Compare Repair Costs for a Cinder Block Foundation
Updated: Tuesday, December 5, 2017
The average cost to repair small cracks in your block foundation are around $25-$150, if you do it yourself. Larger cracks, uneven blocks, structural or larger problems can run several thousands of dollars and require foundation repair pros to do the job.
Estimated Cost Comparison Table
$25 – $450
Average Cost Estimate
$550 – $2,500
$2,500 – $10,000
||Small Crack Repair
||Cracks / A Few Loose Blocks
||Cracks / Loose Blocks / Sagging
|Prep Work Needed
||None / Minimal
||Minimal / Extensive
|Amount of Damage
||Multiple Cracks / Repairs
||Extensive Cracks and Loose Blocks
|Type of Home
||Crawl Space / Single Story
||Basement / Single Story
||Basement / Multi-Story
||DIY / Pro
|Cost of Tools & Supplies
||$25 – $75
||None / Included
||None / Included
|Permits, If Required
||$0 – $250
||$0 – $250
Sections: Overview | Product Costs | Installation Cost | DIY or Pro | Web Compare | Shared Pricing
Overview of Block Foundation Problems
Block foundation repair costs vary widely based on the severity of the issue. Some of you are dealing with small cracks in the mortar that might be allowing moisture through or could simply be cosmetic. Others have serious foundation repair issues with blocks that are separated or bowed or portions of the foundation that are sinking. The bottom line however, is that most cracks or repairs are the result of a larger issue that may need to be addressed as well.
This Costimate itemizes the range of block foundation repair costs by factors that affect the price, so you’ll have a clear idea what to expect when you get repair estimates. Minor repairs might present DIY options for homeowners with experience, but large cracks and anything structural require professional knowledge, skill, equipment and techniques. We’ve included a section where homeowners share their cinder block foundation repair costs, and we invite you to share yours for the benefit of other readers once the repairs have been made.
Repair and Material Cost Details
Block Foundation Repair Factors
Repair costs vary from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, and here are the determining factors that dictate what you’ll be charged by a local contractor.
- Type of repair – Minor cracks come with small price tags compared with major structural repairs like replacing a wall or raising a sinking wall or walls.
- The amount of foundation affected – Whatever the type, the more of the foundation requiring repair, the higher the cost will be.
- How much excavation is required – Most structural foundation repair requires moderate to extensive excavation to expose and solve the underlying or unseen issue.
- Single-story or multistory home – Major foundation repair costs more on multistory homes due to the extra supports required vs. a single-story home.
- DIY or Pro: Minor cracks only – If mortar has become loose due to non-structural reasons, removing it, cleaning the surfaces and installing fresh mortar is possible. Note that DIY injection-type repair kits are not suitable for use with block walls because the blocks are hollow.
Cost of Repair Supplies
This section covers the cost of tools and supplies for the repair of minor cracks only.
If blocks have shifted or separated, the issue requires a structural repair and is best handled by a professional foundation repair contractor.
- $5.50-$7.50 | Wire brush
- $9.25-$12.00 | 1 quart of latex emulsion concrete crack filler for repairing up to about 25 feet of minor cracks without replacing mortar
- $7.50-$10.00 | 1 quart of vinyl polymer patch for replacing up to about 15 feet of mortar
- $13.00-$16.50 | 10-pound bag of mortar mix, another option for replacing missing mortar (up to approximately 50 feet)
- $7.50-$14.00 | Pointing tool for applying mortar
Permits, Inspection, Related Costs and Installation Time
Permits and Inspection Cost
- $0-$250 | Minor crack repair doesn’t require a permit. Structural repairs will require a building permit with one or more inspections during the project.
Related Costs and Installation Time
This is where we dig into the much higher costs of structural repairs to block foundations. Reviewing the cost factors listed above in light of your foundation problems will allow you to determine an approximate repair cost. The costs below include hiring a soils/geotechnical engineer and a structural engineer to determine the cause of the issue and the best solution.
- $60-$120 per square foot | Replacing a limited number of damaged or separated blocks, a common problem when a house settled some time ago and the problem is not getting worse. The major factor is how deep the foundation must be excavated to get to the repair site.
- $7,500-$24,000 per wall (more for very long walls) | Straightening and reinforcing a bowed block wall. There are several methods used to straighten and reinforce a block wall without replacing it. The most common is to use steel I-beams or channel steel fixed to the straightened wall to hold it in place. Another option is to fill the blocks with concrete and steel reinforcement bar (re-bar/re-rod) at intervals to prevent a recurrence of the bowing. Carbon fiber is a new product used to keep walls from bowing again, but can only be used when less than 2” of movement has occurred. Some contractors are skeptical of it’s long-term ability to hold a wall in place.
- $9,500-$30,000 per wall (more for very long walls) | Replacing an entire block wall. This is an extreme option when the wall is badly bowed. The entire wall is excavated, support jacks are put in place and the wall is removed. The new wall is installed, often with re-bar for added strength, and waterproofed on the outside.
- $3,500-$12,000 per wall | Piering a foundation to raise it. When a foundation wall needs to be raised, piers can be used. The foundation is excavated well below the footings. Hydraulic equipment is used to raise the foundation back into place before piers with their own large footings are installed to prevent sinking. The type of soil will determine the number of piers required and how many are needed per wall.
- Extra $1,000-$2,000 per wall |Additional support in earthquake zones: If your home is in an area with significant seismic activity additional reinforcement might be required.
Block Foundation Repair Time Schedule
Times for block foundation repair vary as much as costs based on the scope of the project. Not all the time estimates will apply to your job.
- Up to 1 day per wall: Repairing non-structural cracks in a block foundation
- Up to 1 day: Excavating a foundation wall
- 1-3 days: Replacing a limited number of blocks
- 2-4 days: Straightening and reinforcing a bowed wall
- 3-7 days: Demolishing and replacing a block wall
- 4-7 days: Adding piers beneath a foundation wall
DIY or Hire a Pro?
During a small bathroom remodel in our basement recently, we ran into a wall with a few small mortar cracks between the cinder blocks. Since this occurred in the middle of a long wall versus near a corner, the contractor told me it would be a simple repair with cleanup and pointing only. I knew the contractor through a mutual friend and he told me to just clean the joints, replace the old mortar and let it go. Basically, the repair was smaller than the image above.
- Small mortar repairs are OK as long as they are not top to bottom, near the corner of your foundation, or entire blocks are loose.
- I would call a pro every time to give me an estimate for foundations cracks, regardless of the extent.
If you have cracks or broken cinder blocks, Inspectapedia has a great overview of the various types of problems and how they are fixed. Dummies also offers a guide to making simple repairs yourself.
Is Cinder Block Foundation Repair a DIY Project? What do You Think?
Block Foundation Repair Costs from Around the Web
Costs Submitted by Homeowners and Pro’s