How much does underpinning cost?
Most foundation repairs range in cost from $5,000 to $35,000. In cases where major works are required, the cost can be in the range of $40,000 - $80,000. Read on for more specific pricing information and insights.
Trying to find out how much you should be paying for underpinning is a stressful process for many people. Discovering that you need to repair the foundations on your house is a scary time - you home is cracking or even sinking. What often follows this initial discovery is just as bad - an inability to get clear information out of underpinning contractors and structural engineers as to how much you need to spend to repair your home.
If you’re still wondering “does my foundation even need repairing?”, we will be addressing this topic in an article soon. In the meantime, give us a call to get a quick answer.
The average person will contact at least two underpinning companies for information and quotations. Along the way they will usually also talk with their insurance company, soil test engineers, structural engineers and building inspectors. The whole process quickly gets confusing and frustrating - often to the point where people just want the whole thing to be over and done with.
We've answered the most common questions people ask when trying to understand the cost of underpinning services for their home - as well as some tips on what to look for and what to avoid.
Here’s what we cover in this article:
The cost of underpinning a house
Answering the question of “how much will it cost to underpin my house” is similar to asking “what will it cost to renovate my house?”. It depends on a number of variables that can result in significant variance in the cost. Most foundation repairs range in cost from $5,000 to $35,000. In cases where major works are required, the cost can be in the range of $40,000 - $80,000.
When it comes to underpinning costs, the key things to consider are:
What type of foundation do you have?
What is the root cause of the foundation problem?
How extensive is the problem and damage to foundation and home?
How easy is it to access the foundations?
The type of foundation
Foundation types - such as concrete slab, pier foundation, crawl space (aka raised foundation), or basement foundation - will have an impact on the type of solution that can be used to repair your foundation. Underpinning is most commonly used on concrete slabs. Whereas for crawl space or pier foundations (such as concrete and timber piers common on many Queenslanders), the foundation repair method used is usually restumping or reblocking.
Root cause of the problem
The cause of the foundation problem can be due to a number of factors, as shown below. Often there is more than one of these contributing to the foundation damage.
Soil types e.g. expansive clay, black soil
Trees and roots
Water infiltration due to damaged pipes, leading to over-saturated soils
Extent of foundation damage
The extent of damage to the foundation is usually the biggest contributor to cost. Sometimes a house may be subsiding only on one side or corner. Or a verandah may be pulling away from the home. Other times there are more extensive problems, such as where soil issues are affecting a larger portion of the building or are present underneath the entire house.
Ease of access to the foundation
How readily the foundation can be accessed is the final factor. For many properties, access issues are limited to needing to temporarily take down a fence or move a trampoline. Where access in truly limited, it can lead to restrictions around the underpinning method used or will increase the time required to complete the job.
Underpinning Cost & Type
All of these factors will ultimately determine the cost and type of underpinning method best suited to your situation, in terms of the most cost-effective solution that delivers a permanent fix of the foundation. We provide a free home assessment service to clarify the above variables and provide a fully costed quote.
The 3 main underpinning methods and their costs
Historically there have been two main underpinning techniques available. These are concrete slab underpinning (also known as slab jacking) and screw pile underpinning (also known as pier underpinning or piering). More recently a third method is being used called resin injection. For more on how each method works, see our page on the types of underpinning.
The costs for each method can vary quite a bit. We’ll explain why in the sections that follow.
Disclaimer: We exclusively provide only screw pile underpinning. This is because in our many years experience (in structural engineering, concreting and underpinning) screw piles provide:
The most cost-effective method for most conditions
Fixed price underpinning
Consistently solid results
The 3 challenges of underpinning pricing
We have found that the problems people face when going through a repair on the house foundation generally fall into three categories:
#1 Every house is different
When it comes to house foundation problems, every situation is unique and each house needs to be individually assessed. That's not to say the solution can't be fairly straightforward for an expert to solve - it just means it is hard to get an estimated cost prior to someone assessing the property.
#2 Underpinning Expertise
There are many underpinning contractors of all shapes and sizes out there. Some of these contractors are more competent and have more experience than others. There are also a variety of methods to underpin a house. As a result, the information you get is often conflicting. Trying to determine who you should trust and listen to can be very difficult.
#3 Cost Transparency
Unfortunately not all underpinning contractors are top quality. Since most people don't understand what is required to repair their own house, there are times when an underpinning company will take advantage of that, milking the insurance company and/or the homeowner.
For the companies that are honest, some are just poor at providing quality engineering assessments, accurate quotes, or transparent pricing information, so that the costs don't blow out part way through the process.
So what can you do about all this? We have a few tips…
What to look for in an underpinning quote
To avoid the same pains and costs that the above home owner went through, here are a few simple rules to follow when getting underpinning quotes.
Fixed Price Quote
The underpinning quote should be fixed price and inclusive of all additional expenses, such as any forensic engineering, soil tests, structural engineering reports, site inspections, the underpinning work and all materials.
As a comparison, we have never charged even a dollar over the original quote on any job we've completed. All Foundation Solutions quotes are fixed price so you know where you stand and can make an informed decision.
The language used in the quotation should be straight forward and free of confusing jargon. If it is not, get clarification and ensure you understand everything before proceeding.
Foundation Solutions quotes use clear language and our team is always on hand to provide further explanation, clarification and a timely response to enquiries via phone and email.
Fixed Time / Fixed Schedule
The underpinning contractor should be able to provide a work schedule that clearly outlines each stage of the process and how long it will take. They should also be able to commit to a fixed time schedule - weather dependant of course.
How we provide quotes
At Foundation Solutions we always provide a fixed schedule of works, fixed pricing, showing agreed start date and time required for each stage of the underpinning work.
We want our customers to be confident the underpinning job will be finished promptly, so they can get back to enjoying their home sooner.
And that process starts with our free home underpinning assessment service, where we’re able to get a first hand understanding of the situation, answer any questions and provide some peace of mind.
Where to from here?
If you have any uncertainty about what you should be paying, why not book in a free home underpinning assessment. We’ll do a thorough appraisal of your home and provide you with a fixed cost quote with no hidden fees or extra charges.