No matter if you want to build an extension or if you’re building a new home, you have to start with a solid foundation, usually concrete. The foundation of your home is one of the most important parts of a new build, and it supports the structure’s weight, so it’s important to know about the concrete foundation cost before you start this project. Concrete is the most common material used for a foundation because reinforced concrete is stable and strong enough to hold your home’s weight without cracking or buckling.
There are many styles for your foundation, and each one contributes to your overall concrete foundation cost. Some styles include walls and some don’t, and this impacts your costs. Additionally, your concrete’s thickness and the foundation type you choose can increase your concrete foundation cost as well. To build a house foundation, the average cost will fluctuate between $7,000 and $18,000. Most people’s concrete foundation costs for a 1,000-square foot slab averages right around $9,300.
If you break this cost down per square foot, it ranges from $4.00 to $25.00. The size of your home and your location will also influence the concrete foundation cost. The most common types of foundation are slab, full basement, pier, crawl space, and beam. You want to decide which one you want from the get-go to help you budget for this project.
This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about figuring out your concrete foundation costs. This will allow you to budget for this project, and you can easily work with your local contractors to find the right solution for your needs.
Building walls on your concrete foundation can increase your total costs because it’s a more labor-intensive project. If you want to build a basement, you’ll need walls, and this can make both your project duration and your labor costs increase. Concrete Foundation by ArmchairBuilder.com / CC BY 2.0
Price Points for Concrete Types
The type of concrete you pick out will dictate your concrete foundation cost. Every type has a specific use, and this depends on your climate, soil type, and finished foundation.
Cinder Block Foundation
You can use cinder blocks with pier or stem wall posts to create a cinder block foundation. Cinder blocks work well with a variety of styles, including crawlspaces, full basements, piers, and stem walls. This concrete foundation cost will fluctuate between $11,500 and $15,000 from start to finish.
Frost Protected Shallow Foundation
A frost protected foundation is similar to slab-on-grade foundations, except that this foundation comes with rigid polystyrene installed under it. You’ll pour this type of foundation at the same time that you can use in areas where the ground freezes to protect it. This concrete foundation cost is slightly more than other types, and it runs between $8.00 and $14.00 per square foot.
Pier and Beam Foundation
You’ll create a crawl space with pier and beam foundations. The frame uses steel or wooden beams, and then the company will pour a thin concrete slab over the frame to ensure that there isn’t any space beneath the concrete when it hardens. Then, the company drills the beams into the ground to support your load and the foundation above it.
Some soil types won’t be able to support this foundation, so you want to test it beforehand. Also, this is a less common method, so it may be difficult to source a contractor in your local area. The concrete foundation cost starts at $18.00 a square foot and goes up depending on whether you plan to use steel or wood for the frame and how far they have to drill into the ground.
Installing piles for this foundation type will run you between $20.00 and $60.00 a linear foot, and the project usually caps out at $28,000. The concrete foundation cost estimate includes materials, equipment, and labor. If you want to add steel instead of prestressed concrete 25% and 35%. Piles serve a different purpose than piers, and they’ll help to bypass bedrock and pool soil when the soil is not’ stable enough to build your foundation directly on it.
Slab on Grade Foundation
This is the most common type of foundation if you don’t have walls. This foundation will be several inches thick, poured as a single foundation, and have the edges thicker than the center. It’s called a monolithic foundation because the company will pour the entire thing at one time, and it’s very popular to use where your ground doesn’t freeze. These are the quickest and simplest foundations to pour, and the concrete foundation costs between $6.00 and $12.00 a square foot. They won’t work well to support a basement though.
Stem Wall Foundation
Better known as a T-shaped foundation, this is the most common type of foundation used for an area that will have walls, like your foundation. The company will place footings beneath the frost line before they add the walls. The footing will be wider than the walls to provide stability. They’ll pour the slab last. Since the company has to pour your foundation in three separate parts, this is one of the most expensive concrete foundation costs you can have. If you want a basement, this is the foundation you want, and it’ll cost between $16.00 and $18.00 a square foot to pour.
Picking out a type of foundation will impact your costs because some are much more expensive than others. So, once you get a foundation type in, it’s easy to work out a budget for the project. Concrete Foundation by SteelMaster Buildings / CC BY-SA 2.0
How the Building Process Influences Costs
Your building process the company uses to create your foundation will vary depending on the type of foundation you need, but most processes follow the same steps. You’ll have to submit your entire build plans to get a permit at least a week or two before you begin the project. The foundation itself will be included in your build permit, so you don’t need a separate one for it.
The company will come in and test the soil before excavation starts. When you want to pour a full basement, you’ll put the footings in first before examining them and pouring the walls. Last is your concrete slab. If you want to pour a monolithic slab, the company will lay gravel down to improve the drainage before pouring the entire slab in one go.
Once you pour your concrete, it’ll need between 1 and 14 days to cure, depending on your local weather conditions. If you have a basement, you’ll have to take steps to waterproof it. Then, you’ll have to add pea gravel and drainage tiles before the rest of the building work continues.
Foundation Excavation Costs
You’ll have to excavate your foundation and add this price into your concrete foundation costs. If you have low-maintenance landscaping, you’ll most likely have to replace it when they finish. Every foundation project will need some level of soil work, and grading is the most common work to help prepare an existing site for your slab.
Your concrete foundation costs start around $2,000 for a slab foundation, and a full basement foundation starts around $5,000. Your costs may go up depending on how deep you need your foundation to be and the soil condition with your terrain. If you need to do blasting, you’ll pay much more for your concrete foundation cost than if you can easily remove the soil with traditional equipment.
Cost to Test the Soil
It’s critical that the soil you build your foundation on can hold the resulting load and provide the proper support for it. No matter what foundation you choose, the company will have to install footings that will evenly distribute the weight over the soil. If the soil has too much hydrogen, is too soft, or if it is a clay-based that holds too much moisture, you could end up with an unstable foundation. This is why it’s critical for companies to come in and perform soil testing prior to starting your foundation project.
There are several points to soil testing. You have to heavily compact the soil in your foundation. So, when the company comes in to excavate the soil, the company will remove a portion of the soil to see how well it can support your foundation. The areas where you’ll have your footings will get compacted and strength tested. They may strip out the clay-based soil and backfill the area underneath your foundation with another type of soil and compact it to make it more stable. Generally, you’ll add pea gravel to the soil to improve the drainage, and testing will help you decide how much gravel you need.
If you have very soft soil in places, you may find yourself changing the orientation or type of foundation you put in to ensure it spans the soft areas to help you distribute the load evenly to your more compacted spaces. On average, soil testing will increase your concrete foundation cost by $1,200. If you have a lot of issues, the prices can easily go upwards of $5,000.
Making sure you test your soil before you start laying your foundation will give you a solid base that distributes the load evenly from one edge to the next. An unstable foundation is more prone to settling and cracking, and this can increase your concrete foundation costs. Concrete Foundation by Isabell Schulz / CC BY-SA 2.0
Cost to Lift a House
It’s much easier to pay your concrete foundation cost than it is to raise your existing home to add a basement to it. Excavating your ground, performing your soil testing, and pouring your foundation for your basement is easier and faster when you work on an empty site. Raising a house requires you to have additional heavy equipment around to hold it in place while the company comes in and digs and pours the foundation, and this adds to your costs.
On average, you can expect to pay around $35,000 to raise your home to build a foundation. However, as long as the house is structurally sound, it’ll cost less than having to demolish your current home and rebuild it with a basement.
Cost to Install Concrete Footing
Footings are essential in your foundation to help distribute the weight and keep it structurally sound. The type of footing you’ll use ties directly to the type of foundation you choose. T-Shaped foundations get their footings dug and poured first before the company pours the walls and then the slab. This is a three-step process. If you want a slab-on-grade foundation, you’ll have a thicker edge than the center. The thicker edge doubles as the footing to help support the load. Pouring footings will add to your concrete foundation cost by $3.00 to $5.00 a square foot. If you have T-shaped foundations, you’ll have to include the cost of an inspection before you can pour the rest of the slab.
Pouring a new foundation is a part of your building process for a new structure or home. This is why you must apply for a permit before you begin the project. You’ll have to submit your entire project plans to your town or city hall, and the plans should include your foundation. They’ll issue a permit for you based on your plans. Most permits will increase your concrete foundation cost by $1,000 or more. The size of the project will be the biggest factor in determining how much you spend. If you want more specific information, you can speak to your city or town hall representatives or your builder.
Cost to Repair Your Foundation
If you notice foundation issues when they’re still minor, it can be possible to repair them without having to worry about tearing out and installing a whole new foundation. This can help keep your concrete foundation cost low, and it’s so important that you do routine inspections. You can fill in minor cracks that don’t impact your structure for around $500.
Maybe you find a more extensive issue, your concrete foundation cost can shoot up. This is especially true if the company has to jack up your house to make repairs. A lot of people pay up to $5,000 for their foundation repairs, and this is much less than a full foundation replacement.
Cost to Replace Your Foundation
Foundations won’t last forever, and you may find yourself eventually having to replace it. Your foundation can settle, and this can cause cracks or weak points to form over time. If you notice these issues, repair them as quickly as you can to help stave off the need to completely replace your foundation because this can be an expensive project.
It’s a lot easier to pay the concrete foundation cost to pour a new one than it is to replace your foundation if you have an existing home. Your replacement costs have a very broad range that starts at $20,000 and goes up to $100,000. There are so many factors that impact the cost including the type of foundation, size, and your soil conditions or problems that arise from them. Your company will have to lift your home off the foundation during this process.
The shape and size of the house, how far it has to lift, and how long it’ll have to be supported will all factor into your concrete foundation cost to replace it.
There are a few labor costs that go into your concrete foundation cost. Delivery, excavation, compacting, and pouring all have a price range associated with them. The dirt work makes up a large portion of your labor costs. The typical concrete foundation cost for labor to pour a slab-style foundation is around $4,000. This is just shy of half of the $9,300 total.
If you want to pour a basement foundation, your labor costs will sit around $7,000 for a $16,000 total. This higher labor costs is due to the time you need to pour your foundation in three separate steps, and it includes the added work your company will put in to construct your foundation’s walls. If you’re comfortable doing it yourself, this is an option to help save on labor costs. However, since the foundation is so important to your home, it’s best to leave it up to the professionals.
Your labor costs will increase with the project size,and more complex projects will mean that your company is there for longer periods making sure every step gets completed. Foundation by RBerteig / CC BY 2.0
Improvement and Enhancement Prices
There are many improvements or enhancements you can choose to add to your foundation, but they will all increase your concrete foundation costs. So, if you’re on a tight budget, you may have to forego some of these items in favor of keeping your concrete foundation costs more manageable.
It’s popular for people to finish out their basements to turn it into more living space for their families. To add on a basement addition to your concrete foundation cost, you can expect to pay between $25,000 and $55,000 from start to finish.
Drainage for Your Foundation
There will be at least some drainage installed for every type of foundation you pick, and this could include everything from weep tiles to gravel. If you want to install more drainage options like a French drain, this can add up to $5,000 onto your concrete foundation cost.
Inspectors will come out at several points throughout the job to perform a thorough inspection. They’ll have to inspect the footings before the company can pour the rest of the foundation. They’ll have to perform another inspection of the entire foundation before you can start building on it. The point of these inspections are to ensure there are no weak spots and that the foundation is secure. If you have to add inspection fees onto your concrete foundation cost, they can fall between $500 and $1,000.
Maybe you decided you want to install a frost-free foundation. If so, you’ll have to request the company to insulate the concrete during the pouring process. If you decide that you want to have a basement foundation, you may choose to insulate the basement’s interior walls using rigid insulation. This insulation will increase your concrete foundation cost by $5,000.
If you plan to install radiant heating in your home and you have a finished basement or a slab foundation, it’s a good time to lay the pipework. This will add upwards of $20,000 to your concrete foundation cost, so it is a very expensive elective option to choose.
Shallow or Deep Foundations
Your concrete foundation costs will increase the deeper you have to dig your foundation. Most of the labor costs will come from soil work, including compacting, digging, and readying the site to pour out your new concrete slab. The deeper the dig is, the more labor-intensive it is. This is why choosing to install a crawlspace or basement will cost significantly more than choose to go with a slab-style basement.
You can pour a slab with minimal excavation, but basements have much more work associated with them. The deeper you have to go, the longer the project will drag on, and the more your concrete foundation cost will go up.
Mobile Home Foundation Costs
It’s traditional to build mobile homes to move, but you can put them on a foundation. You can put them on any foundation that will support a traditional home, and they can have a slab foundation, basement, or crawlspace. Mobile homes tend to be smaller, and this means that your concrete foundation costs will go down because the foundation doesn’t have to be as large. This type of foundation will cost between $4,500 and $9,000 on average.
Garage Foundation Costs
You’ll need to install a slab foundation when you build a garage. Garages can come in a range of sizes, and this can cause your concrete foundation costs to increase.
- One Car (12-feet by 22-feet) – $1,600 to $3,500
- Two Car (24-feet by 24-feet) – $3,500 to $7,000
- Three Cars (32-feet by 22-feet) – $4,500 by $8,500
Where to Find Concrete Foundation Installers Near You
If you’re looking for concrete installers, you should check with a few local companies. This can cause your concrete foundation costs to fluctuate, so it’s important to call a few companies to ensure you get quality services without breaking your bank.
Frequently Asked Questions
Having the correct set of questions in-hand when you start calling about your concrete installation cost will help you get consistent quotes from the different companies.
1. How much will you pay to pour concrete in your crawl space?
On average, you’ll spend between $5.00 and $10.00 to pour concrete into your crawlspace. This concrete foundation cost includes your finishing work.
2. How long does your foundation take to set?
The length of time it takes your foundation to set will depend heavily on your location and climate. It will typically take between two or three weeks to set completely before you can go to the next step.
3. How does the foundation and footing differ?
The footing is the structure that holds your load for your foundation, and it’ll help spread the load throughout the soil. Your company will pour your footings first before pouring the walls and then the foundation.
4. Which soil types are best for the foundation?
The soil must be able to compact before draining, so clay-based or loose soils aren’t the best choice since they can lead to an unstable foundation.
Your concrete foundation cost will vary depending on a large range of factors, and it’s your responsibility to figure out which ones apply to your situation and which ones don’t work. This will help you get a rough idea on how much you need to budget for this project, and you can take this estimate to your local contractors to get this project started.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.