A slab foundation is when the building rests on a large slab of concrete. There is no crawl space underneath this concrete. A raised foundation differs from a slab foundation because there is a minimum of 16 inches of crawl space
Is the concrete beneath your home in distress? Foundation problems can lead to major structural damage within your home. Whether you’re a homeowner or a perspective buyer, foundation issues are scary and you likely have a lot of questions.
Luckily, there are ways to repair a concrete foundation without having to tear it out and start from scratch.
If you suspect trouble, do the following:
- Examine the foundation yourself for obvious issues
- Have a repair expert do a home foundation inspection
- Consult with a structural engineer if necessary
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF FOUNDATION PROBLEMS?
Are you wondering if you have foundation issues? All foundations will settle with time, but problems arise when this settlement is uneven or extreme.
Here are the common signs of foundation stress:
Exterior Warning Signs
- Wall rotation
- Separation around garage door, windows and/or walls
- Cracked bricks
- Broken and/or cracked foundation
- Displaced moldings
Interior Symptoms Of A Settling Foundation
- Misaligned doors and windows: When your foundation shifts, it pulls at the structural wood framing of your house. This means the door and window frames start to move off-center, and this is what creates the opening/closing issues that you’re experiencing. Sticking or hard to open/close doors and windows can be a sign that the frame has become out of square. A single door or window that’s on the fritz isn’t necessarily a problem, especially in humid areas where wood expands. But if the doors and windows on one whole side of your house suddenly won’t close all the way, well, that’s a bad sign. Look for cracks in the wall around doors and window frames—that’s another indicator that something has suddenly shifted.
- Differential movement caused by inadequate drainage: Differential movement is caused by widely varying moisture levels around or underneath your foundation. When you have wet patches and dry patches of soil, wetter areas expand and push upward while dry areas sink, causing upheavals. The most common culprit is improper drainage around your house. Either your gutters aren’t dumping water far enough away from the foundation, or the ground isn’t sloped for “positive drainage” (water going away from the house, instead of toward it).
- Tilting Chimneys or Fireplaces: A leaning or tilted chimney tends to be a more noticeable foundation issue. It is also a very dangerous problem when your chimney tilts or leans, it can either fall in on your home, or the mortar can come loose and fall.
- Cracked sheetrock
- Cracks and Uneven floors: Cracks in your concrete floor slab can be a sign of foundation settlement. However, it may also be that the slab floor alone has settled. There are times when your slab floor may sink independently of the foundation walls, damaging the floors but not necessarily the walls and often requiring foundation repair services.
- Cracks in drywall: Cracks in drywall throughout the house are one of the most common signs of foundation problems. Typical drywall cracks will appear around door frames and windows, in the ceiling, in corners, and along the wall. Drywall tape can be a good indicator, especially if it’s ripping or coming loose. Drywall cracks can also be a sign of sinking crawl space supports, sinking floors, or heaving floors.
- Cracks in the basement: This can be misleading; cracks in the foundation don’t automatically equal settling.
- Flooding: Flooding—whether from a burst pipe, sewer leak, melted snow, or just too much rainfall—can cause wet soil to push up against the foundation, creating cracks.
- Improperly prepared soil: If the soil beneath your slab foundation wasn’t prepared correctly, as the weight of the house compacts it, parts of the foundation can settle and crack. This is especially a problem if there are several types of soil that compact differently, creating an uneven surface.
- Trees too close to the house: What started out as a small tree a reasonable distance from your home can, over time, grow into a large tree way too close to your home. Trees can cause a tremendous amount of damage by draining water from the soil under a foundation. Large roots can also push upward on the structure.
- Frost heave. Freezing and thawing causes water molecules to grow and shrink, making the soil beneath your home push up and contract back, eventually causing cracks.
- Changes to nearby ground: If you live in a city, construction near your home can jar your foundation. Someone digging out a new foundation next door can cause yours to shift if it’s not properly braced. In the suburbs, heavy machinery (like a cement truck) on a driveway alongside the home can cause the ground beneath to compact, shifting the foundation as well.
Bulging floors, cracked walls, and doors that won’t close are all signs of foundation distress. Sixty percent of all homes built on expansive soils suffer from foundation distress. The trouble occurs when only part of the foundation heaves or settles, causing cracks and other damage.
This differential movement is largely caused by differences in soil moisture. Loss or gain of soil moisture can cause serious shrinkage or swelling.
If the frame of a house does not begin to distort until after three or more years of satisfactory performance, it is doubtful that the distortion is caused by full-depth foundation settlement, which is always evidenced by matching cracks. Cracks occur at each side of a portion of the foundation wall that is undergoing downward movement caused by soil bearing failure.
Settlement cracks are nearly always vertical, and they should not be confused with cracks that occur when a wall is subjected to lateral movement from soil pressure.
WHAT CAUSES FOUNDATION ISSUES?
Before foundation repair can begin, it’s important to assess the causes. There could be several factors at the root of your foundation issues. Does your home sit on soil filled with clay minerals? Expansive clay soils absorb water more readily than other soils. The soil will expand when wet and press up into the foundation. As the soil dries, it shrinks and the foundation settles. This continual heave and settlement can create foundation cracks and damage.
If soil settlement from expansive clay soil is creating foundation problems, you can avoid additional damage by keeping water away from the foundation. To direct water away from the house, make sure your gutters have downspouts that are sloped away from the house to prevent water from pooling at the foundation. Continual watering of flower beds or landscaped areas located next to the house’s foundation also can contribute to excessive water collection in the soil beneath the foundation.
Water leaking from cracked plumbing under slab foundations is another factor that could lead to foundation problems. When tree roots crack these pipes, water can seep into the home or fill the crawl space with unwanted moisture. Waterproofing the foundation can help eliminate some of this invasive moisture. You can also implement crawl space encapsulation to provide moisture management. This will help provide a moisture barrier, reduce humidity in the house, keep out bugs and eliminate the growth of mold, which thrives in moisture.
Tree roots also can cause foundation issues. A deep root system can leech large amounts of moisture from the soil under a foundation. This may cause soil shrinkage and foundation settlement. House leveling may be a necessary foundation repair for this type of damage. Piling systems can provide needed house leveling. This type of foundation repair can fix foundation settlements such as tilting, uniform settlement and differential settlement. To determine what’s at the root of your foundation issues contact a certified repair specialist to inspect your home and provide a foundation repair estimate.
For the vast majority of damage, water is the primary culprit. Variations in moisture cause components of the soil to swell or shrink, leading to movement beneath your foundation.
Your property may be more susceptible to foundation damage if:
- It was built on expansive clay
- It was built on improperly compacted fill soils
- The area around the foundation has poor drainage
- You live in an area with extreme seasonal changes
- You experienced a plumbing leak below your home
- Tree roots are growing too close to your home
- An earthquake, flood or drought compromised the structure
Those soils highest in clay content are generally more susceptible while those lowest in clay content are the least affected. In some areas the movement is insignificant; in others, it is quite pronounced.
When unstable soils are used as a base, the movement is transferred to the foundation. Since soil movement is rarely uniform, the foundation is subjected to a differential or upheaval. The problem shows up in both slab, and pier and beam type foundations.
If all the soil beneath a foundation swells uniformly, there usually is no problem. Issues occur, however, when only part of the home settles. Then, the differential movement causes cracks or other damages.
Issues resulting from foundation settlement:
- Damage to the structure
- Loss of real estate value
- Tripping hazards
- Unsightly cracks
- Equipment malfunctions
Whatever the cause, settlement can destroy the value of your home and even render it unsafe. If you see signs of failure, don’t delay in getting the problem solved. The longer you wait, the more your foundation will sink, causing further costly damage.
It is almost inevitable that small cracks will appear over time even with a completely solid foundation. As seasons change and the ground around a foundation becomes more or less wet, most hairline cracks will close right back up.
Hairline cracks are a common result of normal foundation settlement. However, you should be concerned if large cracks appear suddenly. If a crack is wider than an eighth of an inch you could have a possible foundation issue.
If a crack expands beyond an eighth of an inch and doesn’t close itself up (or even gets bigger), that’s an indication of a more serious foundation issue.
Aspect Of The Foundation Cracks Discovered
The type of crack can also tell you if it’s a problem or not. Hairline cracks in the mortar between concrete blocks are probably not worth calling a structural engineer for. Cracks in the mortar joints that look like stairs are a cause for concern, especially if the cracks are wider than a quarter-inch or if the wall is bulging. Horizontal or jagged 45-degree cracks are the most serious and usually indicate you will need professional help (and, potentially, a new foundation).
All foundation cracks should be repaired by a professional. But not all of them are as severe, or need immediate repair.
- Hairline cracks should be repaired within a few months of discovery. These are relatively inexpensive and quick to fix, so get them repaired before they widen into bigger problems.
- Long horizontal cracks, or stair-step cracks (in block walls) are more serious. They are a sign that hydrostatic pressure is damaging your foundation and this is not a repair to delay. Procrastination will lead to weakening wall(s) and much more expensive repairs.
- If your foundation is already bowing or leaning inward, take action promptly. A bowing wall will eventually collapse, and this is not a problem you want to have!
“Horizontal or jagged 45-degree cracks are the most serious and usually indicate you will need professional help.”
If unsure, monitor the cracks in your foundation, if they continue to expand, call a foundation company out to inspect the cracking.
CONCRETE FOUNDATION REPAIR METHODS
Past techniques for repair of sunken concrete has varied. Wood, concrete, cement and steel have been poured, pushed, turned or somehow forced into the ground trying to salvage these foundations and slabs, while early on, anyone and everyone, trained or untrained, became “experts” at this type of repair. Often as not, the repairs proved to be futile.
Other, more successful, methods of remediation involve extensive disruption of the family or business using the building. Usually, it is desirable that settlement of building slabs and monolithic foundations in residential areas be corrected without having to move all furniture, appliances, and possibly the whole family, or in commercial areas, without disrupting business.
However, with today’s technology and trained experts, there are a number of very successful solutions to the problem of sunken concrete that involve little or no disruption to normal living or business routine.
The two most common methods of this type of repair are slabjacking and hydraulic jacking (also known as piering).
In a slabjacking operation, grout is pumped beneath a slab or beam to produce a lifting force that restores the member to its original elevation.
In piering, steel posts are driven through unstable soil and hydraulic jacks are used to raise or stabilize concrete slabs affected by changes in the underlying soil. The repair method used depends on the type of distress being treated.
Choosing the correct method for repairs
Before deciding on a repair method, you must determine what is causing the distress. Examine moldings and trim boards, mortar joints in brick veneer, and windows in low areas for clues. Also take note of recent weather. Unusually dry or wet weather can cause movement in the underlying soil.
The most commonly used method of correcting smaller slabs of sunken concrete, such as residential slabs, driveways, sidewalks, swimming pool decks, etc. is slabjacking.
Slabjacking is done by pumping a cement grout through small, strategically-located holes in the concrete slab. Once in place, the grout solidifies into a dense concrete mass and provides a competent bearing for the concrete slab.
If a soil-cement-lime grout is used, the lime content of the slurry will impart the benefits of lime stabilization to the base or sub-base. This combined treatment not only restores the slab to proper grade but also stabilizes the sub-soil to prevent re-occurrence of the problem.
For larger problems, especially those found in house and commercial building foundation shifting, hydraulic piers are typically used to lift and stabilize the foundation.
Piering involves the use of strategically placed mechanical jacks to lift the settled beam to grade. The beam must be raised carefully to avoid further or unnecessary damage. Once raised, the beam is held to elevation by a specially designed spread footing and pier.
The footing is set deep enough so that it will be independent of variations in soil moisture. It is also designed to adequately distribute the load without creating unnecessary bulk or mass. The pier is tied into the footing with steel and supports the foundation beam.
Foundation Repairs Step by Step
The first step is performing a foundation inspection. One of our knowledgeable inspectors will draw a scaled diagram of the home and take floor elevation measurements after thoroughly inspecting the property.
LEARN MORE ABOUT FOUNDATION INSPECTIONS
We only move to step two if an issue with the foundationdation is found during the inspection. Our inspector will design a repair plan specific to the property and the issues facing it. They’ll then provide the homeowner with a scaled CAD drawing of the home, a full report on the findings, and a suggested repair plan based on those findings.
Pull city permits and perform the repairs designed in the repair plan. The vast majority of foundation repair projects will involve the installation of push piers or helical piers to transfer the weight of the home away from incompetent clay soils.
LEARN MORE ABOUT PUSH PIERS
LEARN MORE ABOUT HELICAL PIERS
WHAT REGIONS ARE MOST AFFECTED BY FOUNDATION FAILURE?
The soil type in certain areas of the country leads to a higher rate of foundation trouble. Areas with high clay content and coastal areas with lots of sand tend to see the most damage. Homes in these regions are at greater risk for foundation damage.
Foundation Issues in Texas
The following areas of Texas have expansive clay soil, which can cause foundation movement:
- Fort Worth
- Corpus Christi
- San Antonio
The soil conditions in Texas respond to rain and drought like a sponge. This expansion and contraction with changes in moisture puts stress on your foundation.
Foundation problems are also prevalent in areas prone to flooding, as was seen with Hurricane Harvey in 2017. If you live in Houston, you may want to elevate your house above the floodplain. FEMA offers this guide about the house elevation process.
Additional factors that contribute to foundation failure in Texas include poor drainage around homes and the corrosion of cast iron plumbing or failure of cedar piers beneath older homes.
Foundation Issues in Oklahoma
Areas of Oklahoma, including Tulsa and Oklahoma City, also have soil with high clay content. In fact the dirt is actually red in many places because there is so much clay.
To make the problem worse, Oklahoma often experiences extreme drought (remember learning about the Dust Bowl?) that dries out the soil, making it contract and pull away from foundations.
In Oklahoma, soil expansion and contraction often leads to issues in your home’s basement. Sometimes basement walls will require straightening to properly support your home.
Foundation experts in Oklahoma recommend watering your foundation during times of drought and redirecting rain way away from your home with gutters and proper sloping during times of rain.
Foundation Issues in Missouri
Missouri is another state with more foundation problems than average. Kansas City and St. Louis both have expansive clay soils and variable weather that contribute to the issues.
If your basement is leaky or damp you may need basement waterproofing. Or worse, you may have bowed basement walls that need to be fixed.
Foundation Issues in Mississippi
Mississippi, and Jackson in particular, also have frequent foundation issues. The soil in this area, known as Yazoo clay, weakens foundations, putting them at risk of failure.
The volume of this soil expands when wet and shrinks when dry, sometimes by as much as 38%. This drastic soil movement leads to shifting of structures, breaking of underground plumbing and other damage.
If you have Yazoo clay beneath your home, the key is to keep the moisture consistent. Sometimes this may mean redirecting rainwater away from your house, other times it may mean using a soaker house to prevent the ground from drying out.
IS CLAY THE ONLY TYPE OF SOIL THAT CAUSES FOUNDATION TROUBLE?
Clay isn’t the only type of soil that negatively impacts foundations. The second biggest enemy to concrete house foundations is sand. While sand does not expand and contract like clay soils, it can be washed away, creating gaps beneath a foundation. Peat is another type of soil that shrinks and expands much like clay.
Loam and rock are the best soils for providing foundation support. They compact well and don’t move or swell with moisture changes.
SHOULD I BUY A HOUSE WITH FOUNDATION ISSUES?
Many home buyers run for the hills when they see a home with foundation issues. The fear is that it will cost thousands of dollars to repair the home by raising and sufficiently supporting its foundation.
If you’re shopping for a home, keep an eye out for the common signs of foundation issues. Also, make sure to have a home inspection. However, sometimes foundation trouble is overlooked during this step.
To be sure that the home you wish to purchase is structurally sound, have it evaluated by a foundation contractor or an engineer. They will also be able to give you an idea of how much the repair work will cost, so that you can make an offer with that in mind.
In some cases, you may be able to get a good deal on a home with foundation issues. But make sure you know what you are getting into. Some foundation problems can be corrected easily and affordably, while others may require a completely new foundation and up to $100,000. Don’t go with what a real estate agent says, only a foundation expert can help you determine what to expect.
SHOULD I FIX MY FOUNDATION BEFORE SELLING MY HOME?
If you want to get top dollar for your home, it should be in near perfect condition. This includes fixing foundation issues if you can afford it. See average foundation repair costs.
Most foundation companies offer a lifetime warranty on their repairs that is transferable to the new owners. This will give potential buyers peace of mind because they know that the problem has been addressed.
In some cases you may be able to sell your home as is. It isn’t uncommon for homes with foundation trouble to be bought by investors. Also, if you have the advantage of a seller’s market, some buyers are willing to take on repairs themselves.
HOW TO HIRE A REPAIR CONTRACTOR
Foundation work is definitely not a do-it-yourself project, so it makes good sense to get at least three licensed contractors to give you a detailed proposal along with an assessment of your issues. The average inspection takes about two hours.
- Educate yourself on repair methods and ask a lot of questions. Don’t make your final decision based on advertising and cheap prices. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Don’t do business with a contractor that does not have their repair methods evaluated by ICC-ES (International Code Council Evaluation Services). This nonprofit organization ensures that building products meet code compliance.
- In most areas of the country, a reputable contractor will have a clause for the depth of the hydraulic piling (typically 20 to 30 feet). Beyond that depth, there is usually an additional charge, ranging from $20 to $30 per foot. If a contractor has no depth clause, be cautious. It’s unlikely that the contractor would continue to operate at a loss, and would instead just stop at the depth that would guarantee a profit.
- Some repair projects require removal of landscaping in the areas of the work, and the contractor typically won’t guarantee that a bush or shrub will survive after removal and replacement.
- Warranties or guarantees for foundation work are very important, so pay close attention to their terms. Remember that a warranty is only as good as the company that backs it. Look for a national company that can offer a warranty trust. This means that if the company goes out of business, there is a plan in place to provide follow-up service, if needed.
Does homeowners insurance cover foundation repair?
Regarding the question does homeowners insurance cover foundation repairs, I have a complete study in this article, right here.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Foundation Repairs?
Foundation repairs usually have very high costs, that can go from a few dollars to inject epoxy in a wall affected by hydrostatic pressure, or installing a vapor barrier, to replacing completely the sill plate, to the installation of helical piers, a preferred option to concrete footings or push piers, but quite expensive for the pockets of the homeowner.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, “Your homeowners policy pays to repair or rebuild your home if it is damaged or destroyed by fire, hurricane, hail, lightning or other disasters listed in your policy. It will not pay for damage caused by a flood, earthquake or routine wear and tear.”
|Cause of Foundation Damage||Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Foundation Repairs?|
|Soil expansion and contraction||No|
|Construction defects||No, but you have a builder warranty.|
|Explosion, fire, broken plumbing, wind damage, leaking water heater||Yes|
|Earthquakes, flooding, sewer backups||No, these perils require supplemental coverage|
|Poor drainage and soil erosion||No|
|General wear and tear||No|
Your foundation is covered by homeowners insurance like any other part of your home. Unlike other parts of your home however, many causes of foundation damage are explicitly excluded from standard policies.
Whether foundation repairs are covered depends on the source of the damage. Every part of your home, including the foundation, is subject to wear and tear over the years. Foundations can settle, develop cracks and lose their ability to seal out water. These problems might be inconvenient, but they come with the territory of home ownership. All homes require upkeep as time goes on. Home insurance isn’t designed to cover normal maintenance and repairs.
However, home insurance should cover damage to your foundation if it’s caused by a sudden, accidental event — like a massive tree falling on your home or a truck crashing into it. You can also get separate policies to cover damage caused by floods and earthquakes. These events are what we call “covered perils.” If your foundation falls prey to one of them, your insurance may provide coverage.
Homeowners insurance is your safety net in case of sudden disasters: If a windstorm damages the side of your home or a car crashes into your fence, your policy may cover you.
For additional coverage for your house and its foundation, consider purchasing separate earthquake and flood protection. Most insurers offer this coverage as either an add-on to your homeowners insurance or as its own separate policy.
Start by checking your insurance policy. The most likely causes of foundation damage, such as soil expansion and contraction or poor construction, are typically excluded from most insurance policies (see table). Most carriers consider the conditions that contribute to foundation damage to be avoidable by keeping up with home maintenance and controlling conditions that can lead to flooding or inadequate drainage.
Cracks, settlement, and other types of damage to your concrete foundation are not only serious to the structural integrity of your home, they can also be very expensive to repair. Depending on the extent of the damage and the method of repair, you could be looking at a bill of up to $15,000 (See: Foundation Repair Cost). But if you think your homeowner’s insurance will foot the bill, you could be in for an unpleasant surprise.
A typical homeowner’s policy covers your house only against specific, identified perils. Check your policy’s declarations page to see what perils are named. If your foundation damage is the result of a covered risk—such as a tornado, explosion, or fire—your homeowner’s policy may reimburse you for the repairs up to your coverage limits.
The root cause of your foundation problem might not be readily apparent. In these cases, it helps to call a foundation specialist to come out to your house and diagnose the issue. Not only will they help you understand what caused the problem, but they can give you an idea of how extensive repairs will need to be. Plus, their report will give you evidence you can use if you decide to file a home insurance claim.
Foundation damage can be caused by many factors, from how your home settles over time to severe drought. While some may be covered, others may not.
Familiarize yourself with the many different events that can cause foundation damage, and whether or not your homeowners policy will cover it.
The best solution and the cheapest one is to prevent issues from happening and never have the requirement to do a foundation repair and afford its costs, is to perform a yearly foundation inspection in which you will suggest the structural engineer what to check, along with the checklist that is usually included.
Named Perils In Homeowners Insurance For Foundation Repair Costs
If you have a named perils homeowners policy, your home is protected from those scenarios that are explicitly listed in the contract. If your foundation is damaged due to any of those specified events, repairs to the foundation will likely be covered by your policy.
If you have an open perils policy, you’re protected from all incidents except those that are explicitly mentioned. If your foundation is damaged due to any event except those listed, your insurance will probably cover it.
Therefore, an insured who experiences a loss or damage caused by a flood cannot file a claim to his or her insurance provider, as a flood is not named as a peril under the insurance coverage. Under a named perils policy, the burden of proof is on the insured.
In both cases, your homeowners insurance will not cover foundation problems as a result of policyholder negligence,
When Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Foundation Repairs?
The Coverage A section of your home insurance policy protects the actual structure of your home, including your foundation. If your policy is based on the ISO Broad Form (HO-2), you only get protection against the covered perils specifically named in your policy.
Dwelling coverage, also known as dwelling insurance or Coverage A, is the part of your homeowners insurance that helps pay to rebuild or repair the physical structure of your house in the event it’s damaged by a covered peril, like a fire, windstorm, or a lightning strike, falling trees, and a sudden and accidental water damage event.
Your homeowners insurance protects your home in the case of certain covered perils. So if a fire burns your house and belongings, for example, your homeowners’ insurance steps in to help pay for the structure and contents.
If your foundation is damaged by one of the covered perils in your policy, your homeowners insurance will usually help pay to fix it—like it would for any other part of the structure under your dwelling coverage.
Along with covering the structure of the home, dwelling insurance also covers built-in systems and appliances (like your water heater, HVAC, and plumbing) as well as attached structures (like your garage or porch).
Generally, foundation cracks or settling aren’t covered by your homeowners policy. Your home’s foundation is protected under your policy’s dwelling coverage, but only for certain perils/events. Most policies cover damage due to sudden and unexpected events like severe windstorms or fire, but won’t cover damage that falls under the umbrella of routine home maintenance.
The dwelling coverage limit in your policy should be equal to your home’s replacement cost, or the amount it would cost to completely rebuild your house at the current prices construction and labor. For an accurate rebuild estimate, consider a replacement cost appraisal or use a dwelling coverage calculator.
Your homeowners insurance policy will list every hazard that your insurer will cover. To see if your home’s foundation damage is covered, you’ll want to check the “dwelling” portion of your policy coverage form.
So if your foundation issue was caused by something listed in your policy, your insurer will likely help foot the bill for repairs. If not, you’re going to be on your own.
Any damage to your foundation is covered unless your policy explicitly excludes it. That may seem confusing. To make it clearer, picture that there are two types of risk events: those your homeowners insurance company ‘accepts’ and those it ‘rejects’. The ones your company ‘accepts’, like tornadoes and fires, will be covered should they wreck your home. The events your company generally rejects, such as earthquakes and floods, are considered ‘too risky’, so your company won’t take responsibility for damages caused. For your foundation repairs to be covered by insurance, they have to be caused by an event your company ‘accepts’. Events homeowners policies generally cover that could cause foundation damage are:
Events that are covered by most home insurance policies
- Lightning or fire
- Damage caused by aircraft
- Riots or civil disturbances
- Damage caused by vehicles
- Falling objects
- Volcanic eruption
- Collapse weight of snow, ice, or sleet
- Water damage from plumbing, heating, or A.C. overflow
- Leaking water heater that caused an event in the foundation covered by the policy and that requires repairs.
If any of the above caused your foundation damage, then you can file a claim for your insurance company to reimburse you for the repairs.
Cases When Homeowners Insurance Does Not Cover Foundation Repairs?
Some people assume that they get homeowners foundation protection from their insurer after any natural disaster. But that’s not the case. In fact, almost all home policies specifically exclude two of the natural disasters that can do the most foundation damage: floods and earthquakes. If you live in an area where either of these disasters is common, buy a separate earthquake or flood insurance policy to safeguard both your foundation and your home as a whole.
Additionally, home policies don’t offer foundation repair insurance when the foundation problem results from normal wear-and-tear. This is because most policy Insuring Agreements only provide coverage for “sudden and accidental loss” or “Direct Physical Loss,” which has been defined as damage caused by an accident or other fortuitous event. Insurers argue that it’s your responsibility as a homeowner to perform the proper maintenance on your home. They label many foundation issues as negligence on your part.
Specifically, you can expect that your insurer will deny coverage for settling, shifting and cracking foundations, whether that’s a result of temperature, soil fluctuations, earth movement or tree root growth. They will almost definitely say those losses are not “sudden and accidental” and that it’s your responsibility as a homeowner to address those problems as part of your routine maintenance.
Also, don’t expect foundation insurance from your homeowners policy if your foundation suffers from faulty construction. To avoid this issue — and the associated out-of-pocket cost — make sure you get a home inspection before buying a new home.
Unfortunately, many of the common reasons for foundation damage are events your company won’t take responsibility for. If any of the following caused the damage however, your insurer will most likely reject your claim.
- Natural settling, cracking, shrinking, bulging, or expansion of the foundation
- Earthquakes or Flood
- Pressure from tree roots
- Faulty construction: An example can be when the soil does not have enough density to support te foundation because the soil was not sufficiently compacted, or that helical piers are not at the correct depth. However in these cases, you normally have the builder warranty during several years that will cover a faulty construction.
- Water in the crawlspace, even if it is due to hydrostatic pressure or because of rains.
Like earthquakes, floods require their own separate insurance policies, so unless you have one of them, the cost of your repairs won’t be covered by your standard homeowners policy. Things like natural settling, tree roots and faulty construction are chalked up to the owner of the home being negligent, and negligence is also never covered by insurance.
Most homeowners policies don’t cover floods or earthquakes. If your foundation damage is a result of either of these disasters, you’ll likely need separate flood or earthquake insurance.
Homeowners insurance typically doesn’t cover wear and tear. Home foundations shift over time, which can lead to cracks in your home’s structure. Like repainting a faded wall or clearing your gutters, keeping tabs on an aging foundation is considered the homeowner’s responsibility.
Knowing what can damage your foundation is the key to protecting it. According to the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).
Let´s study more in detail these issues that are not covered and answer the question if does homeowners insurance cover foundation repairs, and why not in these cases, as these costs can become very high.
Settling Or Sinking Of The Foundation
Cracks in the foundation due to wear and tear when the house settles over time are a maintenance issue and won’t be covered.
Moisture: Moisture is one of the major reasons that a foundation will “naturally” settle, crack, shrink, or bulge. You don’t want to have too much or too little moisture in the soil around your home. If you live in a wet area prone to rain, you’ll want to ensure you have proper drainage systems in place. If you live in an area prone to drought, you’ll want to keep the land around your home hydrated and moist. Moisture changes typically aren’t covered by homeowners’ insurance, unless you can prove it was directly related to a covered peril (like a major snowstorm).
Preconstruction And Ground Preparation
Defects in the foundation from bad construction are excluded as well. If the soil was not allowed to settle when the house was built, the resulting damage to your foundation would not be covered.
Soil misuse is a leading cause of foundation damage. Your home’s weight will condense the soil beneath it over time. Over time, the soil under the foundation can expand and contract.
If the soil was compacted unevenly at the start, your house may settle unevenly and begin to crack. If you’re building a new home, consider using uniform soil as opposed to different soil types, which can be packed evenly and closely together to provide a sturdy base.
Drought is a problem along these lines. During periods of extended dryness, the earth under your home can contract. This can cause cracks and fissures in the foundation. As the source of damage does not originate within the premises of the house, it’s not covered by your home insurance.
Poor drainage can lead to wet and dry patches beneath your house. Wet patches tend to push, and dry patches tend to shrink. The ASHI calls it “differential movement”, which can affect the foundation. Make sure your gutters are transporting water far enough away from your house.Check that the ground is sloped away from, not toward, your house. Updated drainage helps prevent water damage and keeps moisture levels uniform.
A tree too close to your house can push against the home’s structure. It can drain high volumes of the soil’s water beneath your house, and a drastic change in moisture levels can have serious results.
Hot and cold temperatures can cause water molecules in soil to shrink and expand. Over time, this can result in damage to your foundation.
A qualified contractor or foundation specialist can help you take measures and avoid problems before they start.
What about broken pipes under the slab?
If you’ve experienced a slab leak, insurance coverage may kick in, especially if the cause was the result of a covered peril. However, you may have to pay for repairs yourself if the plumbing leak was the result of poor maintenance on your part.
Most standard home insurance policies exclude damage due to earth movement. This means standard home insurance doesn’t help much in the event of a sinkhole. In some states where sinkholes are common, sinkhole insurance is an option. Also, some states require policies to include catastrophic ground cover collapse coverage against sinkhole damage.
Sinkhole Insurance Coverage vs. Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse Coverage
Sinkhole insurance is add-on coverage for your home insurance policy. It covers sinkhole damage to your home, contents, and property. Preventative measures, such as structural reinforcements, are covered by sinkhole insurance as well. The rider may also cover additional living expenses. Florida has the highest number of sinkhole claims in the country. Both Florida and Tennessee require insurers in those states to offer optional sinkhole coverage
Florida also requires homeowners to carry Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse (CGCC) coverage. CGCC has four criteria points your sinkhole damage must meet:
- The abrupt collapse of ground cover
- A depression in the ground cover clearly visible to the naked eye
- Structural damage to the building, including the foundation
- The insured structure is condemned by authorized government agency
All these criteria must occur during the sinkhole event in order for CGCC coverage to trigger. As such, you shouldn’t rely on it alone to provide the best coverage. Sinkhole insurance offers the better coverage of the two. Say your house suffers cracks in the foundation due to a sinkhole, but there’s no ground cover collapse. Your sinkhole insurance should cover it. However, since the damage does not meet all the criteria for CGCC coverage, the foundation would not be covered by CGCC. Also, sinkhole insurance does not require the condemnation of the house to approve the claim.
Sinkhole insurance and catastrophic ground cover collapse coverage share many exclusions. Neither sinkhole insurance nor CGCC coverage include damage to sidewalks, driveways, swimming pools, or decks. Open land, parking lots, streets, and roads aren’t covered by either policy type as well. Sinkhole insurance and Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse Coverage do not cover damage due to earthquake either.
Sinkhole insurance often requires an inspection before selling a policy. If any indications of a sinkhole are found, odds are you will be denied coverage.
A sinkhole insurance policy might not provide coverage for man-made damage like mine subsidence. Be sure to read over your sinkhole insurance policy to see how much protection it provides. You may need to purchase additional coverage.
Sagging Floors Due To Rotten Floor Joists
Foundation damage caused by shifting or settling earth or sagging floors caused by rotting floor joists are typically not covered by homeowners insurance. If the damage is caused by flooding or an earthquake, you’ll typically require separate coverage.
It is your responsibility to take care of these issues through sistering floor joists, a process with its own rules, follow a correct notching pattern, selecting the right dimensional lumber. The same issue that would happen to maintain the roofing and the rafters, for example. Diligence from the homeowner.
Filing A Claim Regarding Foundation Repair Insurance
To start, get in touch with your insurer as quickly as possible after a covered peril occurs. Most insurers only offer coverage for a set period of time after an event occurs.
After consulting with a professional, and have determined the cause of the damage is something you’re covered for, you can file a homeowners claim like you would for any other type of damage. Since most of what you are covered for are sudden events, you should contact the professional at the next best convenience after the event.
If it was a tornado for example, call your the contractor as soon as possible after the storm has passed, and then contact the insurer. If the damage was due to vandalism, you need to call the police and obtain a copy of the police report.
When you contact your insurer, ask them what evidence it will need for the claims process. Your provider may want to send an appraiser to your property. You may also benefit from hiring your own foundation specialist to come out and assess the situation so you can use their report in your claim.
Most homeowners insurance companies allow you to file small claims online. However, if your home has significant damage or you’re unsure whether your claim would be covered, you should contact an agent.
Before you file a claim, it’s important to take pictures and videos of the damage to submit as proof to your insurance company. Prior to meeting with the insurance adjuster, it can be helpful to gather quotes from two to three contractors that detail the amount of work required to make repairs and demonstrate the cost involved. When the insurance company sends you a settlement offer, make sure that the amount will cover all of the repairs before you cash the check, because you can dispute the claim if the amount isn’t sufficient.
After filing the claim, your homeowners insurance company will send a claims adjuster to assess the damage. This is where the assessment of your contractor or foundation specialist will be important. If the adjuster contends the damage was due to natural wear and tear, or something your not covered for, your contractor will be able to vouch for you.
To help you with the process, many insurers have a network of recommended contractors. And some even guarantee the workmanship for a set period of time when you choose one of their contractors.
Some insurance companies offer policyholders access to a network of qualified contractors. Working with these prescreened contractors ensures that your claim and repairs are handled quickly. These contractors are usually in direct contact with your insurance company, meaning the entire process moves a lot faster. We provide a list of some home insurance companies that offer a network of contractors below.
|Farmers||Awards a five-year warranty to repairs made through approved contractors.|
|Liberty Mutual||You’ll have access to a 24/7 home repair service.|
|Amica||Repairs come equipped with a three-year warranty. Additionally, the service can be used for renovations.|
What can you do if you’re not covered by homeowners insurance?
You are faced with limited options beside paying out of pocket when the damage to your home’s foundation isn’t covered by insurance. Your best bet is to prove the damage was caused by something you are actually covered for. If your foundation shifted due to expanding soil caused by an internal flood, which was in turn caused by a burst pipe rather than a natural flood, you would actually be covered in this instance because homeowners policies cover internal floods.
The best way to assess damage to your home’s foundation is to hire a contractor or foundation specialist. They will be able to tell you what caused the damage, which you can then use to decide whether a homeowners claim would be successful. The evidence or materials they present can also help you make a case for coverage.
For future reference, if you live in an earthquake-prone area like California or flood-prone area such as Florida, you should strongly consider adding those policies. It’s likely that a powerful storm or flood will damage more than just the foundation of your home. Considering the average flood insurance claim is $30,000, you should definitely consider adding it.;
How Much are You Covered For? Replacement Cost vs Actual Cash Value
Like contents coverage, there are two types of dwelling coverage: replacement cost or actual cash value. Replacement cost will cover the cost to replace your home with materials of like kind and quality. Actual cash value will account for depreciation in the value of items used to construct your home when determining the cost to replace them.
While it may be tempting to go for an actual cash value policy because of the savings on your premium, consider the cost to rebuild and the role your homeowners insurance would play in that. Replacement cost oftentimes provides more complete coverage
If your slab weakens and cracks due to a fire, your home insurer will pay out to have the damage repaired. A standard homeowners policy, otherwise known as an HO-3, covers the above risks on an “open peril” basis. This means that unless the cause of the damage to your slab is excluded in your home insurance policy, it’s covered. A standard homeowners policy pays out for covered structural damages including your foundation up to the dwelling coverage limit stated in your policy. This limit is usually around $250,000.
You will be covered up to the limits of your policy. Most standard homeowners policies begin at around $250,000 of dwelling coverage, but yours can be higher. Foundation repairs usually won’t exceed $100,000 however in the vast majority of cases.
ADDING SUPPLEMENTAL COVERAGE
Your insurer may offer endorsements to your policy for damage caused by earthquakes and floods. If not, you may need separate policies to cover foundation damage from earthquake or floods, as standard home policies typically won’t cover these incidents.
Depending on where you live and your exposure conditions, it may be worth purchasing supplemental insurance for perils not covered by your basic homeowner’s insurance policy. Most major insurance carriers will let you purchase a dwelling foundation rider to cover specific, limited perils, such as damage caused by a burst water pipe or water seepage. Most policies also offer supplemental coverage for damage caused by earthquakes, flooding, and sewer backups. However, foundation damage caused by settling, shifting, or earth movement is generally excluded.
Builder Warranty Instead Of A Homeowners Insurance That Covers Foundation Repairs
a builder’s warranty is designed to cover structural issues such as a foundation. The length of coverage varies from six months to ten years and after a specific period of time, the warranty may be limited to major issues that pose a health or safety risk.
If you’re noticing foundation cracks or lots of movement in your house within a few years of building, you may need to contact the builder. In some cases, they will have a warranty on the house for a given time that will cover foundation damage. If not, you could sue the builder individually to get the foundation fixed and to prevent further damage. Damages or losses due to faulty construction are almost never covered by your insurance.
If your foundation problems are caused by defective construction or the use of poor materials, your homeowner’s insurance won’t be of much help. However, some builders offer foundation warranties that cover labor and materials and structural defects for up to 10 years. If your home is fairly new, check to see if you have a warranty that’s still in effect, and read it over carefully to find out what’s covered.
If you’re buying a home, be sure to have the foundation inspected by a professional. You could save thousands of dollars and a lot of headaches by having any problems identified and addressed before you assume ownership.
Additionally, if you had foundation work done in the past check with the repair company. The best companies stand behind their work.
OTHER PAYMENT OPTIONS
If repairs aren’t covered, and you don’t have enough money in your emergency fund, there are other ways to get help paying your bill. Many foundation repair companies will arrange same-as-cash payment plans and some even offer reduced interest financing options.
Ask Your Agent Before Signing If The Homeowners Insurance Cover Foundation Repairs
Look into the language of your plan itself and ask an agent specifically. If you live in a state with lots of foundational issues, your insurance agent is probably familiar with both the question and the topic. Once you have them on the phone, ask them specific questions like:
- Do they cover the repair of small cracks?
- What foundational repair methods do they cover? And to what extent will insurance cover the costs?
- What has to cause the foundation damage for insurance to step in?
That last question is one you’ll certainly want to ask your agent ahead of time because it’s not a question you would immediately think of when you’re in the middle of fixing your foundation. Sometimes, insurance policies have specific clauses regarding earth movement (earthquakes), floods, and ground cover collapse, but even those aren’t common in policies and are usually added separately with an increase in your premium. So while your insurance provider might cover foundation repair costs in those specific instances, they will not do so for damage caused by general soil compaction and expansion. And most of the time your foundation faces risk because of that more mundane soil movement, which could leave you without financial back-up.
Depending on your house and area, you might consider supplemental coverage, which you can make a bit more tailored by adding a dwelling foundation rider. However, even that will only cover costs for foundation repairs caused by specified events, and they almost always exclude soil compaction and expansion.
Even if the foundational issues aren’t caused by a specifically covered event, talk to your consultant or inspector when they come out to assess any damage. If part of the damage was caused by faulty plumbing, which is generally covered under home insurance plans, your company could be obligated to pay for at least part of the costs.
How to prevent foundation damage
While your home policy might offer you foundation insurance, it’s a whole lot easier to avoid an issue in the first place. Here are our top tips for preventing homeowners foundation issues:
- Get a home inspection before moving in: If you’re in the process of buying a house, don’t skip the home inspection. This is the best way to know if the house’s foundation is well-built and help you avoid a whole host of foundation problems in the future.You can also prevent future problems by having a thorough inspection on the home before moving in. Poor construction is not covered by insurance, so you will want to inspect the foundation before you are responsible for it. If your inspector determines the foundation to be poorly built, you should strongly consider passing on the home.
- Maintain your soil: When your soil gets too dry or too wet, it puts a strain on your foundation. Know your climate and act accordingly. For example, if you live in a drought-prone area, you might want to water the soil around your house periodically. Or if you live in an area that gets a lot of moisture, make sure the soil around your home properly drains water away from your foundation. Water the soil around your foundation during dry seasons and if you see a gap between your foundation and the surrounding soil.
- Check your grading: You want water to drain away from your home when it rains. Aim to have at least six inches of grading away from your house in the ten feet surrounding it.
- Mind your trees: Keep an eye on the trees near your home to prevent their roots from spreading into your foundation. Relocate trees if necessary and, when you plant, make sure you leave ample room around your foundation. Generally, you should allow for one foot of root spreading area for each inch of thickness in the tree’s trunk. You can also install a root guard to prevent the root expansion as some plants might develop large rootballs.
- Clean your gutters: It seems simple, but clogged gutters can lead to water spilling over the edge — and directly onto the soil surrounding your foundation.
- Gutters Downspout: making sure your gutters’ downspouts deposit water away from your house and at least five to ten feet away from your foundation.
- Lay some mulch: You can use mulch around your house to maintain the moisture level and temperature of the surrounding soil, minimizing pressure on your foundation.
- Address cracks promptly: If you notice any cracks in your foundation, don’t wait to get a pro out to assess the severity of the foundation issue. Acting fast can minimize the damage — and the cost to repair it.
Foundation damage warning signs
Any of these warning signs could indicate you have foundation damage and warrant further investigation to avoid further damage to your home:
Cracks: Cracks in the home’s interior sheetrock, chimney, tiles, or home exterior can mean the foundation is cracked, especially if the cracks are horizontal or zig zagged. If the cracks grow or become longer, it could mean the foundation cracks are worsening.
A wet crawl space: This could indicate a crumbling or cracked foundation. If an area is easily flooded, or if a pier and beam foundation is poorly sealed, water can get into the crawl space and cause water damage to a home. Water in a cracked foundation can further weaken an already damaged foundation.
Moisture Level: You want to make sure your home has a good system to deal with water when there are heavy rains, and floods so the moisture is not trapped in your soil. Conversely, if you live in an area prone to drought, you should have a system to periodically water your yard and land to ensure it retains a good level of moisture.
Crumbling of the foundation: This could mean a slow deterioration of the concrete and an eventual failed foundation. The appearance may present a rust-colored residue or a white powder may appear.
Shifting: If walls, floors, ceilings or support posts are warped or leaning, you can use a leveling device to see if they are level. Another indication may be that doors and windows don’t fit properly (for example, they stick when you try to open them, or don’t latch properly anymore). The foundation of the house may be settling or sinking, the concrete on the poured perimeter foundation could be chipping or flaking, counters and cabinets may separate from the wall or nails may pop out of the drywall. The most common cause of foundation trouble is shifting soil. The soil beneath your home moves dynamically based on the moisture (or lack thereof) within.
Bugs: If there are sightings of bugs, this could also mean that there are cracks in the foundation or gaps where the insects can enter the home.
It is best to repair a foundation when it first begins to crack because foundation repairs are easier to make when there is a small crack rather than multiple repairs to be made.
Ignoring foundation problems can lead to major structural problems for your home. Sagging floors can even become dangerous. Foundation repairs require flooring to be removed for a repairman to dig underneath the flooring to make the repair. The more cracks there are, the more flooring has to be removed, and the more extensive (and expensive) the repair becomes. The longer the problem is ignored, the worse it becomes.
If you’re having foundation problems and notice the initial warning signs of foundation damage, get the problem repaired as soon as possible. By addressing these issues early, you could avoid more serious structural problems down the road. If you incur additional damage to your home caused by a foundation issue that isn’t repaired, your insurer could refuse to pay the claims for the repair costs.
Foundation Repair Cost
I have a complete guide about the foundation repair costs in this article, right here.
Foundation Repair Cost
how much does foundation repair cost
Most homeowners will pay around $4,642 to repair foundation issues. Major repairs involving hydraulic piers can cost $10,000 to $15,000, $1,300 and $1,500 per pier, and minor cracks cost as low as $500 and $600 per 10´ crack. The typical homeowner pays between $2,142 and $7,423.
The lowest foundation repair cost are hairline cracks in a basement filled with an injection of epoxy of at least 7,000 PSI for $186, with an average of $264.
|Average Foundation Repair Cost||Cost|
|National Average Cost|
Foundation settlement and cracking can lead to major structural problems for your home. You can repair many of these issues without tearing it out and starting from scratch. It can be a costly job, but the better educated you are about types of foundations, common issues and how best to fix them, the better you can work with your contractor to find a solution you can afford.
Factors That Influence The Calculations Of Foundation Repair Cost
Hourly Rates For Service Technicians For Foundation Repair
Foundation repair professionals typically charge for labor by the hour, with the average rate around $200 per hour. Labor rates can vary due to the geographic area you live in and the cost of living in your city or town.
Permits To Be Requested
Permits are required for foundation repair, and the average cost is between $75 and $150.
The materials used for foundation repairs depend on the cause of the problem. Some common materials can be jacks, epoxy, polyurethane foam, waterproofing items, grout, cement, sealant, hydraulic piers, carbon fiber, steel reinforcement strips, or steel support beams. A professional will tell you what type of material will fix the foundation problem in your home.
Cause of the Issue
The cause of the foundation issue will vary from home to home and so will the method of repair. One reason for the variation depends on the type of foundation you have. The price of the repair can fluctuate due to these factors. Some common causes of foundation problems are cracks, soil erosion, leaks, sinking, shifting, crumbling, and bowing of the foundation. A structural engineer can determine the ultimate cause of the foundation issues.
Type and Severity of the Issue
Foundations that have been poorly maintained or built on compressible or improperly compacted soil can cause significant damage to the home. As the foundation settles and moves, it can cause cracks in walls and doors that no longer easily open and close. If foundation damage isn’t repaired quickly, it can lead to severe issues, and the property may be condemned. Common issues are foundation cracks and leakage, house settling, sinking foundation, and bowing walls. How much it costs to repair these issues will vary according to how severe the damage is and the type of foundation in your home.
Physical Availability And Landscape Modification Requirements
Calculating the cost of foundation repair can be tricky due to the type of damage, repair, and foundation. The overall foundation repair cost for your home will depend on the particular issue and repair method used. Some factors that impact cost include how accessible the foundation is and if landscaping will need to be removed. Some types of foundations are more easily accessible, such as pier and beam and crawl spaces.
Dimensions Of The House
The size of your home will also affect foundation repair costs. The larger the house, the more equipment and materials will be needed for the repairs. Larger homes are typically more expensive to repair since they weigh more and are more structurally complex. If hydraulic piers need to be installed, the larger the house, the more piers will be required to support the foundation.
Soil Stability and Foundation Settlement
Soil contraction, expansion, settlement, and inadequate foundation drainage commonly cause foundation problems. The only way to prevent foundation settlement is to install a deep and stable foundation with steel push piers or helical piers.
Helical piers are steel posts with plates wrapped around them (kind of like giant screws); they’re rotated or twisted into the ground next to your foundation. Once they reach the desired depth, they’re attached to your foundation with a steel bracket. The desired depth is measured by pressure gauge, to ensure the pier can withstand the necessary load capacity
The cost of helical piers will depend on length required to meet the needed depth, how many your foundation needs, and how the excavation (to the bottom of your foundation) is done.
This method transfers the weight of the home from unstable soil to robust supports. Some grounds have a greater shrink-swell potential than others. Soil stability is also related to improper drainage. Insufficient drainage can cause erosion underneath a home, negatively impacting the foundation’s structure and causing it to sink and settle. Every situation and foundation is different, so be sure to ask your foundation repair professional what type of repair is best for the type of soil that’s underneath your home.
The average foundation repair cost is $4,500. This price can fluctuate depending on what type of repair method is used to remedy the foundation damage. These are the most common types of foundation repair methods.
Here below, we will analyze in detail the different methodologies available and how they affect the foundation repair cost.
Foundation Repair Cost According To The Method Utilized
The cause of foundation failure and type of foundation you have will determine your repair options which will influence your total cost. Fixing foundation problems requires the knowledge and experience of a licensed contractor that will keep the foundation at its optimal level of functioning for years to come. The sooner the issues are addressed, the less expensive it will be, and it will also prevent other problems from occurring.
|Foundation Repair Cost By Method Utilized||Average Repair Cost|
|Piering and Underpinning||$1,000 – $3,000 per pier|
|House Leveling||$600 – $1,200|
|Sealing||$2,490 – $4,260|
|Stabilizing||$5,000 – $10,000|
Piering or Basement Underpinning
Underpinning your basement costs $1,000 to $3,000 per pier, including costs to raise the house, excavation, and installation. Piering is placing supports underneath the house at several different points and is considered a permanent solution. Contractors dig underneath the home and place hydraulically lifted piers to support the foundation. An average size house has 8–10 piers.
This is, in most cases, a more expensive repair method as it requires raising the foundation, excavation, and installing hydraulic piers. However, when the installation is performed by certified professionals, it is considered a permanent solution that will not be compromised by further settling of the house or shifting of the earth.
Underpinning requires raising the foundation and installing piers underground. Piers lift and support the concrete foundation. Contractors dig many feet into the ground, place multiple piers at different locations under your foundation, and raise them back into place with hydraulic lifts to stabilize the entire structure.
Also known as underpinning, this involves installing piers underground which lift and support the concrete. For this method, the foundation professional will need to dig many feet into the ground. The pier is then placed under your foundation and raised with hydraulics to lift it back into place and stabilize it. This method requires the use of multiple piers placed at different points.
Foundation Raising, Leveling or Foundation Jacking
The average price paid for foundation jacking falls between $500 and $1,300.
A specialist injects a grout mixture (mudjacking) or more commonly polyurethane foam (slabjacking) beneath the concrete foundation and raises it back to its former level
This process is more budget-friendly, and it doesn’t require as much excavation or equipment. This method is not a permanent fix if the house or soil continues to settle. Ask your foundation repair professional if this repair will work for your home.
This method is affordable and doesn’t demand as much equipment or excavation. However, it is not the right solution for every foundation type. A professional will be able to assess which repair method is best suited for your particular issue. Slabjacking, although effective, could be rendered ineffective if there were any structural shifts to your home or the soil surrounding it.
Slabjacking And Mudjacking Costs For Small Repairs
Slabjacking is good for small repairs. The slab is floated back to its original position by pumping polyurethane foam (slabjacking) or a mixture of sand, cement, fly ash (mudjacking), and other additives through small holes. On average, you’ll pay $150 per drill hole, or 33% of the cost to replace the concrete slab.
Slabjacking process with foam can cure in only one hour. After that the surface can be utilized again by pedestrian traffic.
If the foundation walls are unstable, the most common method of stabilizing is with a carbon fiber mesh. Mesh is applied to the wall with industrial strength epoxy and should cost around $5,000 to $10,000 depending on the extent of the damage.
For this repair method, a professional can use two materials to stabilize the walls: steel and carbon fiber. Steel is used if there are severe shifts, and carbon fiber is an excellent choice if there is minimal bowing in the walls. A foundation repair professional will know which material will work the best for your home. Steel is the more expensive option, but it may be worth it to stabilize the foundation and protect your home.
So it is clear that I will recommend here steel as the most efficient solution.
Steel, though more expensive, may be the most worthwhile investment. For this repair, you need to factor in the cost of repairing the walls, easing the pressure that’s causing them to bow, and installing the support strips to strengthen them.
Use wedge braces and jack posts to restore a wall to vertical alignment. Add the cost of removing and reinstalling wall finish materials, if required. Vertical jacks may be needed to relieve the weight on a load-bearing wall. Add the cost of installing wall straps and shear panels once the wall is plumb.
Apart from this solution, think of avoiding these issues in the future.
Don’t underestimate the importance of grading your property correctly so water runs away from your house. An inexpensive regrading job can solve minor water issues. In addition, don’t allow excessive mulch or plantings to hold water against your foundation. Consult a professional landscaper for guidance
Sealing And Its Influence In The Foundation Repair Cost
Basement sealing and waterproofing can cost between $2,000 and $7,000.
Sealing is a waterproofing solution to combat moisture and drainage issues. There are many facets to this process, and you don’t necessarily need every service done.
If you find yourself with moisture problems in the basement, water is seeping in through the foundation from the soil, drain tile is clogged, downspouts are clogged or broken, or water is pooling around the foundation. One solution is to seal the foundation with a tar-like substance. The dirt around your home will need to be excavated to have access, and then the sealer applied.
There will be a vapor barrier, or vapor diffusor barrier also called, installed in the walls of about 6 to 10 mil and one in the floor of not less than 10 mil, and I recommend up to 20 mil in order to avoid having water in the basement, even after a heavy rain. The fact that the vapor barrier is installed in a crawlspace does not make the marginal foundation repair cost much lower because in a crawlspace, experience says that you always need to workers. This is because there is little space to maneouvre and move tools and materials therein.
Get an inspection from a structural engineer to find out the extent of your repair needs, so that you don’t pay for unnecessary services. For example, applying sealant and installing a waterproof barrier may be all you need to do. If you have poor drainage, you’ll need to make improvements in that area too.
Sealing is a waterproofing fix for drainage and moisture problems. Not every home with a moisture issue will need to have a complete waterproofing system. Always ask your foundation repair professional what will work the best for your home. An inspection from a structural engineer is also a beneficial way to discover the range of needed repairs.
Window Straightening and Wall Repair
This paragraph only applies when the foundation repair involves strengthening or stabilizing a wall and only in that case we add this item into a foundation repair cost estimation.
Windows and their frames will need to be removed before a wall is strengthened, and the wall opening straightened before a new window is put in, at the cost of about $75 per window space. Add the cost of a new framed window, and the exterior wall will also need to be refinished, for approx. $27 per touchup area—patch, caulk, and paint.
Corner Pop Repair Cost
Corner pop is the outside corner of the foundation, cracking on one or both sides. This is not a cause for concern; it is a cosmetic problem. It can be fixed for a few dollars with a bucket of premixed cement and a trowel, costing just a few dollars. It’s a good idea to fix this corner pop, not only for cosmetic reasons but also to keep water out of the cracks, which could cause more severe problems.
Foundation Repair Cost In Relation With The Type Of Issue
Most homeowners will pay around $4,642 to repair foundation issues. Major repairs involving hydraulic piers can cost $10,000 or more, and minor cracks cost as low as $500. The typical homeowner pays between $2,142 and $7,423.
|Foundation Repair Cost According to Type Of Issue||Average Cost|
|Cracks||$250 – $800 per crack|
|Leaks||$2,500 – $5,000|
|Settling / Sinking||$1,300 – $1,500 per pier|
|Bowed Basement Walls||$5,000 – $15,000|
Foundations that have been built on expansive clay, compressible or improperly compacted fill soils or have been poorly maintained can cause serious damage to your house as they settle and move. If you see signs of such damage, like cracks in walls or doors that won’t close properly, it is important to talk to a professional right away. Damaged foundations that are not repaired quickly can lead to irreparable damage and an unsafe structure that could be condemned. The longer you wait, the worse the damage can get, and the costlier it will be to fix.
It’s beneficial to repair any cracks right away to avoid potentially irreversible damage. The longer it takes to repair the damage to the foundation, the more expensive it will be. It’s common for foundation issues to result in cracked walls, settled floors, doors that are difficult to open and close, and even collapsed ceilings and burst pipes.
Even if you repair your foundation quickly, the inside of your home may already be damaged. This could require expensive repair for things like settled floors, extensive wall cracks, burst pipes and collapsed ceilings. Often, in these cases, much of that extra cost could be avoided by acting more quickly.
Foundation Crack Repair
Crack repairs will run you between $250 and $800. Cracks wider than 1/8″ are cause for concern. At this point, you probably have a structural problem and should consult a structural engineer about your options. It could be that your foundation is sinking or the soil is exerting too much pressure on it.
But the bigger question should always be why the crack appeared. This issue needs to be addressed so that more serious problems do not follow. Hairline cracks in the foundation should also be repaired to prevent water from seeping through.
So well, not all foundations problems are serious, but let´s review which are the ones that are necessary to solve and will at the end of the day determine the gross of the foundation repair cost.
If you discover large cracks, consult with a structural engineer about your options. The total cost is usually determined by the direction the cracks are running: horizontally or vertically.
Vertical cracks are deemed harmless, but they should be repaired to not develop into something more serious. They’re typically filled with an epoxy-based or polyurethane-based filler and sealed if needed.
Filler is injected into portholes drilled every 4 to 8 inches along the crack to prevent cracks from growing. The more cracks your foundation has, the more expensive it will be to repair them. Horizontal cracks are a sign of a significant problem. These cracks may require the walls to be reinforced, which can cost upward of $4,000, depending on how many walls need to be repaired and how extensive the issues are.
Smaller Foundation Cracks: A DIY Approach To Save In The Total Foundation Repair Cost
Cracks that do not affect the structure can be fixed easily. However, they should not be ignored because they are throughways for moisture and could lead to structural problems if left alone. This fix will involve injecting either epoxy or polyurethane foam. If it’s wet and leaking, waterproofing will be necessary.
Cracks wider than ⅛ inch cause concern, and hairline cracks should be repaired to prevent water damage.
Smaller repairs like cracks and sealing small leaks can cost about $60 each to DIY, but larger cracks will need to be injected with a flexible material that can shift with the foundation. You can fix the foundation by pumping materials under it or by strengthening the foundation with piers or steel, or a mix of both.
If your foundation wall is cracked, your pricing will depend on the size, width, and severity of the crack(s). For hairline cracks, an epoxy fill is usually the best repair type and it costs approximately $60 per linear foot.
The process is similar if the crack is very small or if it is larger, despite the fact that a larger crack can be an important structural issue. Let´s see:
Epoxy with a minimum bond strength of 7,000 PSI can be injected into cracks to keep them from growing and to keep water out. Injection ports are drilled every 4” to 8” along the crack, through which the epoxy resin is injected. It will cost about $21 per port to set an injection port, flush out debris, and insert the epoxy, so a 10’ crack will need 29 ports drilled and filled at the cost of about $620. If you can measure the length of each crack in your foundation and total them, you’ll have your estimate for foundation injection costs.
Foundation Leak Repair
Fixing foundation leaks costs $2,000 to $7,000. A leak or two can signal a huge problem with drainage and moisture around your home. To fix this issue, you will want to consult a professional about various waterproofing techniques that can better secure the structure. They will probably recommend sealing your foundation.
Foundation leaks signal issues with drainage and moisture around a home. A foundation repair professional will advise you about the best options for your home. It’s common to need waterproof sealing around the foundation if it’s leaking.
To do this, contractors excavate around your foundation, install new tile drains and fill the cracks with cement. They will also coat the structure in sealant and wrap it in a waterproof material. The cost of this repair involves labor, time and equipment, but it will be worth it to have a stable home.
The structure will be coated in sealant and wrapped with waterproof material. This repair involves labor, time, and material costs, but it’s worth the added expense to have a dry and secure home. Water pressure is another issue that causes foundation leaks. The pressure can erode the walls and foundation, causing them to crack and allow water into the house.
Often a few simple fixes will solve a moisture problem. Install diverters to send gutter water at least 10 feet from the foundation. Slope soil away from the foundation. Seal small cracks or gaps around pipes with a concrete-patching compound. Fill larger cracks inside and out with hydraulic cement, which expands as it cures. A structural engineer should inspect any cracks that are wider than a pencil
A Sump Pump Could Be Necessary In The Case Of Water Damage
Too much water pressure can erode the foundation and walls by causing them to crack. If you experience flooding issues every spring or summer, install a sump pump backup to ensure that all water is pumped out of the home at all times, no matter how much water is present.
The installation of a sump pump averages between $490 to $1,170.
House Settling & Sinking Foundation Repair
If your home’s foundation is sinking, a foundation repair professional will raise it to the original height and attach it to piers for approximately $1,000 to $3,000 per unit. Using mud jacking to repair a sinking foundation by pouring concrete beneath the foundation to push it back up costs around $500 to $1,300, depending on the extent of the repair.
You may need a soil report at the cost of $500–$3,000 and permits for $75–$150.
This method involves excavation, raising the foundation, and installing hydraulic piers. When licensed professionals perform this technique, it’s a permanent solution to foundation problems, even if the house continues to settle and the soil shifts. Also called underpinning, this process installs piers under the home that lift and support the concrete foundation. The foundation repair professional will dig around the foundation, install hydraulic piers under the foundation at different points, and raise the foundation to the correct place to stabilize it.
The method used is determined by what is causing the sinking and how badly your house is sinking. A structural engineer report is helpful to answer the question of what is causing the house to sink. This report will cost between $300 and $600, and it can tell you how many piers are needed and where they need to be placed to provide the best support.
This is a major issue which demands immediate attention. Further settling will lead to more damage and instability. You may not be aware that your foundation is doing this until you have cracks and leaks assessed, or you may be able to tell by inspecting early signs of damage. The solution for this problem is to have the foundation leveled.
What makes this complicated is the fact that this problem often signals issues with soil or moisture. These will need to be addressed before using other methods to secure your home, such as employing jacks or replacing piers. Having these issues evaluated by a professional will add to your overall cost.
Bowing Wall Repair: Solution Includes Piers Or Wall Anchors
A wall that has bowed less than 2” can be repaired with carbon fiber strips applied to the wall using industrial strength epoxy for about $5,000.
If, instead, the wall has moved more than 2”, steel strips will need to be installed and anchored to the floor joists for as much as $15,000. Here we can utilize a wall anchor or a helical tieback.
The difference between those repair methods is which one is a better fit for your property. Anchors need to be installed outside the foundation, about 10 feet away from the wall. If you don’t have the room- or something very important is installed at that location- tiebacks are a better option.
This type of damage is a sign of poor soil conditions caused by expansive clay, weak fill or insufficient drainage.
Poor soil conditions caused by insufficient drainage, expansive clay, or weak fill will induce walls to bow. Bowing walls can cause the house to settle, which can also impact the value of your home. Soil testing and assessment are needed to determine the cause of the problem.
Installation Of Piers To Avoid Wall Bowing
Piers may need to be installed depending on how greatly the walls have bowed. A wall that has bowed less than 2 inches can be repaired with reinforcement strips applied to the wall with industrial-strength epoxy and will cost about $5,000. If a wall has curved more than 2 inches, steel reinforcement strips will be used and anchored to the floor joists. This method can cost as much as $15,000.
Wall Anchors Installation
Another potential solution is wall anchors.
A trench is dug around the outside of the house, and anchor plates are lowered into it. Steel connecting rods are inserted into the anchors and attached to a wall plate installed on the inside of the wall with an anchor bolt and washer. The connecting rods are tightened. Over time, continuing to tighten the rods could help the wall to become straight again. Wall anchors cost $400–$600 each.
Carbon Fiber Straps
But if the wall is cracking more significantly, or the wall is bowing slightly, carbon fiber straps are the ideal solution. These cost $600-$700 per strap, and straps should be placed 4 feet apart.
Foundation Repair Cost According To The Type Of Foundation
The type of foundation you have will narrow your repair options and can play a part in determining cost. Basements, for example, will require more extensive excavation than concrete slabs. Homes with crawl spaces or pier and beam structures will likely be easier to access and repair.
If your home has a concrete slab that is settling, it can usually be repaired with sealing and mud jacking. Slabs are typically used in areas where the soil doesn’t move and shift very much. A soil specialist or structural engineer will assist in recommending a different type of stable foundation, which will affect the cost of concrete slab repair. If you need a new foundation, your house will be raised, and the concrete slab will be removed to make room for a new foundation.
Settling slabs can usually be fixed through mudjacking and sealing. However, you might need a different type of supporting structure. Slabs work best in environments where the soil doesn’t shift much. A structural engineer or soil specialist may recommend a deeper, more secure foundation. If you need a new one built, you’ll be paying to have the house raised and the slab removed.
Crawl Space Foundation Repair Cost
Crawl space foundation repair costs $2,000 to $8,000 or more. The biggest problem with a crawl space is standing water that can cause rotting posts, mold, mildew, and sagging floor joists. Standing water is also a mosquito breeding ground. Repairing the crawl space can consist of:
- Drainage systems, such as a French drain, and the installation of a sump pump
- Mold removal and then taking measures to be sure it doesn’t return
- Repair of any dry rot
- The installation of a vapor barrier—an extensive plastic sheet
- Repairing anything the water/moisture damaged
- Removal of any pests who have made it their home
- Removal of wet or mold insulation materials and replacing insulation
- Strengthening or replacing joists
Cleaning, ventilating, insulating, and reinforcing or replacing the joists in the crawl space can cost from $1,500–$15,000. Repairing your crawl space will take care of
- The mold that occurs from standing water can enter your home, and if not the mold itself, the smell of mold.
- Removing and replacing the insulation will help to lower your energy bills.
These may settle, bow and crack. If moisture is causing significant deterioration under your home, a professional may insulate and ventilate the area. If the supports are shifting in the soil and causing the house to sink, you can install adjustable joists in their place to accommodate soil change and level the structure.
Crawl spaces can experience moisture issues that create serious deterioration under a home. The crawl spaces can crack, bow, and settle, which causes the house to sink when the supports shift. A solution to this problem is to install adjustable joists to level the foundation.
Cinder Block and Brick
Cracking and leaking are major issues and can eventually lead to bowing. Cracks run vertically, horizontally, or in steps along their joints. Horizontal cracks can be devastating for home stability. They will need to be filled, and drainage issues will need to be addressed. It is important to stabilize the foundation as soon as possible, using carbon fiber or steel reinforcements, as suggested by your contractor.
Brick and cinder block foundations are prone to cracking, leaking, and eventually bowing. Cracks can run in steps along the joints, vertically, or horizontally. Horizontal cracks can have devastating effects on a home’s stability. Cracks will need to be filled, and any drainage or moisture issues will need to be repaired. Stabilizing the foundation can be done with steel or carbon fiber reinforcements.
If there’s an issue, homeowners will notice vertical and stair-step cracks along the joint lines of cinder blocks and bricks. Horizontal cracks significantly reduce the foundation’s stability and should be looked at ASAP.
Your foundation repair contractor will recommend the best plan of action for repairs.
Smaller Block And Brick Cracks
Cracks in your brick and block foundation can run in steps along the bricks joints, vertically, or horizontally. Repairing the bricks or blocks in brick and beam foundations is achieved by replacing the mortar, only costing a few dollars. But the bigger question should always be why the crack appeared. It’s important to fix and reinforce your foundation as soon as possible.
Basement Foundation Repairs
With a basement, you are likely to see the highest repair costs and the greatest variety of issues. Basements can sink, settle, crack, leak and bow. Often, one of these problems will quickly lead to another, if you don’t fix it fast enough. In most cases, you will need to improve waterproofing, which could require extensive excavation to get to the exterior. You will also have more surface area to seal. If a wall or walls are bowing, you may have to pay for reinforcements as well.
Homes with a basement typically have the most expensive repairs and the widest assortment of issues. It’s common for basements to settle, sink, crack, bow, and leak. Basement problems will quickly lead to other, more serious issues if repairs aren’t made right away. It’s typical for basements to need waterproofing, which involves extensive excavation. If the basement walls are bowing, you will need to get those reinforced.
Homeowners have a love/hate relationship with basements. The extra square footage offers tons of lifestyle solutions, like a playroom or a guest suite. But any weakness like cracking or leaking can lead to larger issues such as bowing, so fixing problems quickly is essential. Basements often need waterproofing, which sometimes leads to significant excavation projects.
Pier and Beam
|FOUNDATION REPAIR COST FOR UNDERPINNING SYSTEMS||COST PER PILE|
|Steel Pier||$950 – $1600|
|Helical Pier||$1400 – $2100|
|Drilled Pier||$700 – $950|
|Pressed Piling||$800 – $1350|
|Cable Lock ST+||$1100 – $1250|
Using this frame of reference, if your home requires 12 support piers you may be looking at $9,500 – $15,000 in repairs.
A house will sit about 18 inches off the ground with a pier and beam foundation. The house rests on piers that are supported by beams.
The crawl space created by the 18” gives access to wiring and plumbing, but soil shifts, or maybe the piers were not placed close enough to each other.
The most common issues with this type of foundation are settling and wood decay caused by soil shifting and moisture.
Wooden beams are usually replaced with steel, and sometimes extra piers are added for additional support. If there are severe soil issues, heavy foundation supports known as pilings will need to be installed deeper under the piers. A sump pump may be installed to combat moisture and decay problems, and the drainage may be adapted to ensure that water is directed away from the house, and a more efficient drainage system will need to be established.
The most likely issues with these are wood decay and settling, which signals that your soil is shifting or responding to moisture. You may need to replace your beams with steel and/or add more piers to the underpinning system. Severe soil issues could demand installation of deep pilings under the piers. To combat moisture, your contractor may adapt your drainage so that water moves away from the structure more directly. They can accomplish this by grading the area so that it slopes away, or they can install a more efficient drain system. They may even suggest installing a sump pump.
Because of the access space, piers can be replaced. Steel piers cost $950–$1,600 to install.
Helical Piers Cost
Helical piers are steel shafts with round or square helix plates—are also known as anchors, piles, or screwpiles. They cost from $1,400 to $2,100 to install.
Supplementary Foundation Repair Costs
There are other additional items that determine the total foundation repair cost with disregard of the type of foundation or damage found. Let´s study them below.
Foundation Inspections And Structural Engineer Reporting
It is a good idea, but that homeowners do not practice, to hire first an independent structural engineer to study the situation and issue a report.
With that report, we can request quotes from several service providers and decide afterwards.
If you have foundation issues, it is worth the extra foundation inspection report fees, ranging from $300 to $600 to address the problem. An engineer has no vested interest in selling you a solution to your problem, so you are more likely to get an unbiased opinion.
If you consult a repair professional, they may want to sell you the method that is easy for them or a high-dollar fix rather than what is right for you. It is better to go to a pro with your structural report in hand and ask them the cost of doing the necessary repair.
The structural engineer will inspect all unconcealed areas of the foundation, crawl space, and basement for signs of water damage, deterioration, distress, cracking, or other damage. Rest assured that a structural engineer is not trying to sell you anything and will only report on visible damage as a trusted and neutral third party.
All homes settle, and the house will shift over the years. Soil contraction and expansion are the leading causes of foundation settling. Soil reports are commonly done before building a house, but you may not have one readily available if your home is older. A geotechnical engineer will inform you of what type of soil you have around your home and what kinds of foundation problems result from it. A soil report can run between $500 and $3,000.
Unforeseen Issues And Physical Obstacles Discovered
Typical issue found is that there is hydrostatic pressure in the basement, due to a sudden water table level increment, the sudden appearance of water in the crawlspace, not reckoned in a previous inspection because it happened after a heavy rain before the start of the foundation repair, a basement drain backing up, a helical pier or a push pier that has to go deeper than expected because the soil composition was not understood well, and many similar issues.
These variables can add an average of $1,000 to $2,500 to the overall project cost.
This happens each time less, because currently there are inspections that enable homeowners and service contractors to know what issues will occur along the way and what can they expect to find.
Is Foundation Repair Cost Covered By Homeowners Insurance?
Most insurance companies consider foundation repair a regular part of home maintenance, so they rarely cover the cost.
It is rare for foundation repair to be covered by your insurance if the cause was normal settlement. However, if your foundation problem was caused by accidental flooding of water from household plumbing, or you’ve purchased special supplemental coverage, you may be in luck.
As a general rule, foundation repair is not covered by insurance; however, there are some instances where it could be. If the plumbing issues caused the foundation damage, that could very well be covered, at least in part. Foundation issues caused by soil compaction or erosion are hardly ever covered by home insurance.
DIY Or Utilizing A Service Provider In Relation To The Total Foundation Repair Cost
When it comes to DIY-ing foundation repair, it should be limited to filling minor cracks. Smaller repairs like filling cracks and sealing small leaks can cost around $60 each. Still, it’s recommended to let a professional fill the larger cracks. The best way to determine if a crack is a sign of a serious structural issue is to consult a structural engineer or a foundation repair contractor. Many times, foundation cracks are more than simply superficial. Shifting and moving soil that results in foundation settling typically forms cracks. Usually, the problem will continue to worsen until a professional is brought in to deal with the shifting or sinking foundation. By hiring a foundation repair professional, you can potentially avoid the expense of foundation replacement.
Saving Money on Foundation Repair Cost
Foundation repair costs can be high, and the additional costs associated with the project can quickly add up. One way to save on foundation repair is to buy the cheapest materials for the project, but there are other ways to save without compromising quality.
Financing The Foundation Repair Cost
Ask about a payment plan. Some foundation contractors may offer a payment plan so you can pay over time instead of one large lump sum.
Often you can arrange financing directly through your contractor. Here are some common options:
- Same-as-cash payment plans
- Reduced interest home improvement loans
- Home equity lines of credit
- Cash-out refinance loans
- Government grants for those that qualify
- Get multiple quotes. Request an estimate and cost breakdowns from at least three reputable foundation repair professionals in your area. Keep in mind that some foundation contractors may be more familiar with your foundation and its unique problems than others might be.
- Request cost-effective options. Ask your foundation contractor or engineer if there are any temporary, cost-effective options. This is beneficial if you’re on a budget and can’t afford the high quote for repairs, and it can help buy you time to save for the project.
- Do preventative maintenance. If you don’t currently have extensive foundation damage, you can keep up on preventative maintenance to avoid costly repairs. Make sure your gutter and drainage system work properly to drain water away from the foundation, mark foundation cracks and monitor them every few months, and call an engineer if you notice any significant signs of foundation damage.
- Prioritize repairs. Ask your foundation contractor if they can tackle the most critical repairs first. That way, you can save and budget for the more minor repairs down the road.
- Waterproof the foundation. If you don’t have foundation issues, it will help if you waterproof the foundation at your first opportunity. This up-front cost could end up saving money on costly foundation repairs in the future.
- Search for free inspections and estimates. Some contractors in your area may offer free inspections and estimates. By gathering and comparing the information provided, you can get a better idea of how to budget and negotiate to get the best prices.
- Don’t wait. If you notice that you need foundation repair, don’t wait. The longer you wait, the more extensive the damage can become, and the more expensive it will be.
Checklist About Foundation Repair Cost: What To Ask The Service Provider?
Asking a professional the right questions about foundation repair costs can minimize miscommunication, save money, and get the desired results. Here are some questions to ask a foundation repair professional.
- Is your company insured?
- How long has your company been in business?
- Who will be doing the foundation repair?
- How long will the project take to complete?
- What type of soil do I have, and how does that impact the issues and repairs?
- Will the crew clean up after the project is completed?
- What will happen to my landscaping?
- Is there a potential for damage to irrigation lines?
- What type of repair method do you recommend, and why is that the best for my house?
- Do you offer a plumbing test to ensure there’s been no damage to the plumbing during the project?
- Do you offer a warranty?
- Will your company get all the required permits for the job?
Parallel Projects To Improve the Foundation Repair Cost Opportunity
Talk to a local landscaper about improving your yard. Not only to add aesthetics and fix any unsightly spots after excavation but also to regrade the property to improve drainage. Professional landscapers will also have ideas to help with the soil quality and offer suggestions for plant life that won’t ruin your foundation.
Symptoms Of Foundations Issues
If you notice cracks in the foundation, crumbling bricks, interior walls that are cracked, and doors that do not open and close smoothly, it’s time to bring in a professional to take a look. A foundation repair professional will know what to look for and how to determine if that crack is a sign of a more significant problem.
All these issues will factor into the cost estimate to repair your foundation. Some problems are not apparent to the naked eye, only being seen after some demolition or digging has taken place, which could add to the estimate once revealed.
Early Signs of Foundation Damage
The only way to know if you have foundation problems is to read the clues your house gives you, such as
- Exterior cracks in the walls
- Horizontal cracks in the foundation
- Water leaking into in your basement, if you have one
- Jagged cracks in the foundation or walls
- Windows or doors that are difficult to open and close
- Uneven floors.
- Drywall cracks.
- Bowing walls
Foundation Issue Signs on Home’s Exterior
Some signs will appear on the exterior of your home, like multiple cracks in the walls or foundation, walls that bulge or bow, cracked or crumbling bricks and concrete, insufficient drainage and pooling water, separation at the corners of doors and windows, and expansive clay or soil issues.
Foundation Issue Signs in Home’s Interior
Some signs of foundation issues visible inside the home that may lead to floor repair are sloping, warped, or bouncing floors. Additional signs are windows and doors that are difficult to open and close, cracks in walls or tile, doorframe gaps, nails popping out of drywall, and gaps between the floor and the wall.
Saving In The Total Foundation Repair Cost Through Proper Maintenance
Future foundation repair cost may be frequently dimished through the execution of a wise preventive maintenance.
Installing a drainage system, adding gutters and downspouts, and addressing grading issues by sloping the landscape away from the foundation
Sealing the Foundation
To have a healthy foundation, keep an eye on the water/sewer lines to make sure they are not leaking. Leaking pipes will eventually cause erosion, which could lead to trouble with the foundation. If the soil becomes saturated and remains so, it will lose its ability to support a structure. It’s easy for water damage to occur and not be found because those pipes are under the house. You usually know if you have such a leak with a higher than average water bill. To be proactive with water lines, you can also have your plumber perform static tests on your water lines.
Just as too much water can cause problems, so can too little. During dry times of the year, make sure the foundation gets watered when you water your lawn. Look for areas where the soil is pulling away from the foundation; those areas will need to be watered.
House Settling Vs. Foundation Problems
All homes will settle, but it’s a prolonged process, and the house itself adjusts as it goes along. Soil expansion and contraction are the two leading causes of settling in homes. Getting a soil report is vital before building your house. A geotechnical engineer can tell you from soil tests if the soil will support a home without problems. However, not all new construction gets a soil report, and if you live in an older house, you have no idea if a soil test was done.
Foundation Inspection Cost
If you suspect there is damage to your foundation or repairs are needed, call a structural engineer to inspect your property. It will cost between $200–$400 for a structural engineer’s report.
They will inspect all visible portions of the foundation, basement, and crawl space for signs of distress, water damage, and deterioration. A report from a structural engineer can be trusted because they aren’t trying to sell you anything. This is not to say that contractors will fix something that isn’t broken, but opinions from uninvolved, knowledgeable parties are always helpful.
Home Resale Value
One of the biggest worries when any foundation issue appears is that it will make your home difficult or impossible to resell.
ou must disclose any work that you have had done on your foundation when it is listed for sale, but if you have had your home stabilized or piered, that could be seen as an asset rather than a drawback.
Your warranty is often transferable and can be passed onto subsequent owners of your property. It is important to notify the buyer of repairs performed on the property and include the conditions of warranty transfer as part of your Seller’s Disclosure.
In areas known to have expansive clay or soil issues, having hydraulic piers installed is a solution to a problem that every homeowner in the area expects to encounter at one time or another. Fixing stability problems is a necessary investment if you want your home to perform well in the market.
Hello, I am Marcio. I am an architect and designer, alma mater is Mackenzie. Retired in theory, but an architect never retires completely. Along with architectural projects, I am a filmmaker and have completed some short documentaries. Filmmaking and design are my passions. In HomeQN I write about home decoration and foundations. The goal is to teach homeowners to DYI as much as possible, and when this is not possible, enable them through knowledge, to evaluate service quotations and choose the best service technicians.