If you’re in search of accurate foundation installation costs, you’ve come to the right place.
Here’s what you’ll learn by the end of this article:
- The national average of foundation installation
- Where your money goes when building a concrete foundation
- Square foot estimates for building a foundation
- How to save money when building your foundation
Your home’s foundation bears the heavy load of your home and resists the pressure of soil around it. It’s what gives your house its structure and strength, so it’s one of the most critical features of your home when it comes to construction.
The cost of installing a house foundation falls within a wide range depending on the type, square footage, and location. It’s often tricky to get an accurate cost estimate for installation because of these value factors.
We’re going to go over the average concrete foundation cost below and discuss some of the variances you can expect to see for your particular project.
We will also go over the types of foundation, some estimates per square foot of each, and how to save money on your foundation build.
Table of Contents
- What Does It Cost To Install A New Foundation?
- What Costs Are Involved With New Foundations?
- Cost Calculator by Foundation Type & Square Foot
- What Does it Cost To Lift A House And Replace the Foundation?
- How To Save Money With Foundation Installation?
- Are There Any Red Flags When Installing A New Foundation?
What Does It Cost To Install A New Foundation?
The national average for installing a home foundation is approximately $12,000. The range is between $5,000 and $40,000 even for the average home’s foundation build.
This pricing is for a 1,200 square foot home with a regular, rectangular foundation. Doubling the home’s size increases the average cost to $25,000 and the range from $10,000 to $80,000.
These numbers are approximate and may not accurately represent the cost of your foundation build. You need to remember that your price will depend on several factors, including foundation size and type.
It’s useful to have an average to get a roundabout number, but we will break down the cost further below to give you more accurate pricing for your foundation project.
Cost of Concrete Slab Foundation
Concrete slabs are the simplest foundation type to install. A builder will construct a frame on your property and then pour concrete inside the frame directly on the ground.
This installation is called “slab on grade.” These foundations don’t offer any basement or crawlspace area under your home, but they are the least likely to cause water problems in your house. They can make foundation repairs challenging, and they don’t suit all areas and climates well.
You’ll be deciding between a monolithic slab and a stem wall slab if you go this route. Accurate pricing is below for both types.
“Monolithic” translates to “one stone,” and this slab type gets constructed in a single pour. Your entire foundation and footings are made of one sheet of concrete. Its simplicity usually makes this the cheapest foundation to install.
Monolithic slabs average $8,000 to install. They can be as low as $4,000 and as high as $25,000 for huge slabs in sub-optimal soil conditions.
Stem Wall Slab
A stem wall slab is constructed in two pours. Your footings and concrete walls are poured first, and then the slab is poured inside. These are more labor-intensive and will cost more on average.
You can expect to pay $12,000 on average for these foundations. Your range will be between $7,500 and $20,000 depending on size and soil.
Cost of Pier and Beam Foundation
Pier and beam foundations are constructed by pouring small concrete footings in the ground and then mounting vertical beams on them to support your home. Your home will sit above an empty crawlspace area.
These foundations are best suited for uneven plots or areas prone to flooding. Moisture can build up underneath, so concrete block walls are usually treated with a vapor barrier or waterproof sealer.
Pier and beam foundation cost depends mostly on the number of vertical beams needed. Each additional support will add to your total cost.
Your project cost will increase quite a bit if you have an irregularly shaped house or need to add support in areas where the soil isn’t ideal for building.
The average cost for a standard rectangular house on good soil is $12,000. You can pay as little as $7,500, but the above factors can quickly move your cost up to $25,000.
Be sure to reach out to one of our professionals if you want to get an exact quote for your own home.
Cost of Crawl Space Foundation
Crawl space foundations add storage space and protection from the ground, but they are labor-intensive and require a good deal of excavating.
Concrete block walls are built around the area before support columns are installed throughout the space.
The average cost of this type of block foundation is $15,000. Installation can be as cheap as $7,500 for a small home or as expensive as $25,000 for larger homes.
The cost of additional supports underneath your house for added stability increases the cost.
Most crawl spaces are fitted with a vapor barrier or some protection from soil moisture and subsequent mold growth. Vapor barrier installation is recommended and will add between $1,250 and $4,000 to your build on average.
Cost of Full Basement Foundation
Full basements offer the most space below your home and can even add living space. They’re constructed with concrete block walls around your building space, a concrete slab, and support columns.
Basements are the most expensive foundation to install because they need the most excavation. Daylight basements will be less costly than walkout basements due to the need for less soil removal.
Basements are usually fitted with multiple waterproofing products because they’re the most exposed to soil moisture, runoff, and groundwater.
Basement foundations cost an average of $40,000 but can range from $25,000 to more than $100,000 total depending on size and fittings. Many homeowners choose to finish their basements for an additional $7,500 to $25,000.
What Costs Are Involved With New Foundations?
Knowing where your money goes when constructing a foundation is useful because it largely controls where your cost will fall in the $5,000-$80,000 range.
We’ll go into the cost factors below so that you can better estimate how much your foundation build will cost.
Your foundation will need to be carefully planned, just like all parts of your home construction. Planning costs will first include submitting and paying for building permits, which can cost up to $2,000 alone.
Permits are necessary to ensure you’re building according to local building codes. Much more expensive fines can be given if you don’t have proper permits from your municipality.
Your planning costs should also include around $1,000 for soil testing. We’ve mentioned a few times now that sub-optimal soil can create additional costs in building because it requires more structure and support from your foundation.
Soil testing is another critical step in building a safe foundation. You may need to spend an additional $1,000 or so to test your area for flooding or earthquakes.
All of these tests add about $4,000 to your foundation price but will ensure you get a safe base on which to build your house.
You can expect to pay between $500 and $2,000 for foundation inspections throughout construction.
Your build site will need to be inspected by a structural engineer before and after your foundation is built to approve the construction and make sure your home will be appropriately supported.
Probably the most considerable portion of your total cost will go toward construction materials. These materials include concrete block, poured concrete, rebar, piers, molds for your slab or footings, and any other reinforcements required for a safe build.
You can also consider labor costs in the materials, which can be incredibly high if your foundation type requires excavation.
Insulation, vapor barriers, and other waterproofing materials will also add to your total cost.
You may be considering drainage systems to combat moisture issues and water damage. These systems are particularly useful and sometimes even required by law for crawl space and basement foundations.
Drainage systems usually require excavation and are therefore the easiest and cheapest to install during the construction of a foundation for a new home.
Installation of a sump pump or floor drain can cost between $1,000 and $5,000. Exterior tile drains or French drains are often better at removing water but cost more.
These systems will add between $5,000 and $15,000 to your foundation build cost.
Another thing that is helpful to think about when building your foundation is your desired heating system. Running plumbing lines through concrete slabs is expected and won’t add significant cost upfront but can be expensive to repair in the future.
Installing radiant heating lines throughout your foundation requires more extensive planning and work. Choosing this more luxurious type of heating will add up to $10,000 to your cost.
Sealing and waterproofing is another vital cost because cement is porous and can allow water to seep into your home. Vapor barriers can help prevent moisture issues and should be installed on any foundation type.
These will cost between $1,750 and $5,000, with an average price of around $3,500.
Basement and crawl space foundations are usually treated with more extensive sealing methods. Damp proofing can help block moisture from the outside, while waterproof paint or polyurethane coatings can protect from the inside.
These coatings can cost up to $7,500 depending on your basement’s size but average around $4,500.
Cost Calculator by Foundation Type & Square Foot
As you can see, foundation pricing varies wildly based on a few factors. The two most important things to consider are the type of foundation you’re installing and your home’s size.
We’re going to break down your average installation cost based on these two factors below.
Cost Guide By Square Foot
Monolithic Concrete Slab
The simple installation of a one-pour monolithic foundation will cost you $4 per square foot on average. This cost will be increased by irregular foundation shapes and the application of a moisture barrier.
Stem Wall Concrete Slab
A stem wall slab foundation costs $5 per square foot to install.
The additional $1 per square foot is due to the increased labor costs involved with the 2-step pour. The price will increase with irregular shapes and the addition of a moisture barrier.
Pier and Beam Foundation
The average cost of a pier and beam foundation is $5 per square foot. Your total cost can significantly increase if you’re supporting a non-rectangular foundation or require more piers because of the soil and environmental conditions like frost line depth. Installation on a sloped property is usually higher as well.
A vapor barrier and addition of insulation below your home will also increase the cost per square foot.
Crawl Space Foundation
Crawl space foundations include expensive excavation and cost $7 per square foot on average. Additional treatments like a vapor barrier, waterproofing, a sump pump, or an exterior drainage system can add quite a bit to the price.
Full Basement Foundation
Full basement foundations require the most excavation and are the most expensive at an average of $18 per square foot for an unfinished basement.
Additions like waterproofing, sump pumps, French drains, and footing drains will be more expensive but are generally recommended.
Finished basements typically cost $30 per square foot but can be as high as $40.
What Does it Cost To Lift A House And Replace the Foundation?
A structural engineer will usually determine that foundation damage can be repaired with underpinning or reinforcement. You may be looking to replace the foundation if they conclude that yours cannot be repaired.
The process to do so involves jacking up your home, demolishing the old foundation, pouring a new one, and placing your home on top of the new foundation.
The average cost for this entire process is $30,000-35,000 for a standard 1,200 square foot home. This cost can jump to over $100,000 if your soil won’t easily support the hydraulic jacks.
Soil tests, foundation inspections, and flood testing can all add to this cost if your engineer or municipality requires them for foundation replacement.
How To Save Money With Foundation Installation?
We very strongly recommend that all homeowners spend the money to get their foundation appropriately installed and safely the first time.
As you can see, the cost to replace a foundation once your home is built is high.
Avoiding future repairs by paying for required testing and safety measures upfront will save money over time.
However, there are some ways you can save money on a safe installation.
Saving Money On Concrete Slab Installation
Choosing a single-pour monolithic slab foundation will save you an average of $4,000 over a stem wall slab.
The simpler monolithic pour isn’t always feasible, but you can save money if it is. You can save around $1,250 on a vapor barrier if your area isn’t prone to moisture problems.
Saving Money on Pier and Beam Foundation
The best way to save money on a pier and beam foundation is to install a standard, rectangular home because any additional piers to support irregular shapes are costly.
You can also save money by avoiding insulation under your home if you live in a warm area.
Saving Money on Crawl Space Foundation
Avoiding professional waterproofing will be the most significant way to save money on a crawl space foundation. We never recommend avoiding it altogether because crawl spaces are usually prone to moisture problems.
Damp proofing will still need to be done by your concrete contractor, but you can save several thousands of dollars by applying waterproofing paint and exterior drainage systems yourself.
Saving Money on Full Basement Foundation
The biggest savings for this type will be to leave it unfinished if you’re committed to a basement foundation. An unfinished basement won’t offer living space or add as much to your home’s value, but you’ll save an average of $25,000 on the installation.
You can also save money by doing the interior waterproofing and exterior drainage system installation yourself. Waterproofing paint and a French drain can both be DIY projects for handy homeowners and can save thousands.
Are There Any Red Flags When Installing A New Foundation?
There are some things to look out for when planning and installing a foundation that can increase the cost significantly upfront or in the future if you miss them.
Proper testing and planning are critical steps for foundation construction.
Any contractor that doesn’t insist on soil testing and flood testing in flood areas should not be used for building your foundation.
Improper planning can cause whole house collapse, structural issues, and very costly home improvement if and when damage does occur.
We strongly recommend having one of our professionals conduct extensive and adequate testing and planning for any foundation type.
A lack of inspections is another red flag in foundation construction. An engineer should be involved in your project from the very beginning to make sure your foundation is built safely. We recommend avoiding any contractor who doesn’t also insist on inspections throughout the process.
You should also avoid contractors who quote significantly lower than averages or other companies. Foundations are expensive because your home’s structural integrity relies solely on them. Cheap foundations are appealing but will very often present problems later.