How much does it cost to get drilled pier foundation repairs? How do you know how many piers are needed and what is the cost per pier? You want details on how pricing for a repair project is figured.
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we have been pricing and installing drilled piers for 35+ years and understand the general pricing process because we do it every day. We exclusively used drilled bell-bottom piers for all our slab-on-grade foundation repairs and can explain how we calculate costs for this service.
This article will discuss costs for our drilled piers and different pier price points. We will also go over how we determine how many piers are needed to get the job done so that you understand where your estimated pricing comes from.
How Much Do Drilled Piers Cost? (Types, Price Points)
Most typically, foundation repairs are priced based on a per pier basis (or per piling if using concrete or steel pressed pilings). The per-pier price tag includes both material and labor costs for that one pier.
There are 3 basic *types* of piers with varying price points. The types of piers are not different in how they are made or installed, the difference is in the difficulty level and labor involved. Most foundation repair jobs need some combination of pier types based on the situation.
Each pier type has a set cost and then you multiply based on how many are needed. Before we get to the *how many are needed* part, let’s review the different types and their respective price points.
Exterior piers are the ones installed along the perimeter of your home. We call them exterior piers because we are primarily working on the outside of your home to put them in place.
These piers are considered the most *regular* or *normal* in terms of difficulty to install i.e. they’re the least labor intensive and therefore have the least expensive price point. Don’t get me wrong, all drilled piers are labor intensive, these are just the lowest level of hard.
Exterior drilled piers tend to cost anywhere from $600 to $850, depending on the company. Here at Anchor, our current price per regular exterior pier is $800.
Exterior Breakout Piers
These piers are still installed along the home’s exterior perimeter, but we call them “breakouts” because we have to go through some obstruction to get to the dirt. Obstructions and obstacles could be sidewalks, driveways, patios, or concrete garage floors. Usually, this includes jackhammering out concrete and then patching it back when the job is complete.
Even the obstacle of a wooden deck is considered a breakout (but there’s no jackhammering, we just take up some boards to get the access we need.
Not sure if the term “breakout” is universal to the entire foundation repair industry, but that’s what we call them anyway . . . you gotta break something out to get these done . . .
Foundation repair companies will have a higher price point for installing any pier that requires the removal (and replacement) of an obstruction. There’s more work done to get around the obstacle and to put it back or repair whatever was in the way. So exterior breakouts cost more because they require more legwork and extra materials.
Exterior breakout piers might range in cost from $650 to $900. At Anchor, we charge $850 each for exterior breakouts at the moment (Fall 2023). So only $50 more per pier for a breakout, compared to a *regular* pier.
Interior piers are installed to handle foundation settlement under the middle of the home and are the most labor-intensive. Interior pier work for drilled piers involves breaking through the concrete slab of the home to access underneath and install the pier.
We call these interior piers because we do need inside access to your home for the installation. Not only is it more difficult, but a lot more prep is involved (compared to exterior piers) to protect your home and belongings. Walls, shelving, and cabinetry are protected and parts of the home are sealed off to keep your home free from damage and debris.
The work goes more slowly too because you have to be more careful working and moving around inside a house. All the going in and out adds time too.
Because interior foundation piers are the most labor-intensive, they also carry the highest price point. The price range per interior pier could be anywhere from $800 to $1,100 or more. If you’re using Anchor, we charge $1,000 for each interior pier.
How Many Piers Are Needed for a Foundation Repair Job?
Drilled piers are generally placed every 7 linear feet (on center). A foundation repair estimator will calculate the number of linear feet of the structure that need piers to repair your foundation problems.
Just as a simple example, let’s say that the corner of your home has settled and the total wall length needing support is 84 linear feet. In this case, 13 piers are needed along both exterior walls that meet at the sunken corner of the house as shown in the diagram.
Calculating the number of piers needed is more than a little complicated. You can’t just take 84 divided by 7 to get your final answer for the number of piers. When any corners are involved (which is almost always) and when the linear feet total is not evenly divisible by 7, it gets mathematically challenging.
The best way to truly know how many drilled piers need to be installed for your foundation repair is to get an inspection and repair estimate from a foundation repair contractor. The area of foundation settlement will be determined and a repair plan drawn out to show how many and where the piers are needed.
It’s way easier to leave this stuff to the trained and experienced experts.
Does Anything Else Contribute to Drilled Pier Costs?
Just knowing the cost per pier and the number of piers you need will not get you to a final total for foundation repairs. There are other service line items and pricing factors that contribute to the end cost of foundation repairs.
For Anchor, the biggest cost addition to our drilled pier foundation repairs lies with mud-pumping. This is where we fill the void under your lifted home to minimize any opportunities for further settlement. This important step is included in every slab foundation repair project but there is an associated cost.
Every company is different in the way they build their pricing. You might have line item charges for things like prep time, drain line testing, dirt removal, or cleanup.
Why Are Drilled Bell-Bottom Piers So Expensive?
Yes, drilled bell-bottom piers are expensive. Drilled piers take more time to install compared to other methods of foundation repair. More material and man-hour costs are involved.
But really, most homeowners feel that all foundation repair is expensive. Remember that a foundation is a whole-home system, similar to your roof, plumbing, electrical, or HVAC system. Any time you are dealing with a key element of home infrastructure, the costs are significant.
Check out this article for some more perspective: Why Are Home Foundation Repair Costs SO Expensive?
Can You Do Drilled Piers for Less?
We sometimes get asked if there is any way to get our drilled pier foundation repairs for less money. And the answer with Anchor is no, not if you want to address all your foundation concerns. We recommend the right number of piers you need to solve your issue as completely as possible. Doing anything less would mean not solving all the problems.
There are rare occasions when we can address only your most concerning foundation issues, and leave some parts of the home out of the scope of work that don’t concern you as much. So your costs could be less, but we’re also not repairing everything that’s wrong.
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we don’t fix things that don’t need fixin’, and we don’t try to sell you stuff you don’t need. After 35+ years in business, that’s what’s best for our Brazos Valley community and for exceptional homeowners like you. We’re here to help guide you through the foundation repair process, and that starts with recommending exactly what you need to put your foundation problems behind you.
Want average total pricing ranges for small, medium, and larger drilled pier projects? Check this out next: How Much Does Drilled Pier Foundation Repair Cost for My Slab?