On this page:
- Estimating the Cost of Foundation Repairs
- Why Do I Need Foundation Repairs?
- What Influences the Cost of Repairing a Foundation?
- How Will the Details of My Foundation Repair Affect the Price?
- Preparing for Foundation Repairs
- Cost Comparisons
- Level of Difficulty
- Find a Pro
The prospect of repairing your home’s foundation can be daunting; it is the structural base of the entire house, after all. There is a wide range of potential foundation issues and related repairs though, from fairly simple to quite complex. The nature of the problems with your home will determine the scale and possible expense of the job. So take the time to find out what your foundation repairs entail, and be sure to get multiple recommendations and estimates for this potentially expensive job.
Estimating the Cost of Foundation Repairs
How Do Contractors Estimate Pricing?
The nature of foundation repairs is essential in estimating the price of this kind of work, so contractors examine jobs on a case-by-case basis to see what will be involved. Pros may present pricing based on the square footage of a slab, estimate the time and materials needed to complete the work, or bid the job as a whole, but since there is a wide range of repair options there really isn’t a standardized pricing format for this type of repair work.
What Goes Into the Price?
No matter the type of repair planned for your foundation, contractors must consider labor, materials, and equipment when estimating the cost of the job. Relatively minor repairs of cracks and degraded concrete or the installation of a sump pump could take a one- or two-man crew just a day or so and involve mostly manual labor and minimal supplies, while leveling or reinforcing an entire slab could call for a large crew, specialized machinery, and a large volume of concrete.
Why Do I Need Foundation Repairs?
The foundation of a building is its primary support; without a solid base the structure will lose stability and degrade much faster than if it is level, stable, and properly supported. If a foundation shifts or sinks due to poor soil conditions, inadequate support, or water infiltration, the attached building will also. Unexpected movement can lead to a lack of integrity, and when building materials move in unintended ways, damage and collapse can occur. If your foundation is not stable, repairing it can prevent expensive repairs to your entire home.
Foundation repairs or improvements are often needed to correct problems that have already occurred, whether progressively over time or due to a sudden event, such as a flood, earthquake, or impact. Fixing problems like these can correct and prevent additional problems in the rest of the structure, from uneven floors or a sagging roof to basement flooding and wood rot.
Some measures can be taken to prevent more serious foundation issues, particularly if soil conditions are known to be unstable or if water infiltration is present. Taking measures to stabilize the soil and improve drainage can prevent foundation problems before they start, and repairing minor issues with the foundation itself can keep them from becoming major issues that require corrective action.
What Influences the Cost of Repairing a Foundation?
Type of Foundation
One of the most important details in planning and pricing foundation repair service is the type of foundation under your home. Repair and access methods can vary depending on whether your house is built on piers and beams, a concrete slab, or a poured concrete or concrete block basement or crawlspace. Generally the more solid concrete the foundation is comprised of, the more complicated (and expensive) repairs will be.
Scope of Repairs
The type of problems that your foundation has been diagnosed with is also significant in determining the best method for repair. If the foundation is found to be sinking, the best repair approach could be very different than for one that is infiltrated by groundwater or that has cracked but not shifted.
Location plays a part in pricing most home repairs, because the cost of both labor and materials is affected by the cost of living in any location. When it comes to foundation repairs in particular, factors like the availability of specialized pros in your area and your proximity to a concrete plant can have some impact on the price of the job, in addition to the general cost of labor and equipment operation.
How Will the Details of My Foundation Repair Affect the Price?
Nature of Repairs
The specific method of repair required for your foundation will determine the skill level, manpower, and equipment needed for the job. For example, if your project involves excavation, waterproofing, and the installation of drain tile, the requirements are much more different than if steel or concrete piers must be installed to lift or stabilize the slab. For the most part, any job that involves heavy or specialized equipment will be more expensive than one that doesn’t, unless it’s because the use of the equipment is limited by accessibility and the same work must be completed manually.
The ease with which your contractor can access the foundation or the area around it may affect the cost of the job. If there isn’t space for large equipment to get close to the house, it can take much longer to complete the work in some cases, depending on the type of repair. If the repair is a small-scale patching, reinforcement, or jacking job, heavy equipment may not be an issue, but if an excavator or even a skid steer is needed, a lack of access can make the project more difficult and time consuming. Some repair techniques that sound invasive don’t even require digging, such as mudjacking and soil injection, while drainage improvements, pier or pile installation, or underpinning may be more disruptive and call for machinery. Similarly, repairs made from under the house can be more difficult when working in a crawlspace than in a full basement or above-grade living level.
Preparing for Foundation Repairs
Get a Second Opinion
Since the strength of your foundation can affect every other component of your home, it’s important to make sure you get the right repair the first time. Have several contractors, and if necessary an engineer, check out the home to make recommendations and give you estimates for the work. Make sure the inspection includes the entire home, not just the basement or exterior, so you can be assured each pro sees the full scope of the problems originating from the foundation.
Plan for Related Repairs
Foundation problems often cause issues throughout the house, such as cracks on walls and ceiling surfaces, movement of trim and flooring, and shifting of door and window casings. Bringing your foundation back into position relatively quickly can cause similar damage, so be prepared to make cosmetic repairs after the job is complete. If your repair involves the use of machinery outside, it can make a mess of your landscaping, so plan ahead for re-seeding or planting as well.
|Low Cost||Average Cost||High Cost|
|$500 - $2,500||$2,300 - $12,500||$5,500 - $22,000|
A wide range of repair options exist, depending on the type of foundation problems at hand. Consider how the details in various scenarios affect the cost of correcting foundation problems in a typical single-family home to see how your repair might measure up.
Patching Up: $500 - $2,500
- • Nature of the Repair: Cracks in a basement wall that are not the result of a compromised structure but allow groundwater in must be patched to prevent water damage and deterioration of the concrete. Filling the cracks with masonry and epoxy products is a reliable and economical repair.
- • Equipment Required: A repair of this nature generally requires only hand tools, so there is no large, loud, or expensive machinery to accommodate.
- • Accessibility Issues: As long as the cracks can be reached easily and safely, access is not typically an issue. Working in a tight crawlspace can make the job a little tougher than in a full basement, which can add some time to the job and increase the labor costs by as much as 50 percent.
Getting Back to Level: $2,300 - $12,500
- • Nature of the Repair: If soil instability or erosion has allowed a foundation slab to sink, a combination of piers and mudjacking may be used to bring it back to level. The size of the slab and amount of correction required can affect the average cost of this kind of work, which can range from as low as $5.00 per square foot to $40 or more.
- • Equipment Required: For a job like this, jackhammers and rotary hammers may be used to make openings in the existing slab through which piers or piles and concrete can be installed and a specialized press and pump will be used to position piers and deliver concrete slurry. If piers are installed around the perimeter, an excavator may be used to speed up digging.
- • Accessibility Issues: Though not large, the equipment used on the interior can be difficult to operate in tight spaces, making the job take longer in a crawlspace than a basement. From the outside, access from the street or driveway is necessary for large equipment that can make the work go quickly.
Drainage overhaul: $5,500 - $22,000
- • Nature of the Repair: Excessive groundwater can create unstable soil that leads to foundation shifting and water infiltration. In a severe case, the perimeter of the entire home must be excavated so a drainage system can be installed and the exterior of the foundation walls waterproofed. On the inside, the installation of a sump pit and pump system provides a second line of defense against water damage.
- • Equipment Required: Using a large excavator is the most efficient way to remove the soil from around the home in order to add drainage materials and treat the foundation walls. On the inside, a jackhammer and hand tools are needed to create the opening for the sump pit and install and connect the pump.
- • Accessibility Issues: Like in any scenario, working in a full-height basement is preferable to a crawlspace, and having space to unload and maneuver a large machine outside will make the job more efficient.
Level of Difficulty
Some interior foundation repairs, such as filling cracks, installing a sump pump, and waterproofing concrete surfaces, can be completed by a homeowner with intermediate skills. Structural issues however, require a great deal of skill—and some specialized tools and materials—to diagnose and repair properly. If your foundation issues are affecting the stability of your home, they are probably best handled by a professional foundation repair contractor.
Find Foundation Repair Contractors
If you’re ready to move ahead with your foundation repair project, contact a Foundation Repair Contractor in your area. The Pros in our network are background-checked, licensed, and insured so you can be assured you’re working with a trusted pro for your foundation repair service needs. If your project involves making related repairs to your home or yard, consider hiring a general contractor to oversee and coordinate the entire job.