Average Cost of Home Foundation
Every home needs a strong, solid foundation. If you are going to invest money into one part of your house, the foundation is a good place to do it. The role of a foundation is to bear the weight of your home and ensure that the structure is rigid and doesn’t subside into the soil. If you have a weak foundation or foundation cracks, then basement flooding can become a common occurrence in your home.
In most cases, foundations are made from reinforced concrete, as this provides the perfect combination of (relatively) low cost and high strength. However, there are alternative options and extras you can add to your foundation – each of which will have a bearing on the cost. For specifics on the different types of foundations, go to our Types of Home Foundation page.
This guide will walk you through all of the costs involved in building a foundation for your home and give you a sense of all of the factors which influence your final bill.
THE OVERALL COST
For an average 1,200 square foot home, you can expect to pay between $3,996 and $12,313 to install a foundation, with an average cost of $8,154.
This range includes labor, materials, and all additional work.
Costs are also dependent on whether you choose a low-end, medium, or high-end build.
A low-end foundation will cost an average of $1,128.
A medium foundation will cost, on average, $8,154.
A high-end option will cost $24,000.
Foundation installation cost range graph:
PRICE PER SQUARE FOOT
In general, you can expect to pay between $4 and $7 per square foot.
|1||$4 - $7|
|10||$40 - $70|
|100||$400 - $700|
|500||$2,000 - $3,500|
|1,000||$4,000 - $7,000|
Home Foundation Calculator
Calculate how much you’ll pay for a foundation based on the length square footage needed.
The first thing you need to factor in is the cost of having your soil tested. This will determine what type of foundation you require. The soil test ascertains what type of soil you have and how well it can bear the weight of a home.
If a soil test does discover problems, then further testing will be required.
The base average for soil testing is $1,200, although if there are widespread issues, then the cost can rise as high as $5,000.
If your soil does not drain properly, then you may need to add pea gravel to the soil to allow water to move away from the foundation. This will push the cost higher towards the $5,000 mark, particularly if it’s required that you excavate a large amount of soil to do so. Excavation costs between $100 and $150 per hour.
Most of the cost of a new foundation is the materials, although you will also need to factor in labor. The more difficult or custom a foundation, the higher the cost of labor will be.
For a standard slab foundation, the cost of labor is $3,000, out of a total cost of $11,000, or 28% of the final cost.
If you decide on a basement foundation, the cost of labor is $7,000 out of $16,000, or 44%.
Broadly speaking, the more custom a foundation, the higher the percentage of the final bill is labor.
COSTS OF DIFFERENT FOUNDATION TYPES
Below are the different types of foundations that people may choose for their homes and how much they cost.
CONCRETE SLAB FOUNDATION
There are two main types of concrete slab foundations, (which are also sometimes referred to as slab-on grade foundations): monolithic slab foundations and stem wall slabs.
Monolithic slab foundations are single-pour and, as a result, are cheaper and faster to install. Stem wall slabs have concrete block footers that help to spread the load of the home.
Although they differ in their construction, at their heart, they are both slabs of concrete that lie directly on the soil, thereby providing a simple yet stable foundation for a home.
Here’s more on monolithic slab and stem wall slab foundations:
MONOLITHIC SLAB FOUNDATION
Monolithic slab foundations are the most common type of foundations. They consist of a single slab of foundation, with the edges thicker than the center. It is all poured at once (hence the name monolithic), making it the easiest and fastest foundation type to install. As a result, they are the cheapest type of foundation.
You can expect to pay around $5 per square foot for this type of foundation, giving a total cost between $4,600 and $20,000.
STEM WALL SLAB FOUNDATION
Stem wall slab foundation is useful in situations where you are building on a slope because the different sections of the walls can be designed to match the grade of the building. Because of this flexibility, they are also common options in areas where earthquakes are common, or where the soil can potentially be unstable.
Generally, stem wall slab foundation costs $6 per square foot, meaning an average total cost of somewhere between $7,000 and $20,000.
PIER AND BEAM FOUNDATION
Pier and beam foundations are a little outdated since much concrete technology has improved since the 1960s. That said, there are still many benefits to a pier and beam system – namely that you are capable of accessing more of the house.
In addition, a pier and beam system keeps the house elevated off the ground, meaning that in areas of flooding or high moisture, a home is less susceptible to water damage.
A pier and beam system costs around $9 per square foot, meaning your final bill will be between $7,200 and $13,500.
CRAWL SPACE FOUNDATION
A crawl space is like a mini-basement. It keeps the house off the ground, thus making it suitable for areas where there is regular flooding. Your crawl space isn’t really a usable space in your home, although it can be useful for accessing plumbing or electrics.
The cost of a crawl space foundation is around $13 per square foot. This means that the total cost of installation is somewhere between $10,300 and $19,400.
FULL BASEMENT FOUNDATION
A full basement is the most expensive option when it comes to foundations. However, as an investment, it creates more space in your home and will do the most to raise the cost of your house when it comes time to sell.
There is a big price difference between a finished and an unfinished basement.
If you have an unfinished basement, you can expect to pay between $10 and $25 per square foot, meaning that the average cost will be $21,000.
If you have a finished basement, costs are between $30 and $100 per square foot, making the cost somewhere between $36,000 and $120,000. In general, however, the range will be $26,800 to $50,000.
MOBILE HOME FOUNDATION
Although we often think about foundations as being the bedrock of a static house, it can also be a way of providing more permanent support for a mobile home.
If you do decide to build a foundation for your mobile home, then you can expect to pay between $4,600 and $14,000.
A frost-protected foundation is like a slab-on-grade, although is designed for areas where the temperature regularly drops below freezing. They are insulated with polystyrene, which keeps the foundation from experiencing extreme temperatures.
The cost for a frost-protected foundation is between $8 and $14 per square foot, resulting in a final cost of between $9,600 and $16,800.
CAR GARAGE FOUNDATION
Car garages that are separate from the home require a separate foundation. If you’re planning on installing a garage, then you will require a smaller foundation than a regular home.
For a single-car garage, then you will pay somewhere between $3,100 and $4,800.
RAISING A HOME
One option if you already have a home and wish to further secure the foundation, is to raise it. This is obviously a major project, and as such, you can expect to pay:
Foundations, like every other part of a building project, have additional extras that you can add. Some of these will be necessary depending on the location you live in, but some are purely luxury or investments, rather than necessities.
|Radiant heating can be a great feature if you |
are installing a basement, or if your home is in an area that sees cold winter temperatures.
For this feature, however, you will pay around $20,000.
|Foundation drainage is a sensible investment, particularly if you live in an area that floods. |
All foundations will have some form of
drainage, although, for a French drain system, you will pay roughly $5,000.
|Adding a basement to your home seems like a fantastical project since it will either involve lifting up your home or (more likely) digging |
down to create an extra tier to your house.
Obviously there is a wide variety of factors
involved in this process, giving an estimated
cost of between $25,000 and $55,000.
|$25,000 - $55,000|
|INSULATION||Some foundations come with insulation |
already installed. However, if you have a
foundation laid, and wish to add installation,
you will pay around $5,000. This cost, of
course, can be offset by the savings on your
heating bill, as well as the overall rise in the
value of your home.
Obviously then, there is a great deal of variance when it comes to the cost of a foundation. Choosing the simplest form of the foundation will result in the lowest cost, and for a high-end version, you will pay top dollar. Ultimately, you need to weigh the needs of your family, your home, and the area you live in to determine which is the best option for you.
Unless you are well-trained, it’s difficult to save labor costs, and materials are not a good area to avoid paying full price. There’s a reason why a foundation is used as a metaphor for solidity – it couldn’t be more important that you make the right choice, even if it does end up costing you more.