The Homeowner’s Guide to Hiring a Foundation Contractor

D.P. Taylor
Written by D.P. Taylor
Updated October 1, 2021
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When choosing a foundation repair contractor, look for one who is certified, has glowing reviews, and offers a great warranty

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Your home's foundation is probably the most critical portion to keep in great shape, so if there are issues that need fixing, you don't want just anyone taking care of it—you want the best. But when it comes to foundation repair, how do you find a highly rated contractor, and what exactly do they do?

This guide will break down what to look for in a foundation repair contractor, and how to make sure you're getting the highest quality work possible.

What Does a Foundation Repair Contractor Do?

Big problems you might find in your foundation include cracks and leaks that can cause extensive damage. Foundation problems can even create safety risks in a home due to uneven flooring.

To fix this, you need a foundation repair specialist. Here are some of the tasks they may perform:

  • Fill in cracks

  • Install piers to stabilize a damaged foundation

  • Pipe in high-density polyurethane foam to deal with emergencies

  • Apply masonry patches and sealants

  • Replace the foundation entirely

  • Do "slab jacking"—which involves injecting grout or foam underneath the foundation to raise it instead of installing a new concrete foundation

How to Verify Your Foundation Repair Contractor Is Qualified

On the outside, foundation repair specialists look similar. But there are a few things you can do to verify you’ve chosen the best possible person for the job.

Ask About Certifications

Like any good contractor, a foundation repair person should be licensed and certified. But what certifications should you ask for? Specifically, the International Code Council Evaluation Services (ICC-ES), a nonprofit organization, should evaluate their foundation repair methods. This certification should give you confidence that the contractor knows what they're doing.

Ask Questions

Your contractor should be able to explain to you why you need the work done. 

Ask them the following questions:

  • What specifically is wrong with the foundation?

  • How they propose to fix it

  • If there are less expensive alternatives

  • What will happen if you wait a couple of years to address it

These answers will help you determine both if you should hire someone to do the work, and if it must be done now.

Get a Second—and Third—Opinion

A particularly big foundation job is a major financial decision, so you’re well within your rights to sleep on it. Get a quote from at least a couple of other contractors so you can compare them. If at least one of the other contractors agrees with the original estimate from the first contractor, that’s probably enough evidence that the recommendation was solid.

Read Their Warranty

No one likes reading warranties, and many of us are guilty of skipping over them. But it's important you examine your contractor’s terms. Also, look into the company itself to determine if it has a reputation for following through with fixing issues under warranty. And determine if the company is healthy enough financially to provide long-term backing of the foundation.

Ask Your Neighbors

Referrals are the best way to find businesses you'll love, and foundation work is no exception. Ask your fellow homeowners who've had foundation work done who they like to work with. Find out if the work they needed done is similar to your situation, and if they were ultimately satisfied.

Questions to Ask Your Contractor

Some of these questions are a reflection of the verification steps above, and some are additional qualification questions you can throw in for more information (and peace of mind you’re making the right choice).

  • What does your inspection involve? (At a bare minimum, your contractor should do an on-site inspection of the entire structure.)

  • Is your work certified by the International Code Council Evaluation Services?

  • What type of piers do you recommend using for stabilizing the foundation?

  • What is the failure rate of those piers?

  • What does your warranty guarantee specifically?

  • How do you train your workers?

  • Do you have general liability coverage?

How Much Should Foundation Repair Cost?

Contractors examining a house’s blueprints
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The average cost of home foundation repair is around $4,500, but it typically falls within a range of $2,000 to $7,000. As a result, it's a major investment and you want to make sure you hire someone who will do the job right.

If you're paying on the extreme low end—say, $500 or so—it's fair to ask why the cost is so low to ensure you're getting the quality of work you need. And if it's on the high end—perhaps above $10,000—you should consider getting a second opinion from other contractors.

Check Out Reviews From Other Homeowners

Another great tip for hiring foundation contractors is to check them out online. Look for a foundation repair professional in your area and check out reviews. This will give you some clues on what the quality of their work is, how much they charge compared to industry averages, and if they have specialized experience.

Then, set up a consultation. They can conduct a detailed inspection of your home, answer your questions, and provide an estimate. 

Your home is your haven—but it needs love from time to time. Handling foundation repair issues as they come up is necessary, so you can get back to the things that really matter—like cuddling with your dog on the couch for a Netflix marathon. Use the tips above to find, vet, and hire a reputable contractor for your foundation repair.

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