foundation repairs expensive

Why Are Home Foundation Repair Costs SO Expensive?

You’ve heard *things* from *other people* about how much foundation repair costs. It’s enough to make you concerned about how much you will have to pay to get your foundation problems fixed. Like, *really concerned* . . . 

In (somewhat) mock exasperation, you might have even Googled the actual words, “Why is foundation repair so expensive??” We hear you – it is certainly a chunk of change that no foundation repair company can hide from, even though some like to try.

Anchor Foundation Repair Bryan College Station

At Anchor Foundation Repair, we’ve been inspecting and repairing Brazos Valley foundations for 35+ years. We believe in sharing 100% honest information and transparency on everything foundation-related including the costs of repair. We can certainly explain this tough question for you seeing as how we are a foundation repair company and all . . . 

This article will offer realistic pricing ranges and review the key cost factors that go into the price of foundation repairs. We will also offer important facts and thought perspectives on this cost to highlight the legitimate reasons for the expense.

Average Price Ranges for Foundation Repair in Central Texas

Foundation Repair Solutions for the Brazos Valley

Before we go any further, let’s just make sure you have realistic price ranges in mind in the first place. If you heard about foundation repair costs from someone in another area or that person had a different type of foundation than you, then the prices you have in your head might be skewed from the start.

For slab-on-grade foundation repair costs in Central Texas, here are some pricing ranges depending on the size of the project. 

  • A minimal slab repair, working on a small section of the home, will be between $5,000 to $8,000. 
  • An average slab-on-grade home that needs partial work only around the exterior sides could be around $11,000 to $18,000 or so. 
  • The extensive slab foundation repair project that needs work on all sides goes up to $32,000 to $40,000 and even more if interior piers are needed.
foundation repair costs

For pier and beam or crawlspace foundation repair costs (aka house leveling) in our area, this is what most people end up paying for crawlspace foundation repairs organized by job size.

  • For a basic house leveling project, where the crawl space has easy access and minor work is needed, expect the cost to be around $4,000. 
  • The most common pier and beam repair project will cost between $6,000 to $8,000 with more widespread/complex work needed and a more restricted crawl space. 
  • Extensive house leveling projects can cost $20,000+ when access is limited and/or termite damage or wood rot is present that requires rebuild work.

Remember that this pricing is estimated and based on what we typically see in our area of Bryan, College Station, and surrounding Brazos Valley communities here in Central Texas. 

What Makes Foundation Repair So Pricey?

why is foundation repair so costly?

Several factors go into the ultimate cost of foundation repairs. The main ones are labor costs, material costs, and other business expenses. Let’s take a closer look at labor and materials.

All foundation repair, whether it’s for slab or crawlspace homes, is very labor intensive. Labor is the largest contributing factor to foundation repair costs. You typically need a crew for a week or much more. For our method of foundation repair using drilled bell-bottom piers, we usually have a team of 6 working on each home.

It takes 300+ man-hours to complete an average-sized slab foundation repair project using drilled piers. For crawlspace homes, it’s closer to 200 man-hours. But the bottom line is, that it’s a LOT of work time and that is the largest chunk of the cost.

Material costs make up a smaller part of the total cost for foundation repair, about 10 to 20% of the cost. Typically, it’s concrete and steel for slab repairs and lots of wood for crawlspace repairs. Costs for these materials are always going up, especially lately due to shortages and supply chain issues.

Is Foundation Repair Really That Expensive?

Let’s try to put these costs into a different perspective to help explain why it *feels* like so much money but if you think about it, it’s kinda not so different than other things that we pay for on a regular basis. Also, we have things like homeowner’s insurance that skew the homeowner’s perspective too.

Perspective on Per Hour Foundation Repair Cost vs. Other Per Hour Jobs

Think about some other things that you pay for around your house by the hour. Yard work is maybe $20 – $30 per hour, house cleaning could be $20 – $50 per hour, mechanical work $50 – $100/hour, and plumbers can charge up to $125/hour or more.

Heck, even my hairdresser charges about $40 an hour when it all shakes out . . . 

So let’s go back to the man-hour approximations that were discussed earlier. It could take 300+ man-hours for a slab foundation repair. 

the high costs of foundation repair

At $20 per hour, 300 man hours = $6,000

At $40 per hour, 300 man hours = $12,000

At $50 per hour, 300 man hours = $15,000

At $90 per hour, 300 man hours = $27,000

At $125 per hour, 300 man hours = $37,500

As you can see from these calculations, the costs quickly add up even at the lowest rate per hour. Not that homeowners are charged per hour for foundation repairs, but you can see that if we did, it’s comparably in line with what you are used to paying for various skilled services around your home. 

Foundation repair just *feels like* it’s so much more because you’re paying for so many man-hours all at once. But the cost of foundation repairs is easily explainable when you shift your perspective and compare it to other skilled services that you regularly pay for. 

Full disclosure, companies do not calculate foundation repair costs by the hour. We actually calculate our costs based on the number of supports that need to be added under your home for slab-on-grade foundation repairs. 

Check out this article on calculating the cost of slab foundation repairs for more information on how to figure out how much support your home needs and a corresponding estimate.

Perspective on Insurance Defraying Costs for Other Large Home Repairs

homeowners insurance and foundation repair

People often use homeowner’s insurance to cover large home repair expenses, like a new roof. The use of insurance for big-ticket house repairs tends to mentally skew a homeowner’s perspective too. You’re not used to paying for the full price of the roof, your insurance policy covers a lot of it so you don’t *feel the pain* directly on your pocketbook.

In the roof example, that new roof might cost $15,000 to $20,000. But you only had to pay $2,500 because of the deductible and then your homeowner’s insurance covered the rest.

foundation repair vs other whole home projects
Whole home projects cost a whole lot

Unfortunately, most regular homeowner’s insurance does not cover foundation problems caused by settlement and expansive clay soils. So you’re left to cover the full cost in most cases. So the foundation repair *feels* more expensive, but in reality, it’s still comparable to other large whole-home repair expenses like roofs and major remodeling for another example.

P.S. There are some exceptions to insurance covering foundation repairs though, check it out here if you want to know more: Is Foundation Repair Covered by my Homeowner’s Insurance Policy?

Foundation Repair is a Difficult Job and Costs Reflect This

foundation repair is hard work

There are just some jobs that are hard or unpleasant and no one *really* wants to do them. You especially don’t want to do big massive undertakings all by yourself either. I feel like I can safely say that foundation repair falls into this category. Many forms of labor-intensive outdoor work are not for the faint of heart.

Sure, digging holes isn’t rocket science, and pouring a little concrete isn’t the hardest thing in the world. But try doing it all day, every day on house after house after house . . . in Texas . . . with clay soil . . . in the summer . . . 

So in order to avoid doing this type of difficult, hot, strenuous work, it’s going to cost you some money. But I’m thinking it’s probably worth it to you to not have to do a job like this on your own. Just try to keep the difficulty of the job in perspective when you are thinking about how much foundation repair costs.

The Method of Foundation Repair Contributes to Cost

I don’t know if you noticed this earlier, but when I was talking about man-hours for a foundation repair job, I was specifically talking about our method: drilled bell-bottom piers. Drilled piers are even more labor intensive than another common method of foundation repair: pressed pilings.

cost of foundation repair is expensive

Drilled piers take longer to do (at least twice as long), thus requiring more labor and a higher cost to the homeowner. Pressed pilings are still expensive, but they take much less time and labor. 

Since I used the number of 300 man-hours to do drilled piers, let’s say it takes about 150 man-hours for pressed pilings and do some per-hour math again.

Using the median per hour price of $50 an hour:

At $50 per hour, 150 man hours = $7,500

But the lowest medium-sized foundation repair job might cost around $11,000 from the average ranges in the first section. It kind of makes me wonder why the labor costs are not as easy to justify for a foundation repair method that takes half the time. What do you think about this?

Pros and Cons of Different Foundation Repair Methods

foundation repair cost a lot because its hard work

Now you know more about why foundation repair costs seem high but with a shift in perspective, it is more reasonable and understandable. But now you’re probably wanting to know more about these different methods, amiright? Why do drilled piers cost more and take more time? Why do pressed pilings take half the time?

At Anchor Foundation Repair, we have been repairing foundations in Bryan, College Station, and the greater Brazos Valley area since 1985. We recognize that there are pros and cons to these different methods of foundation repair and sometimes it makes more sense for a homeowner to pick one over the other.

To fully understand the pros, cons, and differences between these methods, you’re gonna need another article: Bell-Bottom vs. Pressed Pile Foundation Repair Methods: What’s the Difference?