If your home has started to develop cracks around its foundation, then you need to understand that it may have a major foundational issue or a simple drainage problem that can easily be rectified. Foundation drainage issues can often be fixed by just re-grading your property or installing a French drain; major foundational problems can require that your entire house be jacked up and piers installed below it. The repair cost will vary widely depending on the cause of the foundation's problem and how much labor is involved in fixing the issue.
Here is some information on each type of foundation repair so that you have a better understanding what your construction contractor is speaking about when they talk to you about the problem and solution for your home:
Re-Grading Your Property to Divert Storm Water
When your home was first built, the site was excavated and leveled. Rather than making the land flat, it would have been graded in such a way that storm water drains away from the foundation of the house. As time has passed and previous owners have landscaped the property, the site may have lost some of its grading. To fix this type of drainage problem, your contractor can re-grade the site so that storm water will once again drain properly. Of all of your repair options, this is generally the least expensive.
Installing a French drain to Divert Storm Water
If your home was built on land that does not drain well, then you may need to have a French drain installed to help drain storm water. A French drain is a long pipe that is buried all the way around your home below the grade of your home. The pipe is buried in a trench of gravel that helps to disperse the water away from your home's foundation. While installing a French drain isn't cheap, it is less expensive than having your home's foundation anchored with piers.
Foundation Anchoring with Piers
Finally, if you are not fortunate to have a drainage problem and your house requires realignment of the concrete slab, then the home will need to be jacked up along its perimeter and anchored to the ground below using special piers. To perform this extensive repair, the foundation will be unearthed all the way around your home and special hydraulic jacks will be used to raise the foundation until the slab is once again level. Once the foundation is level, then it will have anchoring piers attached to the bottom of the slab to hold it in place. As you can imagine, jacking up a home and anchoring it with piers is not typically an inexpensive proposition.
For more information about your options, contact a company like American Mud Jack Inc.