 

This type of support provides the most rigidity and is ideal for situations demanding high stability.

4. Hanger Support

Hanger supports, as the name suggests, suspend beams from above. They’re essentially vertical rods or cables that carry the weight of the beam downwards. 

Hanger supports are commonly used in balconies, canopies, and mezzanines, where the beam needs to be suspended from a higher structure.

5. Simple Support

A simple support is the most basic form of beam support. It provides vertical support at the ends of the beam but allows for both rotation and some horizontal movement. 

Simple supports are often used in floor joists or beams with minimal loads.

Also read: Components of building structures


The type of beam support you choose depends on the specific needs of your structure. 

Factors like load distribution, desired rigidity, and thermal considerations all play a role.

Understanding these different support systems allows you to decide what kind of beam support you need, to ensure the stability and safety of your building.