Originally posted 12/17/20, updated 8/6/21
Your foundation does a lot for you. It supports your home, remains stable in changing weather conditions, and repels nasty invaders like insects and vermin. In return, we often ignore it; we spend our money and attention on interior improvements like new furniture or remodeled bathrooms. Or we focus on improving the outside appearance, changing out landscaping or upgrading to an awesome new grill or smoker for hosting backyard bbqs.
The point is your foundation is an essential component, but it’s not a glamorous one. If you have a crawl space, you’ve probably never even been inside it. The old saying, “out of sight, out of mind,” is very accurate… until something is wrong. Then you panic, because it’s been forever since you even looked at your foundation, and who knows! how expensive fixing that is going to be!
I get it. Everyone has a budget, and an unexpected home repair can shred a budget in a surprisingly short time. This is an area where you want the best pricing you can find- while not compromising on quality. Acculevel is a family-owned and operated company based out of Indiana, and we want you to be well-informed about the options before you sign a contract with any contractor or repair company. (We offer financing options to interested customers.)
In this article, we’ll review the primary causes and symptoms of foundation issues, then give you approximate costs. We’ll also provide additional resources you can read or watch, to get a more thorough understanding of the repair process. The more you know about the repairs you need, the more confident you can be when evaluating the estimates from repair companies.
Signs You Have a Foundation Problem
The two most common foundation issues are: your foundation is settling, or the walls are cracked and/or bowing.
If your foundation is settling, you’ll have some (or all) of these symptoms:
- Doors and windows don’t open/close properly or easily. 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.
- Drywall cracks, especially around door and window frames. These are usually the same windows or doors that are “sticking.”
- Cracks in the foundation. This can be misleading; cracks in the foundation don’t automatically equal settling.
Cracked and/or Bowing Walls
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!
Repair Methods and Costs
If your foundation is settling, you will need piers installed to restore stability. At Acculevel, we believe helical piers are the best option for residential foundation repairs. 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.
This is an illustration of installed helical piers.
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.
If the crew is excavating by hand, they cost $1700-$2400 per pier. (All prices include both labor and materials.) If the area can be excavated by machine, they cost $1600-$1950 per pier. In the last 12 months, Acculevel customers have paid an average of $8900 for settling foundation repairs.
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 $50 per linear foot.
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 walls that are bowing more than 2 inches inward will need wall anchors or helical tiebacks. 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. We break those numbers down more in this article. In the past 12 months, the average Acculevel customer who needed wall support paid $6300-$7500.
What’s the Next Step?
If you’re ready to schedule an appointment with a contractor, we have a downloadable list of questions to ask a contractor. This checklist can help you verify that a repair company is- or is not– the one you want to hire. We also strongly encourage you to check the Better Business Bureau before signing a contract, to verify the contractor is reputable, insured, and accredited.
We also invite you to make full use of our foundation repair guide. It’s available on this website for free, and you can bookmark it for future reference. Read just the sections that interest you, read the entire thing from start to finish, or use it to find additional resources that we offer.