How much does it cost to fix a failing foundation?
Some foundations that are in need of attention do not require much. They can be fixed more as a preventative measure than a reactionary one. If the foundation problem has been ignored, however, then costs quickly escalate because other issues tend to show up, such as cracks in basement flooring or walls.
Knowing the average cost of a foundation repair can be difficult because of all the variables that can affect each home or structure. Your cost for a foundation repair will depend on your particular situation. Factors that impact cost include how accessible the sunken portion of the foundation is, the cause of foundation failure and the method of repair.
If the cost of foundation repair seems high at first, keep in mind that your home is a big investment. In the end, the cost will be worth it because your property will be safe and marketable.
It is difficult to provide an average cost for foundation repair because there are so many variables. Let’s examine some of the factors that contribute to how foundation repair estimates are priced and educate homeowners about how foundation repair estimates are formulated.
Type of Foundation
The type of foundation affects the cost of foundation repair. There are three main types of foundations. These include slab, pile and beam, and t-shaped foundations. Each of these foundation types, due to differences in design, requires different materials or different amounts of similar materials. For instance, pile and beam foundations require insulation, unlike the other types. Because different materials or amounts of materials are used from one foundation to another, the repair cost may not be the same from house to house, even if damage is similar and square footage is approximately the same.
The Stability of the Soil
In North Carolina, houses situated atop a great amount of unstable soil tend to need more interior piles to counteract the shrink-swell characteristics of soils. Each house sits on a unique mixture of soils and some soils have greater shrink-swell potential than others. Another factor that contributes to the stability of the soil is proper drainage. Improper drainage can cause erosion underneath a structure which will adversely affect the foundation, and cause it to sink. More interior piles will be needed to counteract the erosion.
The size of the house can lower or raise foundation repair costs, because the larger the house, the more materials must be purchased for the repair. Larger houses also can be more expensive to repair because they involve more weight and structure complexity.
The Extent of Foundation Deviation
Deviation refers to the extent that a structure is unlevel. If the home is experiencing severe signs of foundation problems, such as bowed walls, large cracks in the ceiling or walls, or doors that will not open or close properly in a majority of the house, it is feasible that the foundation will need to be stabilized with interior piles to a greater extent than houses with a lesser deviation. The more stabilization a house needs, the more the repairs will cost.
On average, repairing a failing foundation of a house costs between $5,000 and $7,000. This assumes that there won’t be any additional problems to fix while repairing the foundation, such as replacing plumbing. Although the average is $5,000 and $7,000, simple jobs can get as low as just over $2,000, while complex jobs might push close to $14,000.
In addition to the complexity and scope of the problem, other variables that can add to the cost of repairs include:
- Hiring a structural engineer to assess the damage (typically $300 to $1,500).
- Getting a soils report prepared by a geotechnical engineer, if needed (about $500 to $3,000).
- Obtaining a local building permit, if required ($75 to $150).
- Dealing with hidden obstacles in the ground, such as old repair methods, extra-deep footings, or tree roots (may add an average of $1,000 to $2,500 to the overall cost).
One of the biggest aspects of foundation repair cost is who does the repair. Experienced workers are more likely to do the job quickly and efficiently and to do better quality work. Newer companies, in contrast, may woo customers with low prices but end up costing more in the long run because their inexperience may translate to more hours on the job. For this reason, it may be worth it to hire the company that offers an initially higher bid for the repair.
Although the total cost of foundation repair can be substantial, your home is often your biggest investment and these repairs (properly done by a reputable contractor) can be essential to protecting your equity and keeping your property marketable.