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How Much Does a Foundation Inspection Cost? (2024 Guide)

Typical cost range: $300–$1,000

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Default Author Icon Written by Angela Bunt + 1 other Reviewer Icon Reviewed by Mark Howey Updated 03/21/2024

Your foundation is vital to the structural integrity of your home, but you might not think about it until you suspect problems. Some foundation cracks and leaks require simple fixes but others can be signs of serious problems. If you think your foundation is damaged, you’ll need to hire a structural engineer to do a formal inspection. A residential foundation inspection costs about $600 on average, though the cost can range from $300–$1,000.* In this guide, we’ll break down foundation inspection costs and explain why they are so important.

*Unless otherwise indicated, cost data in this article was sourced from Angi, Fixr, and internal data.

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Foundation Crack Repair

Foundation crack repair costs between $250 and $800.

Side of house with serious foundation damage.
Foundation Leak Repair

Depending on severity, leak repair can range from $2,300–$7,300.

Sinking concrete foundation in need of mudjacking leveling repai
Sinking Foundation Repair

The average cost for sinking foundation repair ranges from $600–$3,000.


Why Are Foundation Inspections Essential?

Keeping an eye on your foundation’s condition is an important part of home maintenance as a house with foundation issues can incur severe damage. Foundation problems only get worse over time, and the more severe the damage, the more expensive it is to fix. Catching problems early is the key to staying within budget and protecting the investment that is your home. It can be difficult for homeowners to identify the cause of problems discovered, so hiring an expert is vital.

What Are Major Foundation Inspection Cost Factors?

How much your inspection costs will come down to the foundation’s size, complexity, and accessibility.

Size and Complexity of the Property

The engineer will need to inspect your entire home to write a formal report. Engineers usually charge by the hour, but they may also calculate foundation inspection costs by square footage. In either case, larger foundations will cost more to inspect. Homes with complex or unique foundations may also require more effort or equipment to survey, which increases the total cost. For example, the engineer will need to inspect each pier in pier-and-beam foundations separately, so these inspections are more expensive.

Cost by Size and Complexity

At a cost of about $0.50–$2 per square foot, here are some inspection prices for homes of various sizes. These prices apply to all tasks that a structural engineer might perform.

Home Size in Sq. Ft.Cost Range

Accessibility of the Foundation

Some types of foundations, such as walkable crawl spaces and unfinished basements, are easy to inspect since the foundation walls are simple to examine. However, if you have a finished basement, a slab, a small crawl space, or landscaping features that prevent easy access to the foundation, the inspection process will take longer. The foundation inspector may need to have drywall or flooring removed to see hidden issues in a finished basement. If the engineer charges by the hour, this will increase the price.

Cost by Accessibility

Most structural engineers charge $100–$500 per hour and may include travel time. Most inspections take an hour or two to complete, but foundations that are difficult to access will take longer to inspect.

Inspection TimeCost Range
1 hour$100–$500
2 hours$200–$1,000
3 hours$300–$1,500
4 hours$400–$2,000
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What Are Additional Foundation Inspection Cost Factors?

Below are some additional factors that may play into the cost of a foundation inspection.

To a certain extent, the cost of living in your area will influence home repair and inspection prices. In areas with a higher cost of living, labor rates will be higher. Cities with more active real estate markets may also come with higher costs since structural engineers may be in higher demand.

Hopefully, you’ll never face a situation where an emergency inspection is necessary, but if you do, you’ll pay more for a rush job. If you have an older home and your foundation has sustained serious damage that you’ve left alone for a long time, or if catastrophic events such as earthquakes, sinkholes, and floods strike, you may not be able to wait days or weeks for an inspection, and the cost will rise accordingly. The best you can do to prevent this is to know the early signs of foundation damage and respond quickly.

In some cases, you may want to ask the engineer to assess other parts of your house for structural integrity at the same time. Foundation damage—or the events that cause it—can compromise chimneys, roofs, decks, retaining walls, and other features. While you’ll pay more for a structural engineer to inspect these features, you’ll likely save on labor by avoiding two separate inspections.

A structural engineer may determine their going rate based on the level of education, specialization, or experience they have. For example, a senior engineer with a doctorate will likely charge more than an engineer with a recent master’s degree.

If an inspector finds structural problems, you must address them quickly. Here are some common jobs taken on by professional foundation repair contractors or other related specialists and what they tend to cost:

What Are Common Foundation Problems and Issues?

Cracks and fractures are early signs of foundation damage, though not all cracks are equally serious. Horizontal cracks are more likely to be a sign of structural issues than vertical cracks. Here are some other problems that may be the result of foundation issues.

Bowing walls, especially in the basement
Gaps between floors and walls
Leaks, standing water, or water damage in the basement or crawl space
Leaning chimney
Sloped or uneven floors
Windows and doors that don’t open or close easily

How Can You Save on a Foundation Inspection?

You’ll need to hire a licensed foundation inspector for a proper report, but you can save money on the inspection process with the following tips.

  • Hire an independent engineer. Foundation repair companies may offer free foundation inspections, but they’re more likely to be biased toward getting you to use their services.
  • Clear away as many obstacles from the foundation and basement walls as possible, reducing the time the inspection takes and, thus the hourly cost.
  • Hire a top-rated inspector as soon as you notice problem signs. The inspection will cost less if it’s not an emergency, and repairs will be less extensive if you catch the problem early.
  • To ensure you’re getting the most out of your time, list questions to ask the inspector when they’re at the property.
  • To reduce the need for inspections, focus on foundation maintenance. This includes checking that gutters are functioning, making sure that water isn’t pooling around your foundation, and filling in small cracks with epoxy before they get larger.

Should You DIY vs. Professional Foundation Inspection?

While you can identify some common foundation issues yourself, you’ll need to hire a professional for a full engineering report.

DIY Foundation Inspection

Most homeowners don’t have the engineering knowledge or training to perform a proper home foundation inspection or identify the causes of any problems they find. That said, it’s important to visually inspect your foundation occasionally to look for any potential warning signs. You don’t need an engineering degree to spot horizontal foundation cracks or bowing walls. However, once you notice those things, it’s time to call an expert.

Professional Foundation Inspection

To properly understand the condition of your foundation, you’ll need to hire a structural engineer. This is different from a generalized home inspector, who looks at the entirety of a home and spots surface-level problems. A structural engineer will charge more, but they’ll prepare a full inspection report that lists foundation problems, their likely causes, and recommendations for repair.

How To Hire a Profession Inspector

Hiring a structural engineer is a bit different from hiring a handyperson or a contractor, so here are some tips to get you started:

Homebuyers can reach out to their mortgage lenders for a list of qualified local engineers. Even if you’re not involved in a real estate transaction, you can ask local builders or even friends and neighbors for referrals.
If you can’t get a personal referral, check the website for your state’s Structural Engineers Association or the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Although not all states require structural engineers to have a license, we recommend hiring only licensed engineers. Ask for proof of up-to-date licensure.
Ask for a sample report, and make sure you understand what you’re looking at.
Check the engineer or inspection company’s Better Business Bureau webpage for information on rating, accreditation, and customer complaints.
Look at customer reviews on review sites like Trustpilot and Google Reviews.

Our Conclusion

Requesting a foundation inspection can be anxiety-provoking because the cost of foundation repair tends to be so high. However, the alternative is potentially ignoring problems until they become severe enough to compromise your home’s structural integrity. Inspection reports are helpful to both homeowners protecting their investments and potential buyers looking for more information before making a significant purchase. We recommend contacting a structural engineer for a foundation inspection whenever you have concerns.

To learn more about how we research and recommend foundation repair companies, check out our detailed rating methodology.

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FAQ About Foundation Inspection Cost

What is included in a professional foundation inspection?

During a foundation inspection, a structural engineer will inspect your entire house, both inside and out, looking for potential problems. They’ll write up their findings in a report that includes any problems, their causes, and recommendations for solutions.

Should I hire a structural engineer or a foundation inspector?

You should hire a structural engineer if you have reason to suspect foundation damage. A home inspector is a general type of inspector who will recommend that you hire a structural engineer if they spot signs of foundation problems.

How long does a typical foundation inspection take?

Most home foundation inspections take an hour or two, but large or complex foundations may require more time.

Are foundation inspections necessary for all homes?

Foundation inspections are only necessary when issues are noted or suspected, but many homeowners and buyers request them to protect their investments.

What are the signs that indicate I need a foundation inspection?

You likely need a foundation inspection if you see any of the following signs.

  • Bowing walls
  • Doors and windows that are hard to open or close
  • Gaps between walls and floors
  • Horizontal cracks
  • Leaning chimney
  • Uneven floors
  • Water in the basement or crawl space

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