All repairs are site specific; therefore it is not possible to provide an actual cost without having assessed each case. However, for the sake of this article we can provide a general cost guideline for the southeastern United States (keep in mind this is being published in January of 2011- prices can fluctuate greatly depending on steel costs and other operational costs). The cost for stabilizing a corner of a house is typically $2,700 to $3,200. A leaning chimney is usually $1,800 to $2,400. In extreme cases costs could be much higher. All assessments and cost proposals by most reputable foundation repair contractors are provided at absolutely no cost to the homeowner.
Variables/Added Foundation Repair Costs:
Repair costs can vary due to several factors. Here are some of the common factors and how to anticipate them:
- Extension Material: Sometimes steel piers (the preferred repair method) end up being installed much deeper than anticipated. Of course, extra pier material can mean additional costs. Ask your estimator to reference other jobs done in the vicinity. If the company has a record of other pier depths, it is helpful in estimating yours, and it certainly shows whether or not the contractor keeps detailed records!
- Deep Excavation: Some homes have foundations that are deeper below ground surface than others. This often causes more excavation and sometimes requires special machinery.
- Footing Accessibility: Along the same lines, any obstacles that require removal for pier installation may add to the foundation repair cost.
- Inadequate Foundation Footing: Sometimes contractors have to pour new concrete footings or strengthen existing footings with steel lintels. Extra material and/or labor may be assessed in these situations.
Choosing a Reputable Foundation Foundation Stabilization Company:
- Ask how long the contractor has been in business specifically doing foundation stabilization work. If the contractor has been in business less than 10 years, it may be advisable to seek a contractor with more experience.
- Ask what the contracting company’s specialty is. If the company does 80% construction and 20% foundation repair, they aren’t likely to have the same experience to offer as a company that does foundation work almost exclusively.
- Ask if your contractor is a franchise and, if so, do research on the franchise. Some franchise companies are just fine. Others may not galvanize their steel products or may use cheaper / less effective repair methods.
- Request professional testimonials and job references.
What You Should Expect for Your Money:
- At best, expect a Lifetime Transferable Warranty on the foundation being stabilized in the area of repair. At least, you should expect a 25 to 50-year warranty. Note that this does not guarantee all visible signs of foundation failure will go away, but it ensures that the area of repair is stabilized permanently.
- A company that will respond to any warranty issues that may arise.
- A Contract Outlining Foundation Repair Cost and Warranties (don’t hire a contractor without one).
- A Knowledgeable Consultant who Can Answer Any Questions You Have
- A Knowledgeable Foreman or Crew Leader Directing the Repairs
What if You Can’t Afford the Cost?
In most circumstances, foundation settlement will not be covered by homeowners insurance. A reputable foundation repair contractor should be able to offer financing.