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Foundation Replacement vs. Foundation Repair: Which is Better?

Bay Area Underpinning worker inserting pier in to the soil.

The foundation of your home is like the legs of a table – it keeps everything balanced and upright. At Bay Area Underpinning, we understand how crucial a solid foundation is, especially in the Bay Area, where soil and environmental challenges are unique.

This blog is meant to help homeowners decide between foundation repair and foundation replacement, ensuring your home stays safe and secure with an informed decision.

Foundation Repair: What to Know

Foundation repair can mean a few different things, like underpinning, which uses piers to make your foundation strong again. For homes with crawl spaces or pier and beam structures, crawl space support jacks can level out sagging floors. Sonotubes can also reinforce pier and beam foundations.

No matter the tools used for the job or your specific foundation type, foundation repair fixes the existing structure and can keep it safe in the long run.

Types of Foundation Repair Methods

Pier installed on foundation footing.
  • Foundation Piers: These go deep into the soil and attach the foundation footing to provide your home with solid support.
  • Crawl Space Support Jacks: These are perfect for fixing foundation problems stemming from crawl space damage. Most importantly, the lift and support sagging floors.
  • Sonotubes: These concrete tubes help make pier and beam foundations stronger.

Advantages of Foundation Repair

Repairing a foundation is usually less invasive to your property and doesn’t disrupt your life as much. It’s an approach that can extend your foundation’s life and repair damage at the same time. Ultimately, foundation repair can actually save you money in the long run, as you won’t have to invest in a new foundation and damage will be avoided for the foreseeable future.

Potential Limitations of Repair

In cases of severe structural damage, repair may not be the best solution. Additionally, not all repair techniques are suitable for every type of foundation or soil condition, making a professional inspection all the more important. Ultimately, understanding these limitations is key to making a decision about the long-term stability and safety of your home.

Foundation Replacement: What to Know

When foundation repair methods like underpinning, crawl space support jacks, or sonotubes aren’t sufficient to address the extent of damage, foundation replacement becomes a necessary step. This process involves the complete removal of the existing foundation and constructing a new one from scratch. It’s a comprehensive solution that not only addresses the visible symptoms of foundation issues but also tackles the underlying causes, ensuring a long-term resolution.

The Process of Foundation Replacement

Excavator machine being used to clear soil from around a foundation.

Foundation replacement is a significant undertaking that starts with excavating the soil around the existing foundation. This step is crucial to remove the damaged foundation safely and prepare the site for the new construction. Once the old foundation is removed, a new one is built in its place, often with modern materials and techniques that offer improved durability and stability.

When is Foundation Replacement Necessary?

There are specific scenarios where replacement is the only viable option. These include extensive structural failure, where the foundation is beyond repair, or when significant shifts in the soil have made the current foundation untenable. Foundation replacement might also be recommended when the existing foundation does not comply with current building codes or when enhancing the property’s value is a priority.

Advantages of Foundation Replacement

The primary advantage of foundation replacement is its comprehensiveness. By addressing both the symptoms and the causes of foundation issues, it provides a permanent solution to foundation problems. Additionally, a new foundation can significantly increase the value of your home, improve its safety, and ensure compliance with modern building standards.

Challenges of Foundation Replacement

However, foundation replacement is more invasive and typically more costly than foundation repair. It requires a significant amount of time and can disrupt your daily life during the construction period. Homeowners need to prepare for the logistical challenges of such a project, including potential temporary relocation and the need for thorough planning and professional execution.

What Does Foundation Damage Look Like?

Sometimes, knowing what type of foundation damage you’re dealing with can help you make the best decision. Common issues that foundation repair can generally resolve include:

Again, foundation repair can usually fix these issues—but if the damage becomes too severe, it may be better to invest in foundation replacement. A professional evaluation by a foundation expert, like those at Bay Area Underpinning, is essential to making an informed decision that ensures the safety and stability of your home for years to come.


The cost is determined by several factors, including the level of damage and the repair solutions implemented. For a precise quote, get in touch with Bay Area Underpinning. We offer free inspections and estimates, straightforward pricing, and various financing options

Typically, homeowners’ insurance does not cover foundation repairs unless the damage is the result of a covered peril, such as a plumbing leak or damage from a natural disaster. Check with your provider for details. 

The duration of pier and beam foundation repair varies based on damage severity and repair methods. Minor repairs might take a few days, while extensive repairs could take weeks. Projects involving additional piers or complete foundation replacement may take longer.

Making the Decision With Help From Bay Area Underpinning

Bay Area Underpinning inspector shaking hands with homeowner at front door.

In summary, while foundation replacement is a more drastic measure than repair, it offers a fresh start for your home’s foundation, ensuring that it stands on solid ground well into the future. If you’re worried about your foundation, don’t wait—contact Bay Area Underpinning today to schedule a free inspection. Visit our website for more information on our services and to keep your home standing strong for years to come.

Related Resources

Ted Dryce

Ted Dryce

Content Writer

Ted is an SEO Content Writer who has been with Groundworks since 2021. He’s covered home repair topics ranging from crawl space encapsulation to regional soil conditions. When he’s not working, Ted is performing improv comedy and working on his own creative projects.

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