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The 6 Stages of a Strong Foundation Project Timeline

Are you in need of foundation repair but unsure how to manage the job?. A successful home foundation project timeline consists of 6 steps. Learn them, and you’ll know exactly what to expect when working on your house foundation:

  1. Master the basics: Learn the difference between pier-and-beam and slab foundations, and how to deal with drainage issues in clay soil regions.
  2. Understand your foundation report: We break down “contractor lingo” into simple terms for homeowners to understand symbols, drop levels and measuring points.
  3. Budget for your foundation repair: It costs $7,000-$8,000 to conduct concrete slab repairs. This is higher than the cost of pier and beam repairs. HOMR has current pricing data for residential foundation jobs in your area.
  4. Manage the timeline of your foundation project: Most foundation projects take 1-3 days to complete. Homeowners should expect digging, tunneling and potential lifting of their home during the job — and debris removal is a service you should demand.
  5. Schedule follow-up visits after the repair: Anticipate some foundation settling and movement after your project. Schedule post-project inspections to monitor the integrity of your repair.
  6. Why do your project with HOMR: We vet your area’s top foundation contractors, then offer perks like a $200 landscaping credit to get your lawn back to beautiful.

Homeowners should use this guide as reference for foundation repair services. 

Get more info about HOMR project management perks from a live representative!

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Master the Basics of Your Home Foundation

There are 3 pieces of information that will help you make sense of house foundation quotes and recommendations. 

  1. What kind of foundation do I have?
  2. What kind of soil do I have?
  3. Can I sell my home without fixing my foundation?

What Kind of Foundation Do You Have?

Most American homes have 1 of 2 types of foundation: concrete slab foundation, or pier and beam foundation.

Slab Foundation

A wooden concrete form filled with concrete. The basis of a slab foundation. A contractor is standing next to it wearing jeans, boots and kneepads with a concrete trowel in his hands.

A slab foundation is a 4” - 6” thick layer of concrete poured over a drainage layer (usually gravel and/or sand). Your house is placed directly on top of the slab for stability and support.

Concrete slab foundations are common in new construction and homes built after 1980. If you don’t have a crawlspace, you likely have a concrete slab.

✅ Pros of Concrete Slab: A continuous concrete slab means consistent support in every area of your home — no sagging floorboards or “weak spots”. A well-installed slab foundation can last up to 200 years.

🚫Cons of Concrete Slab: Slab foundations perform poorly in flood-prone areas — the house sits directly on its slab, and  there’s no space for excess water to drain. 

Pier and Beam Foundation

A pier and beam foundation begins with a series of concrete and rebar beams driven into the bedrock underneath your soil. Beams are placed across piers to create a foundation support for flooring and joists.

If your home has a crawlspace, you almost always have a pier and beam foundation.

✅ Pros of Pier and Beam: Pier and beam foundations are ideal in areas that experience heavy flooding, and where the frost line is several feet underground.  Additionally, plumbing work is typically less expensive on pier and beam homes due to easy access to the drain and supply lines.

🚫Cons of Pier and Beam: Common issues of pier and beam foundations include sagging floors and pooling water in your crawlspace.

How Your Soil Type Affects Your Home’s Foundation

Soil is primarily made up of 3 components:

  • Clay, which has poor water drainage.
  • Silt, which has average water drainage properties, and 
  • Sand, which has excellent water drainage properties

The amount of sand, silt and clay in your region’s soil directly affects your home foundation. 

Impact of clay soil on foundation repairs: Soil with high clay content expands and contracts which can cause shifts in your foundation. Look for cracks in your drywall or doors sticking to identify issues

Impact of silty soil on foundation repairs: Silty soil is marginally better than clay for building and repairing foundation, as it shifts less over-time. Look for water pooling around your foundation to determine if there are issues. 

Impact of sandy soil on foundation repairs: The more sand is present in your soil, the better it drains — this means less pooled water around your foundation and less natural causes of flooding and foundation leaks.

Concrete slab foundations tend to do well in sandy soil. However, sandy soil (like sand on a beach) can wash away and erode over time. Be sure to check your foundation drop measurements every few years to ensure your soil isn’t washing away.

HOMR spoke to a leading foundation expert about fixing a slab leak caused by clay soil and poor drainage. Get his tips in this updated article.

Selling a House With Foundation Issues

You can sell your house without fixing your foundation — but that doesn’t mean you should. Foundation issues are often negotiated between the buyer and seller, especially if it is called out in the inspection report. 

Typically buyers have more control over cost, and can avoid time intensive negotiations and repairs if they address issues outside of closing. 

Consult a real estate agent before you make this decision. Your agent will provide the best option for addressing any foundation damage prior to listing your home for sale.

How to Read a Foundation Inspection Report (Made Easy)

A sample foundation report

Now that you understand your foundation type and soil, how do you read your foundation report? 

Here are the 3 most common items identified on Foundation reports: 

  1. Foundation settlement or drop
  2. Baseline measurement (or set measuring point)
  3. Piers, shims, and drains

What’s an Acceptable Level of Drop?

Foundation drop (or “settlement” as foundation companies refer to it)  describes how much your house tilts from one end of the foundation to the other. Settling is a natural part of owning a house. Here’s why: 

Soil compacts when weight is placed on top of it and houses are heavy. Most of the time this happens in a uniform way, but sometimes certain parts of the foundation settle more than other parts.

Foundation companies record “drop” in inches to see if your foundation is settling more than usual. Structural and foundation engineers consider 1 inch of drop for every 20 feet the maximum acceptable level of foundation drop. The numbers on your foundation inspection reflect how much drop or lift there is at that point from the “set measuring point.”

What is a Baseline Measurement (or Set Measuring Point)?

Most floors are not completely level, so it’s difficult to determine foundation movement with one measurement. Foundation companies will use an instrument, typically a high-precision altimeter, or laser level to take multiple measurements all across the house to see what’s changed.

In order to determine how much has changed, they choose an arbitrary point as the baseline and measure all other foundation settlement compared to that baseline. Compare the baseline to future foundation inspections to judge the rate your foundation is settling or shifting. That measurement is called the baseline measurement and is typically marked with a 0 on the inspection

This is where the numbers on your foundation report come from! For example:

  • +1.2 means that point has lifted 1.2” from the set measuring point
  • -0.4 means that point has dropped .4” from the set measuring point
PRO TIP: Check your home purchase documents for “As Built” foundation measurements — these reflect grade and slope when your house was originally built. They’ll give you a much larger picture of how your house has shifted over time.

What do all of the symbols mean? 

Most companies will mark their recommendations for fixing a foundation on the inspection report. Here are the most common recommendations:

  • Piers - usually marked with dots, plus-signs, squares, or symbols - piers are used to raise low parts of the foundation
  • Shims - for pier and beam foundations, shims are used to address gaps between joists and piers - they’re typically marked with arrows
  • Drains - french drains are often called for in foundation inspections and will be drawn with a line to indicate direction, which downspouts they’ll connect to and any surface drains
  • Fans - some crawl spaces will need to be ventilated - fans are often not marked on the map of the house, but are typically described in the written portion of the report. 
  • Beams - If your pier and beam house needs a new beam look for a double line and often written notes about length

Worried about foundation settling? Get a free quote on your foundation inspection.

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Home Foundation Repair & Installation Prices

Now that you understand how to read a foundation report, it’s time to get some estimates on your project. Let’s look at current pricing data and average costs of residential foundation repair and foundation installation projects.

Foundation Inspection Costs by Home Size

The average home foundation inspection conducted by a structural engineer costs between $450 and $800. This figure reflects a general foundation inspection on a footprint less than 2,000 square feet.

If you experience extensive slab leaks or widespread foundation settling, expect to pay between $1,500 and $3,000 for these complex inspections.

Foundation Repair and Installation Costs by Foundation Type 

HOMR researched current pricing data for pier and beam repairs, slab foundation repairs, and general drainage repairs in crawl space and basement areas.

Foundation Labor Costs 

Expect to pay around $200 per hour for foundation repair labor. This is a national average, so be sure to get multiple quotes on the project to compare specific prices in your area.

Average Pier and Beam Foundation Costs by Material

Repair Cost (Low end) Cost (High End)
Cement (per yard) $120 $190
Concrete Pier (per pier) $500 $650
Hybrid Pier (per pier) $600 $950
Steel Pier (per pier) $700 $1000
Shimming (per instance) $1000 $5000

Pier and beam foundation repair costs are driven by one key factor - number of piers best calculated by individual materials — sizes and footage of pier and beam structures vary greatly, making square footage estimates unreliable.

Average Slab Foundation Repair Costs

Repair Cost (Low end) Cost (High end)
Minor Cracks $200 $300
Major Cracks $750 $1,000
Slab Leaks $2,500 $7,000

Minor cracks refer to small cracks in your concrete slab that travel several feet through the foundation. Major cracks refer to larger concrete slab cracks that impact at least ¼ of your home’s foundation.

Learn the ins and outs of repairing a concrete slab leak from one of Dallas’ top foundation pros. Read our updated article on fixing a slab leak.

Foundation Drainage Repairs

The cost of foundation drainage relies heavily on the type of drains and fans utilized to resolve your drainage issue. There are 2 kinds of drainage repair projects — exterior yard drainage systems, and if you live in areas with a basement - basement drainage

Average Exterior Drainage Costs

Repair Cost (Low end) Cost (High end)
French Drains (per linear ft) $24 $75
Trench Drains (per linear ft) $35 $100
Buried Downspouts (per downspout) $100 $300
Catch Basins (per drain) $200 $500
Storm Drainage System (installed) $1,300 $1,800

The most popular exterior drainage solutions are French drains and trenches. French drains cost between $12 and $55 per linear foot, but complex installs may cost $95 to $100 per linear foot.

Trenches cost between $35 and $100 per linear foot, but complex installs can increase your cost per linear foot by 1.5x.

Average Basement Drainage Costs

Repair Low Avg Cost High Avg Cost
Sump Pump $625 $1,900
Curtain Drain $1,100 $5,000
Waterproofing $2,000 $7,250
Interior French Drain $3,000 $8,000

The 4 primary types of basement drainage solutions are sump pumps, curtain drains, basement waterproofing, and interior French drains.

Expect to pay between $4,000 and $13,000 for a complete basement drainage system.

Foundation repair can get expensive — but will homeowner’s insurance cover the bill? Learn the simple 6-step plan to get your insurance to say yes!

How Long Will My Foundation Job Take?

The average residential foundation project takes between 1 and 3 days to complete. Complex foundation repair projects, like resolving a major slab leak or damaged ductwork in your crawlspace, may require up to a week or more to complete.

Once your initial plumbing and structural inspections are complete, here are estimated timelines to complete specific home foundation projects:

  • Pier installation to remediate foundation damage: 2-3 days
  • Crawl space mold remediation: 3-10 days (depending on mold severity)
  • Crawl space fan and air vent installation: 2 days (plus 1 to 2 follow-up visits)
  • Basement wall anchors: 1 day
  • Basement steel beam installation: 2 days

After these tasks are complete, be sure to schedule a post inspection with your plumber and structural engineer. This follow-up involves a repeat inspection of your repaired foundation, soil moisture level and ongoing monitoring of your foundation.

Obtaining a Foundation Work Permit

Foundation repair and installation always requires a building permit from your local building department. Your project’s timeline is highly dependent on how long it takes the building department to approve your permit for residential construction.

3 Things to Expect During Your Foundation Project

Your pre-project foundation inspections are complete, and it’s time for your foundation contractor to start work. 

Here are 3 things to expect during your foundation repair project — 1 that will likely happen, a less-likely situation you should still prepare for, and 1 service every quality foundation company should provide.

Prepare for Tunnels in Your Yard

Your repair and remediation team must access your home’s foundation to make repairs to cracks, leaks and general damage. The simplest way to achieve this is by digging a path through your yard to the foundation — generally through a trench or tunnel.

Expect some of your yard and planting/garden areas to be compromised during this process. It’s inconvenient, but a direct trench to your foundation issue is the cheapest and least invasive way to resolve the problem.

Pro Tip: Make sure that all your plumbing and irrigation lines are clearly marked before the foundation contractors start digging. You’ll avoid any accidental damage to your exterior pipes — the last thing you need during foundation repair is another leak!

Uncommon, but Messy: Your House Might Get Lifted!

Don’t be surprised if contractors use hydraulic jacks and support cylinders to lift your home to access its foundation. House raising is a less common practice, but it’s a good solution in 3 severe cases:

  • Repairs to a badly cracked foundation wall
  • Repairs to a fully cracked concrete slab
  • Raising the basement height in a sinking house

Using hydraulic jacks to raise your home is never a DIY project. Expect to pay between $25-35 per square foot for a house raising project — it costs between $50,000-$70,000 to jack up a 2,000 square foot house.

Expect Quality Debris Removal After the Job

We expect every foundation repair service to perform quality debris removal after the job is finished. Cleaning up after yourself is part of professional service, not an “over the top” expectation.

Look for foundation contractors with excellent online service reviews that note their cleanliness and professionalism. 

Connect with HOMR to meet trusted, vetted foundation pros in your area - no surprises!

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The 4-Step Plan to Long Term Foundation Success

Ensure your home’s foundation remains stable and secure for the long haul by adding these 4 items to your home foundation maintenance checklist:

  • Schedule a follow-up service appointment
  • Anticipate some foundation movement
  • Monitor soil moisture
  • Maintain good plumbing

Schedule a Follow-Up

Schedule a post project inspection with your structural engineer to ensure your foundation repair or installation was successful. This inspection should be identical to your initial inspection to ensure a proper data comparison with your pre-work baseline measurements.

Pro Tip: HOMR schedules this follow-up for you through our 24/7 home management concierge service.

Anticipate Some Foundation Movement

Every foundation job creates movement of the house. Common signs of mild foundation movement include minor cracks in your drywall and shifting of door frames. Don’t be surprised to see these things after a foundation repair.

Hold off on doing drywall repairs or re-shimming doors until at least 3-6 months after your foundation repair project is complete.

Monitor Drainage and Soil Moisture

Review your basement and external drainage after the repair is complete. Wait for significant rainfall, then check how your new drainage systems are operating.

Check any previous “trouble spots” in your yard for damp soil, pooled water and soggy turf. These issues should be resolved after your foundation repairs.

Maintain Regular Plumbing Inspections

Conduct annual plumbing inspections to ensure your pipes and drains are functioning properly. Your first inspection after foundation repairs should be handled by a certified master plumber, who can conduct water pressure tests on your pipe system.

Ask your master plumber to conduct a hydrostatic pressure test to ensure there’s no pressurized water impacting your foundation.

Conducting a hydrostatic pressure test is a great way to get homeowners’ insurance to approve your claim. Learn all 6 steps to getting insurance to cover your foundation claim in our new article.

4 Ways HOMR Streamlines Foundation Project Management

IMAGE OF HAPPY CUSTOMER, OR DAVID THUMBS UP

HOMR is a 24/7 home management concierge service that provides total project management for every thing you can do on a house

Here’s how HOMR meets and exceeds those expectations for you.

Vetted Foundation Contractors

Every successful foundation project starts with quality service providers. HOMR featured partners must pass our rigorous vetting process. HOMR-approved foundation companies must meet a minimum of these 5 standards: 

  1. Utilize a structural engineer
  2. Perform plumbing and hydrostatic tests as required
  3. Conduct repairs “by the book” (using best practices to ensure safety and success)
  4. Certify their foundation piers with independent testing labs
  5. Provide a no-hassle, free project quote
  6. Guarantee their projects with strong foundation warranties

Free Project Quote

Every foundation project managed by HOMR includes a free quote on your work. This quote is based on a proper assessment of your property and potential issues.

NOTE: We know sometimes there’s more damage to be discovered as a job moves forward, especially in tough-to-tackle areas like your foundation. That’s why HOMR is committed to providing as transparent of a quote as possible for the issues we can see. Less surprises = happy homeowners.

Landscaping Credit to Repair Your Lawn

HOMR believes your foundation repair job isn’t done until everything’s back the way it was. We help you get your lawn back to looking beautiful with a $200 landscaping credit towards refurbishing your lawn and garden spaces.

12 Month Follow-Up Visit

Good partners stand behind their work - a follow-up visit ensures that you solved the right problem and holds people accountable to their work HOMR schedules a 12 month follow-up visit from your foundation repair service as part of your work plan.

Featured Partners

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Highland Park
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Carrolton
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White Rock
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Preston Hollow
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Garland
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Forney
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Richardson
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Lake Highlands
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Arlington

Get Started With a Free Home Foundation Service Quote

Working on your home foundation is intimidating — but it can be relatively stress-free with the right gameplan. 

Here’s the HOMR checklist for house foundation project success one more time:

  • Determine your type of foundation and your property’s soil type.
  • Vet your foundation company through HOMR for quality and reputation.
  • Analyze their foundation report with the proper knowledge of key terms.
  • Schedule 1-3 days for your foundation job, and account time for permits and inspections.
  • Expect some trenching and tunneling in your yard, and demand quality cleanup after the job’s done.
  • Anticipate future events like foundation settling and soil moisture.
  • Relax in the knowledge that HOMR’s managing the entire project for you.

Get started on your foundation repair project with a free quote and no obligation!

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