You likely have a foundation problem with your home and are wondering if you can find any information online about what goes into and determines the cost of foundation repair. Like, what drives the cost of repair up or down and can you control any of it?
You’re thinking maybe if you can control some of these factors or choose the right options, then you can save money or get better results from your foundation repair project. I like where your head is at . . .
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we have been estimating and educating homeowners on foundation repair costs for 35+ years while serving Bryan, College Station, and other surrounding communities like Navasota and Brenham. We feel it’s important for people to understand where costs come from and encourage informed decision-making about your home repairs.
This article will review the top 5 factors that contribute to the cost of foundation repair. We discuss how each factor can drive the cost up or down and why. That way you are empowered and confident in moving forward on repairs with your best interests in mind.
Top 5 Factors That Impact the Cost of Foundation Repair
Not only do I like where your head is at on understanding these pricing concepts, but I also like lists. . . Here’s a list of the top 5 factors we will be exploring today that play into foundation repair costs and pricing:
1. Repair Method
2. Number of Supports
3. Access Limitations
4. Home Location
5. Finishing Services
Ok, list completed, don’t you feel better now? Well, I sure do . . . let’s take a look at each one of these pricing factors to understand how they influence your costs.
1. Number of Supports Needed Affects Cost of Foundation Repair
Most foundation repairs are done by adding structure under the home to boost it up and hold it in the desired (level) position, my boss would tell me to call it *foundation raising and stabilization.* But however it is phrased, the idea is that a certain number of supports are added underground to hold your home in place. These supports are spaced apart under the ground and the number that you need plays a big part in figuring out the cost.
For example, if you need 17 supports added, it will cost less than if you need 30 put in. This is because they are priced per support and each support costs a certain amount.
So if you need your whole home supported, that will cost the most. It will cost less if you only need a small part of your home supported. The total quantity of supports is the biggest factor in determining your foundation repair costs because each support has a price tag in the same way that a gallon of milk does.
Hoping that makes some basic sense, but we do have a whole article just on determining the number of supports your home needs. Check out, “Calculate Slab Foundation Repair Costs: How Many Supports Do I Need?” later on if you feel like seeing if you can figure it out.
The totally average, super-typical foundation repair project usually needs somewhere between 15 and 25 supports.
We estimate that the per support cost* could be between $500 to $900 depending on the foundation type and chosen repair method. So then you will multiply the number of supports you need by 500 and the number of supports you need by 900 to establish a range of costs for the basic foundation repair.
2. Repair Method Determines Pricing for Foundation Repairs
The repair method you choose will ultimately determine the price per support. In the foundation repair industry, we call the support system *underpinning* in general and call them either *piles* or *piers* depending on the method. It makes it hard when there’s industry lingo, doesn’t it?
What we want to make clear here is that different slab foundation repair methods have different pricing per pier or pile. Some methods cost less, and some methods cost more. Some methods won’t even be available or appropriate for your area so your choices are also limited sometimes.
In our area of Central Texas, where expansive clay soils are predominant, we have concrete pressed piles and drilled piers as your most common and available choices in foundation underpinning methods.
In general, concrete pressed piles are less expensive, and drilled piers cost more but there are reasons why one is more and the other is less – you get something completely different. But what you really need to know is that right off the bat, the method you choose will heavily influence your pricing ranges.
Want to know more about these two most common methods and their costs? Check out this versus article for the full rundown: “Average Cost of Foundation Repair: Pressed Pilings vs. Drilled Piers.”
3. Access Limitations Drive Up the Cost of Foundation Repair
There is a basic per support price for the repair, but there are other factors to consider that could increase the cost per pier/pile or in general. Access limitations are things that make it harder or take longer to install the home’s needed support and therefore add to the cost.
Things Surrounding the Home Create Access Limitations
Each location where a pier/pile might need to be placed can either be easy or hard to get to. Is it free from obstacles all the way around your home? *I highly doubt it* Is there just dirt there or something else that would get in the way of a foundation repair team adding support under your home?
Generally, a 2 foot by 2 foot square of space is needed in order to dig down and place a pier or pile. There needs to be a 2-foot by 2-foot clear space around each support point. If the needed areas are not free from obstacles, an additional cost per pier/pile is typically added to those points.
So not only does the number of supports needed and repair method affect the cost, so do access limitations or obstacles. If it is more difficult or takes longer than normal for a repair team to access a certain point to place the support, then the cost can go up for a few of the piers or piles.
Common access limitations around a home that can drive up the cost of foundation repair are things like: sidewalks next to the home, driveways, porches, trees next to the home, chimneys, and large air conditioning units.
Sidewalks might have to be broken up to place a pier/pile and then patched back up, and the same for driveways or porches. Trees or plumbing drain lines might be in the way of the easiest access to support placement, which means that a repair team would have to choose a more difficult entry point where there is a sidewalk or porch.
In the case of a chimney, it adds extra weight and might call for more piers in closer proximity than the usual distance.
A repair team would always choose the easiest entry point to place the support unless there isn’t an easy one. Then a decision has to be made to either break up a concrete surface or move or remove something like a tree or large a/c unit. All this leads to extra time and additional costs.
Lot Layout Can Create Access Limitations
Access limitations can also have to do with the home’s physical location/layout on your land. Lot situations that create access limitations are things like: very long driveways, many gates, long way to get around the house from the equipment location.
To sum up these two sections, any support placement that is hard to get to in some way or requires the removal and replacement of something will add to the cost of those particular piers or piles.
How Much Do Access Limitations Add to Foundation Repair Costs?
In general, you can expect to add 6 to 8% cost to any pier/pile locations with access limitations. So, let’s say one support normally costs $650 each, then another support on the same home that has access limitations could cost around $700 instead.
Support Needed Under the Interior of the Home Raises Costs More
Most of the time supports only need to be added under the perimeter walls of the home. In 10% of the jobs we do, the home also needs support underneath other areas of the home. We call this “interior work” and it requires holes to be made in the floors of your home to install the needed support.
Interior work adds more to the cost than the usual access limitation scenarios above. Interior work adds significantly to the amount of time everything takes to complete and therefore adds to the cost at a higher rate.
In general, you can expect to add about 15% cost to any pier/pile locations under the interior of the home. Using the same base cost in the earlier example, a normal perimeter pier with no access limitations might cost around $650 each. But if that pier needs to be put somewhere underneath your living room floor, then those will cost more at $750 each.
Each interior pier or pile you need will have a higher price than any installed on the perimeter with or without other access limitations. In other words, interior supports have the highest cost and are the *biggest* form of access limitation.
4. Home Location Influences Foundation Repair Costs
Home location is a sort of access limitation sometimes. Really, it’s your home’s proximity to town and supplies that creates the access limitation. If a home is out in the country, there is increased travel time associated with the cost of repairs and may add to the total cost or cost per pier.
Proximity to materials location is also an access limitation. If materials like dirt and concrete mix materials have to be transported in from a longer distance from the vendor. The vendor can add to the cost of the materials and may result in higher costs passed on to the homeowner.
Expect higher costs in remote locations where travel and supply availability becomes a factor. It’s hard to figure how much extra cost there could be for this situation. Just know that if you live in the country, mileage might be factored into your project from the foundation repair company, as well as from material suppliers the foundation repair company uses.
5. Additional Services Add to Foundation Repair Costs
Some methods of repair include or require additional services. For example, a foundation repair company might strengthen the repair by filling in empty space (the void) under your newly raised home with mud-pumping.
Some foundation repair companies might conduct a pressure test on plumbing lines to ensure there are no unseen plumbing cracks or problems.
You might have plumbing/drain line issues that require repair under the slab in addition to the foundation repairs. Tunneling under the foundation so that plumbers can access and make the plumbing repair is an additional cost.
Those plumbing repairs are separate charges paid directly to the plumber of your choice. Those costs are typically not included in the foundation repair cost.
Remember when we mentioned that about 10% of homes also need interior piers? Well if interior piers are needed, this adds a new aspect to the whole scope of the repair and will definitely add to the cost. In addition to interior piers costing more than exterior piers, the job would likely require you to move out of the property during the repair and spend some money on flooring repairs.
Questions to ask when you speak to a contractor should include how much they might charge for these additional situations or if they even offer them. You might also need to talk to separate contractors about plumbing or flooring to get bids for that work.
Estimating Foundation Repair Costs is Complex
If this seems like a lot to consider, you are completely right! Figuring out the cost of foundation repair is a lot more like a 1000 piece puzzle than one of those easy ones you did in preschool with 5 really obvious pieces.
It’s not just about figuring out how many piers you need, there really is so much more to it especially when it comes to choosing a repair type, as well as considering access limitations and whether additional services are needed or not. Every foundation repair company will handle things differently when it comes to all of these factors.
You will only know for sure how much things can cost by getting an actual bid from one or more foundation repair companies eventually. Foundation repair experts will be able to draw from their wealth of experience and knowledge, identify problem areas, and give you a cost proposal.
The Foundation Repair Cost Factor You Can Choose
Now you know the 5 main factors that contribute to determining your costs for foundation repair. Most of them you don’t really have any control over, like where your home is located or even how many supports you need under your home. Just one factor involves homeowner choice, and that is the method of foundation repair.
As we mentioned earlier, there are two types readily available in our area and we do one of them: drilled bell-bottom piers.
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we have exclusively been using the drilled pier method of foundation repair since 1985. We continue to use this method because we find it to be a great fit for homeowners who want to take the time for the repair method with the most stable and long-lasting results. We also back it with a transferable warranty and service agreement.
To find out more about how drilled piers compare to pressed piles, check out, “Bell-Bottom vs. Pressed Pile Foundation Repair: What’s the Difference?” This will really help you decide which method sounds like the right one for you.