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- Foundation repair generally costs anywhere from $2,162 to $7,795, with most people paying $4,974 on average.
- The nature and scale of the issue, repair method, size of your home and the type of foundation all figure into the final repair cost.
- Major foundation repair jobs can mount as high as $25,000, but there are several options if you need to finance the project.
If your home’s foundation is breaking down, get ready to buckle up. A foundation repair project rarely comes cheap.
“According to Angi cost data, repairing a foundation can cost anywhere from $2,162 to $7,795,” explains Angie Hicks, chief customer officer at Angi and co-founder of Angie’s List. “Homeowners can expect to pay $4,974 on average.” But in extreme cases, if the entire structure is compromised, it could cost tens of thousands to make things whole.
While that might sound extravagant, it’s necessary. Without a solid foundation, your home could quite literally fall apart.
Along with the nature of the issue itself, the repair method, the size of your house and the type of structural support it has all influence the ultimate cost of repairing your home’s foundation. Let’s dig down deep into the problems and their solutions.
How do you know if your home’s foundation needs to be repaired?
Foundation problems can easily go unnoticed until a home inspection uncovers them. So, short of the walls caving in, how do you know if your home’s support system needs some attention? Look for:
- Cracks in exterior or interior walls
- Uneven or bouncing floors
- Cabinets that separate from the wall
- Doors that stick or don’t close squarely
- A mold or mildew smell for which you can’t locate a source
- Water pooling around your foundation after it rains or snows
What factors contribute to the cost of foundation repairs?
Some specific factors will impact the price of your foundation project.
Issue type/level of repair needed
First and foremost: the nature of the problem. As you probably expect, the bigger the issue, the more you need to budget for the foundation repair cost.
“The complexity of the issue and the severity of the damage all factor into the final cost of foundation repairs,” as Charlotte Granville, home remodeling specialist at Fixr.com, explains. Repairs “can range from $350 for small cracks to up to $20,000 if the structure starts to crumble.”
If you’re patching a small crack, a few hundred bucks ought to cover it. But if discovering that crack leads you to learn you need to seal your entire basement to waterproof it, the cost quickly goes into the thousands.
Granville gives another example: “If your foundation needs reinforcing, expect to pay between $700 and $5,000 per section,” she says. “But if your home [itself] needs leveling due to your structure sinking, you’ll be paying up to $25,000 for this type of foundation repair.”
The nature and severity of your problem often dictates the type of repair you need. But often you have different options when it comes to how you tackle a foundation fix.
If, for example, you have a crumbling area of your foundation, you might be able to fix it with fillers like epoxy or polyurethane. In that case, the repair could cost you less than $1,000. But if the damage is widespread, and your crumbling foundation needs a more involved repair method — like actual reinforcement — your cost can quickly climb into the thousands. But here too, you might have a choice, between carbon fiber strips and more expensive steel strips.
The bigger your house — and the more of its foundation that needs attention — the more your project will cost. At the very least, it’ll mean more areas that the pros will need to check. Plus, a larger home generally means a more complicated foundation, which not only means more things that can go wrong, but can also make fixes more involved.
The material — whether that’s brick, concrete, wood or some other material — impacts your foundation repair cost in two ways. First, you need to factor in the cost of the material itself for making any necessary replacements.
Additionally, Granville says, “Depending on the material and damage, the foundation may require specialized solutions like sealing, foam jacking, steel reinforcement or a complete replacement.”
Labor and paperwork
To fully diagnose the nature of your foundation problem and repair, you might want to commission a structural report from a home inspector or engineer. Structural reports don’t come cheap: The tab for such an analysis ranges from $300 to $1,000, according to Angi. But it could be worth it, to get an unbiased estimate, before you start seeking out contractors.
Plus, you’ll want to hire a pro for this work (assuming it’s more than patching a few small vertical cracks). Labor for foundation repair usually runs about $200 an hour, but of course it’ll vary depending on wages in your area and the extent of the repair.
Because foundation repair is structural work, any significant repair will require a permit. The contractor can arrange that, but you’ll pay the associated fee (around $75-150) for it, and for an inspection by local authorities if dictated.
Foundation repair costs by problem
Here are some of the most common ailments that can afflict a foundation. Unless otherwise noted, figures regarding the repair come from Fixr.com’s data.
“Cracks in a home’s foundation can occur when the foundation sinks or there’s too much pressure on it from the soil,” Hicks says.
It’s a common problem, but happily foundation crack repair cost is about as low as it gets. ”Minor cracks are easy to fix since they usually don’t affect the structure’s integrity, costing as little as $250 to repair,” Hicks explains. If you have a major crack, though, she says the cost can go up to $800 — largely because the contractor will probably opt to use cement rather than a polyurethane-based or epoxy-based sealant.
Sinking, shifting and settling
This is a common area of foundation repair — and one that can get pricey fast. Shifting or sinking can result from major disasters, like earthquakes. But it can also occur gradually, usually because of instability in the soil.
Granville says to budget $700 and $25,000 to fix a shifting foundation, depending on the method used. “The type of repair needed can range from installing piers to mudjacking, foam jacking or wall reinforcement,” she explains.
If your foundation is sinking, you’ll also have to explore mudjacking and foam jacking or installing piers to prop it back up to its original height (the piers, also called posts, are there to secure the elevation). “The cost of repairing a sinking foundation can be between $1,000 and $25,000, depending on the type of soil and structure,” Granville says.
A variety of things can cause a foundation to crumble, from sinking to sheer age to a sudden jolt, like a landslide or sinkhole. This is a key area where the repair method influences your foundation repair cost. If you can fix the crumbling area with epoxy and polyurethane fillers, you might be able to tackle this job for less than $1,000. But if you need to reinforce the structure of your foundation, Granville says to budget up to $20,000.
Often, foundations are compromised due to erosion or compacting of the ground around them. If so, you’ll have to address that issue first — filling in the earth, then dealing with any drainage problems.
Budget about $500 for epoxy and polyurethane fillers if your actual foundation has eroded, but up to $10,000 if you need new gutters and downspouts to direct the water away from your home, preventing further erosion of the earth around it and the foundation itself.
Poor drainage and water damage, shifting or expanding soil or poor fill can all cause your foundation walls to bulge or bend inward. “When a foundation has bowed walls, professionals straighten them with carbon fiber or steel reinforcement strips,” Hicks says. “The strips cost $4,000 to $12,000 for a dozen and your pro will suggest which material works better for your situation. Steel is more expensive but often needed for bigger shifts in the foundation.”
If you need to reinforce the wall — say, by installing piers (or “piering” as the pros say) — budget up to $15,000.
You might think a leak wouldn’t be a huge deal to fix (or come with a major foundation repair cost), but you’d be wrong. “Foundation leak repair costs range from $2,000 to $7,000,” Granville says.
That’s because you have to do a lot more than just patch the leaky area. You’ll also need to find the source of the leak, and you might need to waterproof the entire area to prevent further drips. Sometimes, a French drain (average cost: $5,000), a buried trench with a pipe that circles the perimeter of the foundation or basement interior, can be installed.
Foundation repair costs by type of problem
To give yourself a quick overview of issues and the attached price points, we’ve surveyed a mix of construction authorities to summarize some repair methods and their cost ranges.
|ISSUE||REPAIR METHOD||AVG. COST RANGE|
|Sinking||Mudjacking, underpinning, piering||$1,000–$25,000|
|Crumbling||Epoxy/polyurethane filler, reinforcement||$1,000–$20,000|
|Erosion||Epoxy/polyurethane filler, gutters/downspouts||$500–$10,000|
|Settling||Piering, mudjacking/foam jacking, reinforcement||$700–$25,000|
|Bowing||Wall anchors/carbon fiber strips, piering, reinforcement||$700–$15,000|
Types of foundations
“Whether it’s moisture affecting stem wall foundations or sinking in slab-on-grade structures, any type of foundation can develop issues that need repairs,” Granville notes. That said, some foundations are more prone to problems, or certain kinds of problems, than others. Here are some ballpark foundation repair costs based on the type of foundation your home has (figures derived from Angi data).
Cinder block/brick foundation
Consisting of stacked, precast blocks of concrete, cinder block foundations have a weak spot: the mortar-filled joints binding the blocks together, which can be prone to cracks or crumbling. If it’s just a few joints, that repair cost should stay fairly low, around a few hundred bucks. But costs can grow significantly — up $25,000 — if severe damage (wide horizontal cracks, for example) has compromised the entire wall.
Concrete slab foundation
Monolithic concrete slabs — essentially, a batch of concrete poured into a shallow, horizontal hole — are America’s go-to foundation, precisely because they’re so strong. It takes a lot to damage a solid hunk of concrete. Still, cracks and sinking can occur.
The good news is that concrete foundation repair can be a fairly easy fix. Sealing can repair cracks. If the slab has settled unevenly or sunk, there’s mudjacking: drilling holes and then injecting a slurry (a mix of water, sand and cement) or foam into them, which effectively lifts the foundation back up again and smooths it out. It usually costs, on average, around $1,000 ($3-8 per square foot).
But if the soil has shifted significantly under your concrete foundation, you might have to replace it entirely, and those costs can quickly go up to $20,000 (the slab itself is fairly cheap, but you have to raise up the house and tear up the old foundation before you can pour a new one).
Pier and beam foundation
Consisting of concrete columns sunk into the ground (the piers) overlaid with wooden or concrete joists (the beams), this sort of foundation has fallen out of favor because it’s less stable. “Pier and beam can be prone to settling,” Granville says. If your beams are made of wood, they can be subject to water or termite damage. On the plus side, these types of foundations often feature a crawl space, which makes repairs easier.
Costs to fix pier and beam issues start at around $700 (to replace a portion of a beam, for example) up to $25,000 to add or replace the piers or beams entirely. You might need to install a sump pump to avoid moisture-related issues in the future.
Yes, a basement effectively functions as a home foundation. Unfortunately, “basements typically have the highest repair costs and the most issues,” Hicks says. “Basements can sink, settle, crack, leak and bow, which all lead to more issues if not quickly repaired.”
To start, if you have a basement as your foundation, keeping it dry is key. Most basement foundation repair projects center around waterproofing, and on average, those range from $2,300 to $7,600, depending on how much additional effort or side excavation is needed to seal water out.
If the basement is significantly sinking or shifting, it might require underpinning: Raising it, digging beneath it and installing piers to lift and support it. This sort of repair can easily mount into the $25,000-$30,000 range, depending on how many piers you need (they run $1,000-$3,000 apiece). On the plus side, underpinning tends to fix problems permanently.
How to finance foundation repairs
If it does seem like your foundation repair project is going to run into high-four- or five figures, you might want to finance it, as opposed to digging into savings or maxing out credit cards. Fortunately, there are several options.
Home equity loan
A home equity loan means getting a lump sum of money from the lender. You’ll repay that over a set time period, plus interest and any applicable fees.
With this type of loan, you borrow against the ownership stake you’ve built up in your house. You’re getting a second mortgage, leveraging the value of your house to secure the debt.
On the plus side, home equity loan interest rates are comparable to mortgage rates and, while those have been rising lately, they’re still much lower than double-digit rates on credit cards and personal loans. Also, the interest could be tax-deductible, if the loan’s being used for home improvement or repair — which a foundation fix would definitely be.
Home equity line of credit
A home equity line of credit — or HELOC, for short — works a lot like a home equity loan: you borrow against the equity you have in your house. The difference is that instead of getting a lump sum, you get a line of credit (similar to a credit card). You only accrue interest on what you use, and as you repay it, you can borrow up to your HELOC’s max again. This can be a good option if your foundation fix is an elaborate one, requiring you to pay a contractor in installments; or if you’re uncertain what the final tab will be.
A personal loan gives you a lump sum of money that you can use for any reason, including foundation repair. Some personal loans are secured, meaning you’ll need to put up collateral for the loan. You can also explore unsecured personal loans, but those interest rates will be higher.
Personal loans can be quicker and easier to get than home equity loans. But the terms are often shorter and the interest rates bigger, especially if you need a larger sum.
With this option, you get rid of your current mortgage in favor of a new one under current interest rates and, in the process, you take some of the equity out of your house. This resets the clock on your mortgage repayment (e.g., if you choose a 30-year loan, you’ll be at the start of those 30 years again). At the same time, though, it lets you liquidate some of the value you’ve built up in your home to use for your foundation repair.
The bottom line on foundation repair costs
Ultimately, fixing a foundation is pricey. Still, this is must-do maintenance. “Foundation repairs can be a daunting task, but it’s important to remember that they are essential to the structural integrity of your home,” as Granville notes. “If you are experiencing any signs of foundation damage, I’d recommend having a professional inspect your home as soon as possible.”