The worst thing a home owner can hear is that their house has a foundation problem. With your walls cracking and the ground slowly sinking under your feet, it can feel like the damage has already been done.
Don’t worry — it’s not too late to take action. A skilled underpinning contractor will be able to repair your foundations with ease, letting you get back to normal in no time at all.
If you’re looking at getting underpinning work done, the first question on your mind is probably how much it will cost. Read on to find out what you may need to consider before hiring and what to expect in terms of cost.
First of all, what is underpinning?
Underpinning is a process that allows trained professionals to make repairs to your foundations and ensure that the soil is stable. Concrete or steel reinforcement is traditionally used; however, resin is becoming more and more popular.
Underpinning can add value to a house if selling, as it stabilises the house foundation and gives the buyer peace of mind from any structural issues.
What is the cost of underpinning a home?
When it comes to underpinning a house in Melbourne, the cost can vary widely depending on the service and underpinning methods. In some cases, your insurance company may cover costs — for example, when foundation damage is caused by earthquakes or flooding. However, things like soil shrinking and tree root damage that lead to subsidence are typically not covered by your home insurance.
We won’t lie to you — foundation repair can be expensive. However, the longer you leave it, the more damage that occurs, putting the structural integrity of your home and your safety in jeopardy and further increasing the cost of repair. In general, Victorians can expect underpinning to include a free inspection of the property and basic report for quotation purposes. The major cost is that of the workmanship and materials.
Inspection by a structural engineer
To start, a trade professional (qualified underpinning contractors) will be able to inspect the property, identify any cracks or foundation problems that will need addressing, and provide you with a comprehensive quote. The best underpinning companies will have building inspectors, structural engineers and geotechnical engineers that will develop engineering reports and take soil samples to determine what ground conditions they are dealing with.
If you haven’t decided which underpinning company you will choose for your underpinning job or wish to have an independent contractor to write up an engineer’s report first, you can enlist a structural engineer to assess any house foundation problems and then take this information to a third party who will perform the work.
In terms of the work itself, some of the factors that will impact underpinning pricing include:
- The location, depth and size of the area
- The extent of underpinning and soil stabilisation required
- The type of soil beneath your foundation (amount of fill or voids in soil)
- The type of foundation (concrete slab, strip footing or deep footing etc.)
- How easy the area is to access
- Do any tilting walls have to be physically propped to force a correction
- How much resin is required
- Any safety procedures that need to be put in place
The best services will provide you with an upfront quote that is comprehensive of all the costs incurred, so you don’t have to worry about unexpected fees. Your contractor should be able to provide a work schedule that details all of the different stages of the job.
What is the cost of concrete underpinning vs. chemical underpinning?
The cost of underpinning work will depend on what way you choose to go with. Many contractors in Melbourne stick with traditional methods: mass concrete, where the ground beneath your foundation is slowly excavated in stages and replaced by concrete; screw pier/pile, where supports are screwed into the ground below your house (depending on access); and more.
Chemical underpinning, which uses polyurethane resin injection technology, can be a far simpler and less invasive solution. The resin compound is injected into the ground and expands, filling any voids in the soil, stabilising soil and lifting the foundations to their original position. It is strong enough to re-stabilise the foundations and effectively manage the building load in future, minimising any future subsidence.
Traditional processes can be messy and require you to be outside of your home for days, weeks, or even a month — chemical underpinning, however, takes just fifteen minutes to cure and can be done while you are at home. The resin is injected through a small hole drilled into the foundations of your property either inside or outside the home, meaning that access is no problem.
So how much will it cost me?
There is no telling how much it will cost you to have underpinning works completed without having an inspection by a specialist and seeing the engineer report. That being said, you can expect to pay anywhere from $5000 to $35000 (or more, depending on the extent of the damage); chemical underpinning will cost less than a traditional way as it involves less labour and preparation.
For more pricing information, you will need to get a quote from a company that specialises in Melbourne underpinning services.
For more foundation solutions, get in touch with the team at Rectify. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have about underpinning work or problems with your foundation.