How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Sinking Foundation: Understanding the Costs and Solutions

June 9, 2023

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No homeowner wants to hear that their house has a sinking foundation! One reason is that foundation fixes are sometimes the most expensive repair bill you might face. Two, weak foundations risk secondary damage, including wall cracks, roof leaks, and more.

The cost to fix a sinking foundation might run anywhere from $500 to $10,000 or more, while most homeowners might expect to pay around $4,000. Addressing extensive cracks, needed waterproofing, or bowing basement walls adds to these costs.

If you’re curious about this wide range of foundation repair price points, keep reading! Knowing more about your repair options can help you better understand their expected costs. Reviewing foundation damage signs can also mean avoiding otherwise unnecessary costs.

sinking foundation

What Is the Average Sinking Foundation Repair Cost?

As with any home repair project, your sinking foundation repair costs depend on your contractor’s repair method. They will usually decide on that method based on the foundation’s construction and damage extent. Only a foundation repair contractor near you can determine your property’s condition and needed fixes.

In the meantime, note some common repair methods and average prices for residential foundation repair. Above all, remember that these are just national averages! Your costs will be higher or lower depending on local labor rates, your home’s size, and the like.

Foundation crack repair

Minor cracks in basement walls or concrete slabs might cost $250 to $800 for repairs, on average. For concrete slabs, a contractor might need to pull up your home’s flooring. Hiring a subcontractor to remove and then replace some flooring materials add to those costs!

Also, note that these prices vary according to a crack’s size, including length and depth. A contractor might need to chip away some broken pieces around a crack to fill it completely. Added patching materials and labor then mean increased repair costs.

Foundation leak repair

Leak repair is more extensive and involved than crack repair. In many cases, a repair contractor might need to seal the entire foundation after patching cracks. Also, they might install a drainage system around the foundation, to direct moisture away. Along with needed waterproofing, foundation leak repair might run $2000 to $7000.

Foundation underpinning

Underpinning starts with excavations around damaged areas. Next, a contractor inserts specialty pins into the ground and attaches them to the damaged concrete. Then, they lift or raise those pins with specialty hydraulic equipment.

In most cases, a contractor might charge $1000 to $3000 per pin. In turn, your final costs depend on how many pins your property needs for proper fixes. Also, added services such as patching cracks or waterproofing increase those costs.

Bowing foundation repairs

Homeowners often have a love-hate relationship with basements! They offer ample storage, and you can finish the space to create a rec room or additional bedroom. However, basements are also famous for cracks, leaks, and water damage.

As basement walls absorb moisture from surrounding soil or that’s trapped in the home, they might soften. However, remember that basement walls hold up a home’s weight. As a result, those walls might eventually start to bow inward.

To address this issue, contractors might attach carbon fiber or other specialty straps to those walls. These straps help push the walls back to a level position. Also, they provide added support for the home’s weight, keeping those walls in place.

Most contractors charge anywhere from $1000 to $4000 or more per strap. Consequently, your final costs depend on how many your contractor uses for needed repairs. Additionally, they might recommend basement waterproofing, to protect those fixes.

Pier and beam repairs

Pier and beam repairs might range anywhere from $700 to over $25,000 on average! Why so much discrepancy in pricing? First, a contractor might only need to patch existing materials or might need to replace piers and beams completely. Second, many contractors suggest waterproofing options for protecting that foundation after repairs.

Along with minor patching, a contractor might suggest shimming for your home’s foundation. For this process, a contractor pounds wedge-shaped pieces between piers and beams. Those wedges help prop up the structure and keep it in position. A contractor might charge a few hundred dollars per shim.

However, your contractor might need to replace crumbling piers or broken beams outright. While new beams and piers might run thousands of dollars, they provide a sturdy foundation under your home. Consequently, they might be the last foundation repair cost you face over the lifetime of home ownership.

Full-scale foundation replacement

In extreme cases, your contractor might recommend full-scale foundation replacement. This process involves lifting a home to remove the existing foundation. Next, your contractor pours a new foundation in its place. As you might imagine, this project typically costs anywhere from $20,000 to over $100,000!

How Serious Is a Sinking Foundation?

When reviewing these costs, a homeowner might wonder, how serious is a sinking foundation? The short answer is that foundation damage is very serious, and homeowners should never avoid needed fixes. Check out some reasons why you’ll want to contact a repair company at the first sign of foundation damage:

  • A home’s framing, drywall, and other materials absorb moisture seeping in through foundation cracks. In turn, your home might soon suffer wood rot, framing cracks, water damaged and cracked drywall, and mold growth.
  • Never forget that a foundation holds up a home’s weight. Once the foundation weakens, the home can shift. This pulls on solid materials including framing, flooring, and even the roof, risking damage.
  • A sinking home also pulls plumbing pipes out of place. Consequently, your home might soon suffer clogs, leaks, and other damage.
  • A poor-quality foundation affects property values. In some cases, your home might not pass an inspection, making it difficult to sell. Additionally, you might lose equity on your property rather than build that equity over the years.

Above all, remember that foundation issues often get more costly to address the longer you put them off! Cracks tend to grow and deepen while basement walls only bow more prominently over time. To keep repair costs as low as possible, schedule fixes at the first sign of damage.

basement foundation repair lafayette

Will My House Collapse With Foundation Issues?

Rarely does a home outright collapse on a weak foundation. In most cases, a home will start to shift to one side. This shifting and settling typically means cracks along interior and exterior surfaces and materials. Cracks risk water damage, mold, and other issues, as said.

Also, a sinking home pulls door and window frames out of alignment. Consequently, you might struggle to close and lock them properly and securely. Damaged subflooring can also mean cracked floorboards, which risk tripping hazards.

Additionally, note that bowing basement walls do risk collapsing! This exposes your home’s interior to the elements and means costly repairs. As a result, it’s best to schedule needed fixes quickly rather than assuming you can just “live with” a damaged foundation.

How Do You Know Your Foundation is Sinking?

A full-scale inspection is the best way to determine your property’s condition from the foundation up! An inspector can check for signs of damage and note the soil’s condition overall. They can determine if the home is sinking, needs minor foundation repair, or no repairs at all.

Between regular inspections, homeowners should be aware of cracks inside and outside the home. Stair-step cracks between bricks are especially dangerous as they might indicate shifting. Cracks large enough to slide a coin into also need immediate attention.

Also, homeowners also tend to think that mold, mildew, and musty odors are normal, especially for basements. This simply isn’t true! A watertight home in good condition should be dry throughout. If you’ve ruled out plumbing leaks and other issues, call a foundation repair contractor. They can check if foundation cracks are to blame for water-related problems on your property or if you require foundation leveling.

How Do I Know If My House Has Structural Problems?

Surface cracks are a sure sign that your home is settling and sinking and might have structural problems. You might also notice bulging walls and popped drywall nails or separation between drywall sheets. Sagging or sloping floors and a sagging roof can also mean structural issues. Also, check for bulging or “rippling” shingles or tiles.

Additionally, property owners might check the soil around a house for signs of structural damage. For instance, soil pushing away from a home can mean settling and sinking. As the home settles, it pushes or displaces that soil.

Lastly, remember that surfaces around a home should be relatively level and even. If you notice gaps around windows or doors that get larger along one side or similar issues, this can signal structural problems. Artwork and shelves that never stay level can also indicate a sinking home. In these, call a foundation repair contractor and schedule an inspection.

Structurally Longevity of Houses

A house might last a century or more, depending on its construction, surrounding soil conditions, weather, and so on. However, some materials have shorter lifespans than others. For instance, you might need to start replacing wood framing pieces once they’ve reached 50 to 60 years. Termites, carpenter ants, and mold all shorten wood’s lifespan.

Brick might last 50 to 60 years or more. After that time, mortar and other materials begin to break down so that cracks soon form. Also, consistent exposure to damp weather can soften brick prematurely, risking early damage.

Concrete should last 100 years or more if constructed properly. In turn, you don’t want to assume that a home a few decades old will automatically have foundation issues! However, poor-quality installation and excess moisture in the soil mean premature breakdown. Moreover, the additional weight on a home can mean undue pressure on the concrete and early breakdown.

Lastly, note that various building materials have different lifespans depending on their manufacturer. For instance, high-quality carpeting might last 20 years before it wears down. On the other hand, low-grade carpets often show dirt and wear after only 5 years.

In the same way, some high-end laminate or vinyl floors might last 15, 20, or 25 years before they break down and degrade. Lower-quality vinyl or linoleum might only last a few years. Poor-quality installation, such as a contractor not using the right adhesives, can also shorten their lifespan.

Should You Buy a House With a Sinking Foundation?

There is no “right or wrong” answer about buying a house with any issues, including a sinking foundation. In fact, property flippers often specialize in homes needing extensive repairs! Flippers or developers invest in needed fixes and then sell that home for profit.

In turn, potential homebuyers should simply consider the damage extent, repair costs, and other vital details. Then, make an informed decision about that house! For instance, can you afford the repairs and is the home’s price low enough to offset those costs? Does the home offer other features you need, such as a great location and excellent square footage?

On the other hand, never assume you can buy a damaged home and just ignore needed foundation repairs. Those cracks, leaks, shifting, and other issues only get worse, as said. They also risk secondary damage, such as mold and wood rot. These issues can mean a home that’s simply not safe for you and your family.

Remember that a real estate agent or property appraiser can offer advice specific to any property. They can alert you to needed repairs and how that damage affects a home’s value. You can then determine if you should consider buying a house with a sinking foundation.

Lafayette Foundation Repair & Waterproofing Pros is happy to provide you with this information about a sinking foundation. Hopefully, you found it useful! Also, if you’re in the area, call our foundation repair contractors. We offer free inspections and all the foundation fixes your property needs to have done. We stand behind our work with a full-scale, written guarantee. For more information about foundation repairs and waterproofing, contact us today.


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