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Foundation Installation Costs

Foundation Installation Costs 2021 (Installation, Replacement, Pricing)

Becoming a homeowner is one of the biggest successes one can enjoy in life. Other than offering families a private space, a house is a great long-term investment. This is why millions of Americans buy homes each year.

Alternatively, if you want to have more control over your house's design, you can choose to build a new home. However, this approach comes with additional work as you need to get cost estimates for your design, secure a building permit, and monitor the construction process. This is important as it helps ensure the total cost of construction does not exceed the budget. 

With construction, the most important thing is for the building to be strong and stable to ensure the residents' safety. This is why the foundation is arguably the most critical part of a building. Other than supporting the building, a well-laid foundation serves as insulation. It also prevents moisture from underground water seeping in, reducing the need for further waterproofing. 

One of the major concerns about a house foundation during construction is the overall cost. This is because there's a lot of work that goes into laying the foundation. And, depending on the soil conditions, the amount of work may vary. With more work comes additional labor costs and other associated expenses. A place with loose soil will need more excavating and foundation walls to guarantee safety and adhere to local building codes. 

If you're looking for information about foundation costs for new construction, you are in the right place. In this article, you will learn about:

  • The average cost of a new foundation
  • Types of foundations
  • The best foundation for a house
  • The best foundation for a mobile home
  • How to save money with foundation installation

How Much Does Foundation Installation Cost?

Being one of the most important features of a building, it is crucial that the foundation is constructed well. However, you should also have accurate cost guides to ensure it does not blow your budget. When it comes to foundation costs, there are two key factors to consider: the type of foundation and the square footage.

Most people spend between $4,166 and $13,280 when building a foundation, bringing the average cost to $8,473. However, your costs may be even higher depending on the particular needs of your site and location. 

What Are the Types of Foundations?

When building a house, the type of foundation to use is one of the most important decisions you'll have to make. Factors that local contractors and structural engineers consider when determining the best choice for your project include:

  • Location and climate
  • Soil condition
  • Humidity
  • Budget

By taking into account all of these factors, you may find one of the following options suits you best.

1. Concrete Slab Foundation

With this foundation, a flat concrete slab will be laid on the ground in one concrete block. Concrete slab foundations are also known as mono slab foundations or monolithic. Two key benefits of concrete are that it's less expensive as you only need to be keen on the cost of concrete and it is easy to construct. 

The installation process is also hassle free. A beam embedded with concrete that runs two feet deep around the foundation walls, steel reinforcing bars, and wire mesh are embedded in the concrete to strengthen the block foundation. These add to the strength and stability of a concrete slab foundation. 

With concrete slab foundations, repair costs are not a major concern. This is because concrete slab is not prone to crumbling over time, necessitating foundation repair. Also, with this type of foundation, the building will not have a crawl space, which also presents maintenance issues. 

Check out the video below for more information on different types of concrete slab foundations.

Concrete foundations are not suitable for areas with cold climates. When temperatures drop and the ground begins to freeze and thaw, the slab will begin cracking and can shift. Another limiting factor with this foundation is that sewer and drainage system pipes are installed before concrete is poured. As such, you will have to cut through the slab to fix sewage and plumbing issues.

2. Pier and Beam

If you live in an area where the soil is constantly shifting, eroding, or flooding, the best way to anchor your home is to use a pier beam foundation. Also known as "piers and pile" or "pier and post" foundations, they're common in coastal regions and areas prone to hurricane conditions and major flooding. Along with offering support, they also need to protect the house from water damage. 

During installation, piers that can exceed 15 yards long are fixed on the ground to reach the soil's deep layers and stone. This approach is also suitable when constructing heavier homes to prevent sinking as the weight is distributed over a large area. 

With this type of foundation, you'll need to bring in a structural engineer to perform a soil analysis to ensure the conditions are suitable for construction. Costs are also relatively high as you will need heavy machinery to drive the concrete piers into the ground.

3. Full Basement Foundation

Full basement foundations have an underground living space that matches the home's ground level floor space. Construction begins by digging a hole for the basement that's at least eight feet deep. Along the edges, structural foundation walls on concrete footings will be placed. These footings should be placed at least 12 inches below the frost line and 12 inches below previously undisturbed soil. 

From there, beams will be placed, concrete walls erected, and cement slab poured inside the walls. With this type of foundation, you will enjoy more living space which can double your home's square footage. More importantly, basement foundations are strong, durable, and resistant to extreme weather and fire.

Basement foundations are more common in cold climate areas where freeze and thaw cycles can cause a home to shift. The foundation must be placed below the frost line in such areas, thus making a basement foundation the perfect option. 

Basements offer a wide range of applications for homeowners. For instance, if you live on a hillside, you can construct a walkout basement, offering additional functionality. However, you must be prepared to spend as this is the most expensive type of foundation. 

4. Crawl Space Foundation

Instead of a full basement, you can opt for a crawl space foundation. This is a space below the house in which a person can crawl that's slightly elevated. Though it does not add living space to your home, it provides additional storage space suitable for a furnace and other equipment. It also provides easy access to mechanical systems, plumbing, and wiring. Foundations with crawl spaces are made of stem walls, which are short foundation walls on concrete footings.

Since houses with crawl spaces are elevated, they have a unique aesthetic appeal. However, the primary benefit of crawl spaces is the protection they offer from environmental hazards such as flooding and earthquakes. The elevation also makes such houses more resistant to termites. However, the same cannot be said for mold and mildew. 

Compared to a full basement home foundation, crawl spaces are less expensive. However, they require more maintenance. Fortunately, most of the work is DIY. All you need to do is check the below-ground walls for cracks, install vapor barriers, and check for leaks from pipes. This should be done regularly to ensure that the crawlspace is dry at all times and remains structurally sound.

How Much for Concrete Foundation Installation?

While choosing a foundation style, it is essential to have a cost guide to help develop accurate estimations based on your preferred style and square footage. Along with the price per square foot, you should also know the factors that can affect the estimates. 

1. Monolithic

With a monolithic concrete slab, you should expect the costs to be around $4 per square foot. The cost can go higher if there is a need to add radiant heat, bump-outs, and sealers with a water vapor barrier. 

2. Stem Wall

At $ 5 per square foot, a stem wall is more expensive than a concrete slab. Similarly, the costs can be higher if sealers, radiant heat, and bump-outs are needed.

What Is the Best Foundation for A House?

Approximately half of the houses built in the US use slab foundation. However, this does not necessarily mean it is the best option for your house. In conjunction with your contractor, you must determine which type of foundation to use. It is ideal for warm and dry areas where you do not have to worry about frost depth. Slab foundations are also suitable for regions where basements cannot be used due to water tables. 

If you are building in a sloped area, basements and crawl spaces are a suitable option. For areas with loose soil or  that experience extreme weather conditions, go for a pier and beam foundation. The key to determining the best choice is assessing your area's conditions to know which options will offer the greatest support.

What Is the Best Foundation for a Mobile Home?

Over the years, designs for mobile homes have improved significantly, making them an increasingly popular option. If you're thinking about investing in a mobile home, you need to choose an ideal foundation. As with fixed homes, your options include basements, crawlspaces, slabs, and piers. 

Each comes with unique properties that are appealing to home builders. If you want an option that's cost effective but still durable and functional, a slab-on-grade foundation will do just fine. With this option, there will be a concrete base as large as the house with a crawl space beneath. The house is anchored to the concrete for support.

Another popular option due to its ease of setup is the use of piers. Cylindrical piers made of cement are inserted into the ground well below the frost line. Spacing for the piers should be around 8 feet. To reduce foundation costs, you can combine piers with beams.

As unrealistic as it sounds, mobile homes can also have a basement foundation. For maximum stability, the basement walls should be thick enough to support the weight of the house. If the pricing of a basement foundation seems too high, a crawlspace is a suitable alternative. This option is suitable for regions prone to termite infestations or high levels of humidity.

How to Save Money with Foundation Installation

When building a house, especially at the foundation level, the biggest mistake you can make is cutting corners to save money. Doing so not only compromises the integrity of the structure but will translate to significant repair costs later on. Nonetheless, it is still important to make the process as economical as possible to avoid going beyond the budget.

If you're using a concrete slab, you can save up to a dollar per square foot by choosing a monolithic slab instead of a stem wall. You can also save up to $ 1,000 if you do not add a vapor barrier. This should only be done if you live in a relatively dry area.

With pier and beam foundations, costs depend on the number of piers you use. To bring the cost down, ensure the design is rectangular as it will not require a lot of piers. However, when it comes to cost reduction, basement foundations have the most pressing need but the most challenging. Instead of a finished basement, leave it half-done. This will save you thousands of dollars.

Get It Right the First Time

Any mistakes during construction often translate to higher costs. This is why it is important to start your project with all the necessary information. Ask The Builder is a platform dedicated to helping you complete your construction without any issues. Do you need help? Ask Tim all your construction related questions to avoid unnecessary pitfalls. 


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