Most homeowners expect to replace parts of their homes, especially if they own the home for a number of years.
New roof? Pretty common. Even though composite shingles last longer than ever, eventually they will give way to rain and sun and start leaking.
New windows? Yep. As energy costs rise and technology improves it makes more and more sense to replace old windows with energy-efficient models.
New foundation? Whoa, wait a minute. The foundation is, well, the foundation. Why would it ever need to be replaced? And, how much would that cost?
Although not typical, it is not uncommon for a foundation to suffer serious enough damage that it requires replacement. It’s a big job but is often the best way to ensure the stability and longevity of a home.
Understanding Foundation Replacement Costs
Not every incidence of foundation damage requires that the foundation be replaced – far from it. Much foundation damage, even relatively serious cases, can be repaired.
A dropped or sunken foundation can be raised back to level and stabilized by installing steel hydraulic push piers in number and location determined through the use of engineering data.
However, if foundation damage is serious and widespread enough, the entire foundation may be compromised and replacing it is the only way to stabilize the home.
In theory, replacing a foundation is a fairly simple process. The house is either supported in place or raised and stabilized, the old foundation is demolished and removed and a new one is built in place. The home then sits on the new foundation.
In practice, of course, things aren’t quite so simple. For example, the location of the home plays a significant part in determining the approach and cost of foundation replacement. A home on a city street may not allow access to heavy equipment and may not have room on the property for soil from excavation and demolition debris.
Such factors will also affect the cost of foundation replacement. For example, a large, two- or three-story home will require far more support than a small ranch house to keep it stable during the replacement process. Additionally, basement improvements such as windows and doors, basement beam replacement and basement waterproofing will add to the cost.
The process of replacing a foundation begins with supporting the house, using beams to spread the load which rest on support columns called “cribbing.” Cribbing is built by cross-hatching stout wood beams into square towers that rise from the base of the excavation and hold the house securely in place.
Once the house has been supported, the foundation is excavated to create room for demolition and construction. Typically, the foundation is demolished completely but it can also be removed in sections if space or other circumstances dictate.
After the debris has been cleared, new footings are poured and forms are set for pouring foundation walls. When the new foundation walls have cured, the cribbing and beams are removed and the house is attached to a new, stable and sturdy foundation.
As should be obvious, foundation replacement is not a small undertaking and it is not a low-cost option but it will be less expensive than relocating the home to a new foundation or completely rebuilding. Foundation replacement in smaller homes may cost in the $30 – 50,000 range, depending on the variables mentioned earlier. A large home or one with a large number of constraints could run to more than $100,000. Not inexpensive but a lot less than a new house.
It should also be a given that a homeowner in need of foundation replacement should hire the most competent and experienced foundation repair contractor possible to make sure the job is done right, on time and on budget. At U.S. Waterproofing, our foundation experts use engineering data and the latest construction techniques to repair and replace foundations and have the added capability of ensuring that the new foundation will be waterproof for years to come. Why not ask for our free advice?
If you’d like to know more about foundation replacement costs, please post your questions in the Comments box below.