The average cost to replace a foundation is about $4,900, according to Home Advisor, but the cost can vary greatly depending on the size of your home, the type of foundation, and how extensive the repairs are. When you have foundation problems, you might notice:
- Cracks in the walls or ceiling
- Bowing or leaning walls
- Doors or windows that don’t close properly
If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to call a contractor right away for an evaluation. In this guide, we will outline the steps involved in replacing a foundation, as well as how much each step will cost.
When Does a Foundation Need to be Replaced?
Your home’s foundation is vital to making sure it lasts for decades to come. It, of course, provides a literal solid foundation to build your home, but it also:
- Prevents moisture problems
- Insulates against cold
- Fights against the shifting dirt to keep your home stable.
And while we wish our foundation could last forever without issue, sometimes that just isn’t the case. There are several reasons why a foundation may need to be replaced. The most common reason is due to structural damage, such as cracks or settling. Other reasons include:
- Water damage: If the foundation is constantly exposed to water, it can start to degrade and crumble.
- Insect damage: Termites and other insects can eat away at the foundation, causing it to become weak and unstable.
- Poor construction: If the foundation was not properly constructed, it may not be able to support the weight of the house.
If you’re not sure whether or not your foundation needs to be replaced, it’s best to call a contractor for an evaluation. They will be able to assess the damage and give you a better idea of what needs to be done.
What Are Signs a Foundation Needs Repair? 👷
A foundation replacement is definitely a huge task that doesn’t occur very often. In fact, most foundation issues can simply be repaired and buy you years more of protection for your home. Some of the most common signs of foundation issues requiring repair include the following:
1. Exterior Cracks
Shrinking clay, poor compaction, and other soil issues can cause cracks to form in the exterior of your foundation. These cracks can allow water to seep in and further damage your foundation.
2. Interior Cracks
Interior cracks are often caused by the same issues as exterior cracks. However, they can also be caused by doors or windows that are misaligned or a shifting, unsteady foundation.
3. Bouncing Floors
If you notice that your floors are no longer level, or that they ‘bounce’ when you walk on them, this is a sign that your foundation is not as stable as it should be. Homeowners of older houses with wood floors may even notice that chairs with wheels slide to one side, or spills flow directly to one side of the room— all due to uneven floors.
4. Rotted Wood
If you see any rotted wood around your foundation, this is a sign that water has seeped in and caused damage. Rotted wood is not only unsightly, but it can also lead to more serious issues like mold growth and diminishing the structural integrity of your home.
5. Cracked Tile
Impact damage can cause minor cracks in tile in your bathroom and kitchen, but cracked tile can also be a small sign that your foundation is bad.
6. Doors or Windows Not Closing or Opening Properly
If you’ve recently noticed that your doors or windows are no longer fitting as snugly as they used to, it’s possible that your foundation has shifted and is no longer level. This can cause big problems down the line if not fixed, so be sure to contact a contractor right away if you notice this issue.
7. Door and Window Frames Shifting
Much like how your doors and windows may not be fitting properly, you may also see that your door and window frames are no longer level or square. This is another sign that your foundation has shifted and needs to be repaired.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Foundation? 💰
The cost of a foundation installation can vary greatly. While we mentioned the national average is somewhere around $5,000, the average cost of a concrete foundation sits a little closer to $7,000-8,000— but this can all vary greatly based on many factors.
There are many elements that will affect the cost of foundation repairs, including the type of repair needed and the severity of the damage. Some other major contributing factors to keep in mind when researching prices include:
- Size of your home
- How stable the soil is
- Materials and labor
- How severe the foundation issue is
These factors can give a more accurate view into what your foundation replacement or repair might cost you in the end.
The Size of Your Home
As with any home improvement project, one of the biggest factors in the overall cost is going to be the size or scope of the project. The size of your home will increase both materials and time required to complete the job, thus driving up costs.
Another big factor in foundation damage is how stable the soil is around your home. Different types of soils expand and contract at different rates due to changes in moisture content. This can cause cracks or movement in your foundation.
If the soil around your home is especially unstable, or there’s been foundation settlement, it will likely require more work to install a new foundation or make repairs. This extra work will add to the cost of the project.
Materials, Labor, Permits, Etc.
Once you’ve determined how big the project is and how much work will be required, it’s time to start thinking about materials and labor.
The type of foundation you have (or want to install) will play a role in what materials are needed. For example, a concrete foundation will require different materials than a steel or wood one.
The cost of materials will also play a role in how much the project will cost you. Here’s what you can expect for cement vs. concrete slab foundation materials in cost per square foot:
- Cement foundation cinder blocks: $8 to $13
- Basement foundation crawl space: $12-$15
- Pier and beam foundation: $8-$10
- Monolithic concrete slab: $5-$7
- Stem wall concrete slab: $6-$8
The Severity of the Foundation Issue
The severity of the foundation issue is another cost-determining factor. If the damage is extensive, it will likely require more work to repair.
For example, if there are only a few cracks, they can be repaired relatively easily. However, if the foundation has shifted or sunken, it will require more work (and materials) to level it out again. This extra work will, of course, drive up the cost of the project.
Additional Costs to Consider
You might need a permit to have your foundation worked on, depending on where you live. The cost of the permit will be added to the overall project cost.
As you can see, the cost of your foundation as a whole is dependent on many things, and only a professional foundation expert can help you nail down those costs, so there are no surprises on the project start date.
What to Do When You Need Foundation Work
If you need foundation work done, it’s important to contact a reputable foundation expert like Perma Pier. These #dirtnerds have the knowledge and expertise to handle your foundation repair, replacement, installation, and any other issues associated with a bad foundation. Get in touch to get more information or get a quote for your project.