How Much Does Foundation Crack Repair Cost?
Estimating a foundation crack repair cost depends on the size and severity of the crack. The typical range for foundation crack repair is $250 to $800.
- Typical Range: $250 to $800
There are many different types of foundations, but they all have one thing in common: they are designed to support a building’s weight. A foundation crack can be unsettling for both a homeowner’s peace of mind and a house’s structural integrity.
Foundation repair is a complicated process that requires the experience of a professional. Homeowners trying to estimate a foundation crack repair cost should know that the final total depends on many factors, including the crack size, foundation type, and materials used during the repair.
Factors in Calculating Foundation Crack Repair Cost
Foundation cracks are a common problem in many homes. They can be caused by a variety of factors, including soil movement, settling, and frost heave. But how much does foundation repair cost?
The cost of foundation crack repair is determined by the size of the crack, the type of foundation, the materials used for repair, and several other variables. The following examples of influencing factors can serve as a foundation repair cost calculator to help homeowners estimate the total of an upcoming repair job.
The size of a crack greatly affects the final foundation repair bill. Typically, the larger the crack is, the more expensive it will be to fix.
Hairline cracks are small, shallow, and tend to remain the same size. These are relatively inexpensive to fix and in some cases, don’t need to be repaired at all. Larger, deeper cracks that continue to grow are usually cause for concern and can result in a higher repair price tag.
Because each crack is unique, its cause will also influence the final repair bill. Homeowners can assume the cost to repair small cracks will fall on the lower end of national averages, around $250. The cost to repair larger cracks is more likely to reach the top of the price range at $800.
There are several different types of foundations, all which play a role in determining the type of foundation crack repair needed and how much it will cost. The most common types of foundations include basement, concrete slab, cinder or brick block, crawl space, and pier and beam.
The cost for a full basement crack repair can quickly balloon out of control. Because this type of foundation is expensive to build (it involves the most excavation and construction), it can also be expensive to repair.
A basement crack can affect a large amount of square footage. Bowing walls and leaks due to a basement crack can cause serious damage to not only the foundation walls but also to flooring, plumbing, electrical, drywall, furniture, and even irreplaceable stored family heirlooms.
The good news is that freezing temperatures don’t have the same effects on basement foundations as they do on other types of foundations. With supportive footings built deep into the ground, basement foundations tend to respond better to cold weather.
Concrete slabs are an example of a foundation that is affected by freezing temperatures. In fact, concrete slabs are typically found in homes built in warmer climates. When soil goes through multiple freeze-thaw cycles, the pressure can eventually cause a concrete slab foundation to crack. When it comes to repairing a concrete slab, a process known as mudjacking is typically performed. Compared with other types of foundation repair processes, mudjacking is fairly affordable.
A foundation composed of multiple blocks allows for more compression and expansion than one made from a single slab of concrete. Stair-step cracks are common with this type of foundation. It’s recommended that a cinder block or brick foundation be waterproofed and sealed.
A crawl space is an unfinished, unheated space measuring just a few feet off the ground, with a house built above on short footing. This type of foundation usually features walls of poured concrete or concrete blocks, so cracks aren’t unheard of. If poor drainage is an issue, cracks can quickly become a cause for concern. But cracks can be easier to address since there’s space beneath the home for direct access to problem areas.
Finally, a pier-and-beam foundation keeps a home several feet above ground. This allows for easier access to plumbing and electrical fixtures while creating an open-air crawl space. If a pier-and-beam foundation includes piers made from wood, rot and decay can become a more serious issue than concrete cracks. A pier foundation built with metal, concrete, or brick piers isn’t immune from cracks, but it can provide great support for years longer than wood piers.
The cost to repair a foundation is heavily dependent on the necessary materials. Every material has a different starting cost and a different associated repair process. This leads to a wide range of final repair costs.
Brick is the most affordable with a repair range of $350 to $15,000. Concrete isn’t much more expensive with a repair range of $350 to $20,000. Repairing a foam foundation can be as much as $25,000 while a wood foundation is likely to have a repair bill between $400 and $10,000.
Stone can be an expensive material to repair with a top price tag of $20,000. Cinder block is the most expensive with a range between $600 and $25,000. Steel piers can be pricey depending on the total number of piers needed. Homeowners can expect to pay somewhere between $950 and $19,200 to repair a steel pier foundation.
There are additional foundation repair methods to consider as well. For example, a simple epoxy fill can be used on hairline cracks in a variety of foundation materials and types. The average cost for this repair process is approximately $50 per linear foot.
But for a significant wall crack or a slightly bowed wall, carbon fiber straps can be used to remedy the situation. These cost between $600 and $700 per strap, and one needs to be placed every 4 feet in an affected area.
For severely bowed walls, wall anchors or helical tiebacks are necessary support options. On average, wall support costs between $6,300 and $7,500.
A significant factor in the cost of foundation crack repair is the cost of labor. These costs can vary depending on the company, geographic location, time of year, and the type of repair.
The more labor-intensive a foundation repair is, the higher the labor cost will be. Foundation repairs that require more time or skill will also have a higher labor cost.
To give homeowners an idea of labor costs when it comes to a foundation crack repair, it may help to know the average foundation repair hourly labor charge is $200. Some foundation crack repair jobs can be completed in under a day, keeping labor costs down. But jobs with multiple cracks or repairs that involve additional services like waterproofing can take days to complete. Labor costs associated with jobs involving longer timelines can quickly add up.
Homeowners may think one way to save on labor costs is to simply do the job themselves. The issue with this is that jobs involving more than a bit of filler can require a permit. Although the price of a permit can add an additional $75 to $150 to the repair cost, not having one can open the door to failed building inspections and even fines.
Additional Costs and Considerations
Other costs and considerations, like additional foundation repairs and waterproofing, can have a big impact on the total cost of a foundation repair. When estimating a home foundation repair bill, don’t forget the following possible scenarios.
Additional Foundation Repairs
It’s not uncommon for foundation cracks to signal other foundation issues also in need of repair. While fixing cracks alone doesn’t usually go over $800 in repair costs, additional processes within the job scope can significantly raise a basement foundation repair total.
For example, foundation leak repair can cost as much as $7,300, though homeowners may be able to have this completed for as little as $2,300. Leaks can signal serious drainage and moisture issues. This process usually involves excavating around the foundation, filling any cracks with cement, and installing new tile drains to prevent future leaks.
If a house is settling or sinking, immediate attention is warranted. Restoring a home to its original height is completed by raising it up and securing it with piers. The method used to do this affects the final price, with piers costing between $1,000 and $3,000 per unit. Mudjacking, a process that fills voids within a foundation, is a more affordable option costing between $600 and $1,600.
Finally, bowing walls can also go hand in hand with foundation cracks. Reinforcing walls with carbon fiber or steel can cost between $4,000 and $12,000.
Waterproofing a basement costs between $2,300 and $7,300. Though an expensive construction pill to swallow, waterproofing combats moisture and drainage issues that can cause excessively expensive repair bills on their own.
It should be noted that waterproofing or foundation sealing doesn’t need to be completed in every scenario. To avoid unnecessary services and expenses, homeowners should speak to a structural engineer to see if their unique scenario warrants waterproofing.
Types of Foundation Crack Repairs
Foundations can develop a variety of issues as they age. While it’s not unheard of for foundations to sink due to poor construction or bad weather, it’s more likely to hear of foundation cracks. Luckily, most foundation cracks can be repaired. But one thing that helps speed up the repair process is knowing what type of crack is present. Some of the most common are listed below.
Shrinkage cracks are common and typically harmless types of hairline cracks that often develop within the first month or two after a foundation was initially poured. As the concrete dries, small cracks referred to as shrinkage cracks may appear.
A good indicator of a shrinkage crack is the timing and size. If a small crack less than ⅛ inch in width develops within months of a foundation being poured, it’s likely of no concern. Another sign that a shrinkage crack isn’t paving the road to more serious foundation disasters is that it doesn’t increase in width or length as time goes on.
For peace of mind, homeowners can still seek a professional evaluation of a shrinkage crack. And just because these cracks are unlikely to cause damage doesn’t mean they can’t be repaired for aesthetic reasons. It’s advised to wait several months before fixing shrinkage cracks to make sure more don’t pop up after an initial curing.
As the name suggests, vertical cracks appear in an up-and-down design. It’s important to note that vertical cracks can have a slight angle to them, though. Most professionals agree that vertical cracks are typically harmless and are just extensions of common shrinkage cracks. Chances are nearly every home with a poured foundation has a vertical crack or two.
Concrete can take quite a bit of compression. But when an outside force causes tension, such as shifting soil, vertical cracks are a common result.
Vertical cracks can also appear in a foundation after overexposure to moisture. They’re a common type of crack, but they’re especially prominent in homes built with green wood or other inappropriate materials for supports.
Stair-step cracks are common along mortar lines in concrete-block or brick-based foundations. They’re typically easier to identify than other cracks because of their resemblance to a side view of a staircase. They are technically a combination of horizontal and vertical cracks.
Stair-step cracks tend to be a result of settling, or when a portion of a home’s foundation remains level and another part shifts up or down.
Unfortunately, stair-step cracks can be serious, depending on the location of the cracks. For example, stair-step cracks following along the mortar joints between cinder blocks in a foundation wall do not pose any structural issues. They only need to be refilled.
But if a stair-step crack is located elsewhere, a professional should be called in to evaluate the crack for other signs of potential structural issues.
Horizontal cracks are the most serious type of foundation crack. Just as the name suggests, horizontal cracks are cracks that run parallel to a home’s floor or ceiling. When located in a home’s foundation, it means the foundation wall is starting to bow inward. Foundations made of concrete and brick tend to see horizontal cracks more frequently than other types.
The cause of horizontal cracks is typically backfilled soil along the exterior of a foundation that’s starting to become overly compressed. Heavy rains followed by a deep freeze can also cause horizontal cracks. This combination of moisture and low temperatures creates hydrostatic pressure against the foundation. Whether due to excessive soil buildup or freezing temps after a storm, horizontal cracks are a result of lateral pressure forcing a foundation wall to bow.
Horizontal cracks should be addressed immediately. They won’t resolve on their own, and unlike other types of cracks, simply filling them isn’t enough to prevent further damage to a home’s foundation and structure.
Do I Need Foundation Crack Repair?
Not all foundation cracks need to be repaired. But if left alone, cracks can worsen and lead to other serious issues, like water damage and structural issues. Homeowners should know the following signs that signal an unavoidable foundation crack repair.
A cracked foundation can be simple and inexpensive to repair. But once water starts to seep through a crack, the potential for severe damage and higher repair costs goes up.
It’s normal for basements and crawl spaces to be damp; this is because they’re located below yard level. But when measurable water begins to seep through a foundation crack, this increases the risk of mold or mildew growth.
A crack with water seepage should be sealed immediately. This can be done by a homeowner, but know that it will only be a temporary fix to prevent additional water from entering the home. The cause of the crack will still need to be addressed, especially if the crack has been growing in size.
Another proactive measure homeowners can take when dealing with water seepage is to keep water away from the foundation wall. This can be accomplished by removing foundation plantings, adding soil to create an additional slope away from the foundation, or by installing additional gutters and downspouts.
Crack Wider Than ⅛ Inch
Hairline cracks are typically harmless to a foundation’s strength and integrity. They’re often called shrinkage cracks because they’re a result of drying concrete after an initial foundation pour. Hairline cracks are typically defined as those measuring less than ⅛-inch wide.
But when it comes to cracks measuring more than ⅛-inch wide, repair is almost certainly necessary. It’s recommended that a foundation contractor examine any crack wider than ⅛ inch not only for additional structural problems but to pinpoint the cause of the crack. Repairing not only the crack but also the reason behind it can help prevent future foundation issues.
A crack that is either getting deeper, longer, or wider is growing. A foundation crack will never fix itself, but one that is expanding is a sure sign that more serious problems could be on the way.
To avoid water damage or damage to a home’s structural integrity, have an expanding crack evaluated as soon as possible. Even if the growth is happening slowly, the cause behind it needs to be addressed.
Keep in mind that repairing an expanding crack is nothing more than an aesthetic improvement. The crack will continue to grow, and the cause behind the original crack can lead to additional cracks as well. This not only increases the risk of structural damage but almost certainly increases the foundation repair cost total.
Steel is used to reinforce foundation walls. But when a foundation is built into clay, the soil can swell with moisture. This increases the hydrostatic pressure on the foundation wall, pushing it inward and causing a bulging appearance from the inside.
A foundation crack in a bulging wall is a recipe for structural disaster. A professional contractor should always be consulted in this scenario. If a crack is located in a wall, homeowners can test for bulging that may not be visible to the naked eye by holding a straight edge along the wall (the longer, the better). This will make even slight bulges obvious and inform a homeowner of potential structural issues.
Diagonal and vertical cracks can be the result of normal foundation settling. But when it comes to horizontal cracks, a professional evaluation (and likely a repair) is needed as soon as possible. This is because, like bulging foundations, horizontal cracks are caused by hydrostatic pressure. This means the pressure, problems, and potential for serious damage are only likely to increase.
A horizontal crack can be a quick and fairly inexpensive repair in some scenarios. But it depends on how the foundation will be stabilized. Options include excavation, hydraulic lifting, or even underpinning the wall with steel. It’s difficult to even estimate the cost of these repair options without knowing the repair materials and size of the repair area. One tip for homeowners looking to save on foundation crack repair is to address them sooner than later, as repairs tend to get more expensive the longer a crack goes untouched.
A foundation crack that travels in multiple directions should never be ignored. In fact, a soil test may need to be performed when this type of crack is present to accurately assess the situation and determine the proper remedy. These types of cracks are more commonly known as stair-step cracks and are especially dangerous when they follow mortar joints.
A multidirectional crack is the result of continuously changing pressure on a foundation due to moving soil. While foundations are built to withstand some pressure from shifting soil, they do have their limits. A multidirectional crack suggests a foundation is not only being pushed past its limit multiple times but also from multiple angles.
Foundation Crack Repair: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
Foundation cracks are one of the most common problems that homeowners have to deal with. Often caused by excessive moisture, they’re not an issue that goes away voluntarily. Foundation cracks should be repaired as soon as possible to avoid bigger problems down the line like water damage and structural instability.The good news is that they are an affordable problem to fix, falling within a range of $250 to $800.
There are two ways to fix a foundation crack: hire a professional or take a DIY approach. While a DIY repair may save the homeowner money initially, it’s likely that the issue will prevail and a professional will still need to be consulted. Foundation crack repair is not an easy DIY job and it requires specific skills and tools that not everyone has access to. It should also be noted that fixing the crack isn’t the same as fixing what’s causing the crack. DIY-ing a foundation repair is often a temporary fix and the assistance of a professional will most likely be needed, usually sooner than later.
Even if the homeowner chooses to DIY their foundation crack repair, they can still call a professional for an inspection. When one crack is visible, there could be other hidden cracks or even other related issues that may go unnoticed without the trained eye of a professional. When it comes to the structural integrity of a home, it’s vital to make sure that there are no unseen issues that could eventually result in the home collapsing.
Foundation cracks can be a serious issue, and they should be addressed and repaired as soon as possible. Hiring a professional to do the repair is the best option for most homeowners unless they have foundation repair experience. Outsourcing foundation work is the best way to ensure this critical repair is taken care of correctly.
How to Save Money on Foundation Crack Repair Cost
While taking a DIY approach may save money initially, repair by an inexperienced homeowner is likely not going to solve the problem. Luckily, there are several ways to save money on foundation crack repair. One of the best ways to save on foundation crack repair is to avoid a repair for as long as possible with proper maintenance. Here are a few tips to consider.
- Understand what causes foundation cracks, like weather changes. This knowledge can help homeowners know when to spend a little extra time searching for foundation cracks. The earlier a crack is spotted, the more affordable it can be to repair.
- Find a contractor who will do the work at a discounted rate. This may be easier to accomplish if a group of neighbors agree to receive foundation repair services within a certain time window for a negotiated rate.
- Set up a foundation watering system to minimize soil movement that causes foundation stress and cracks.
- During a heavy rain, explore a home’s perimeter in search of areas where water struggles to flow away. Add gutters or drainage systems where necessary.
- Install a root barrier system to reduce the chances of trees and shrubs from disrupting a home’s foundation.
Questions to Ask About Foundation Crack Repair
Choosing a foundation repair contractor can be a stressful process. Asking the right questions is crucial to finding a professional with the right experience and skill set to repair a cracked foundation. Speaking to more than one foundation repair contractor is always recommended. Here are some questions homeowners can ask before hiring a professional for foundation crack repair services.
- How long have you been in business?
- What type of foundation crack repair services do you offer?
- What type of underpinning or support do you use?
- Are you licensed and insured?
- Do you offer a warranty or service agreement?
- Does my foundation crack really need to be repaired?
- What will happen if I ignore the crack in my foundation?
- Do you need to raise my home, and if so, how much?
- What are your rates, and what services does a foundation repair cost quote include?
- Do you need to pull a permit for foundation repair?
- Is an engineer report required for my foundation repair job?
- Do you have any references?
- How large is your crew, and what type of training have they received?
- Do you subcontract any of your foundation repair work?
- How long will it take to complete the work, and when can you start?
- Do you test the plumbing after a foundation repair?
- If voids are created after raising my home’s foundation, do you fill them?
- How do you protect my landscape, and what does cleanup entail?
When trying to estimate foundation crack repair cost, homeowners should keep in mind that there are several variables to consider. But despite the potential price tag, a homeowner should always consult a professional when dealing with a cracked foundation to prevent serious issues, such as water seeping into the house or the house becoming structurally unsound.
Homeowners with additional questions about repairing a cracked foundation can explore the following FAQ section.
Q. Do all foundation cracks need to be repaired?
Spotting a foundation crack can create instant anxiety in a homeowner. But the good news is that not all foundation cracks need to be repaired. As a general rule of thumb, foundation cracks that are less than ⅛-inch wide are not a cause for concern.
But if the crack is wider than ⅛ inch, wider at one end, or getting bigger with time, it’s important to call in a professional quickly to assess the situation as soon as possible.
Q. How big a deal are foundation cracks?
While not all cracks are reason for concern, some should be taken very seriously. The cause and size of a foundation crack can often point to the proper response. For example, a large crack caused suddenly by a natural disaster likely warrants a faster response than a slowly developing hairline crack from soil creep.
If a foundation crack doesn’t grow over time, presents no vertical displacement, and doesn’t admit water, it’s likely not a cause for concern. Homeowners should remember though that foundation crack evaluations should never be postponed, and a professional opinion never hurts and can even save a lot of money in the long run.
Q. What size foundation cracks are bad?
Most foundation cracks are so small that they go unnoticed. However, larger foundation cracks can cause serious water and structural issues for a home. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) states that any foundation crack exceeding ¼ inch in width should be repaired. Homeowners should keep in mind that state regulators may have different standards than the NAHB.
Q. Can a house collapse from foundation issues?
Yes, foundation issues can cause a house to collapse. But this is rare, and structural issues tend to take years to develop.
To prevent a structural disaster, homeowners should keep an eye out for signs of foundation issues, like uneven flooring, uneven doors and windows, or cracked walls. If multiple signs of foundation issues are present, a homeowner should call for a professional evaluation as soon as possible.
Q. How can I tell if a crack is structural?
A structural foundation crack can weaken a home’s structural integrity, whereas a nonstructural crack may not cause any serious issues at all.
To tell the difference, closely inspect the crack in question. A typical structural crack tends to be vertical, deep, and measure more than ⅛ inch in width. These may also be described as stair-step cracks and tend to be found on foundation slabs or beams.
A nonstructural crack is likely to be horizontal (though it can be vertical or diagonal) and narrow (1 to 2 millimeters wide). Nonstructural cracks tend to be present on plaster, near doors, or by window edges. They are also typically shallow.
Q. Can I live in a house while the foundation is being repaired?
Yes, homeowners can usually live in a home while the foundation is being repaired. Foundation repairs are surprisingly quick and can sometimes be completed in a single day. Homeowners may want to vacate their homes during a foundation repair if it’s going to be an extended process, but that’s usually not a requirement.