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How Much Does It Cost To Install A Concrete Wall?

National Average Change Location | View National
$5,655
Typical Range
$2,791 - $9,390
Low End
$830
High End
$20,000

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On This Page:

  1. Cost Considerations
  2. Basement Cost Factors
  3. Retaining Wall Cost Factors
  4. Pros & Cons of Concrete Walls
  5. Waterproofing
  6. Poured Concrete vs. Block Walls

There are a number of different reasons to install a concrete wall. In some cases, a retaining wall is decorative, creating a border for the property. In other cases, you might install a concrete floor as foundation for your home. There are various uses for concrete walls, whether in home construction (basements, walls) or in your landscape (walkways, porches, etc.). To make sure you don’t overpay for any of these projects, consider some of the factors and cost ranges listed below.

Cost Considerations

The average cost to install a concrete wall is $5,655 though the total price could range anywhere between $2,791 and $9,390. Some of the factors that go into building a wall include:

  • Materials: There are various materials that go into the construction of concrete walls, in addition to the concrete itself. You’ll pay for the equipment, framing materials and any extra materials for finishing or painting.
  • Labor: The labor will probably be just as much, if not more, than the cost of the materials. As much as 85% of the total cost might go into labor alone. Expect to pay about $35 per hour on average.
  • Delivery: First, you'll want to know how much concrete you need and how far it will have to travel to reach the site. Find out what you need to know about concrete delivery.
  • Excavation: If you don’t have a flat surface for the pouring, you will pay extra for the professional to level the area. This usually costs around $10 per cubic meter during the estimate.
  • Finish: If you want to personalize the concrete or finish it in anyway, you will pay extra for that as well. Some examples include smooth, exposed aggregate or stamped. Expect to pay about $.75 per square foot.
  • Engineers: If you need to hire an engineer to oversee the project and make estimates for the space, you will pay for his services separate from the installers. Our structural engineer Cost Guide can give you an idea of price to hire.
  • Reinforcement: Adding rebar helps to keep it reinforced, increasing strength and resistance to elements. There are different types -- plain, fiberglass, mesh -- and you’ll pay about $0.15 per square foot for it.
  • Drainage: If there is not proper drainage around or underneath the concrete’s location, you will need to pay for that installation. Check out our Cost Guide for more information and average costs.
  • Permit & taxes: These will not be included in the estimate for the installation. You will need to figure out how much your local municipality will charge for a permit. Check out the building permit Cost Guide for more information.

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Basement Cost Factors

A properly installed concrete foundation holds the house in place and insulates against the elements. It should also keep out any moisture and be unaffected by the dirt moving underneath it. As such, if you have a basement beneath your home, the foundation must be secure if you ever want to finish it. The average cost to install a concrete foundation is $7,600, but is subject to change depending on size, width and what kind you install.

The three types of concrete foundations are slab on grade, crawl space foundation and a full basement foundation. If you want a basement, you will need to have the third type installed. It must have 8- to 10-foot walls to adequately support the entire house.

Some factors that will also influence the cost of a full basement concrete foundation are:

  • Where you live -- can vary in price by region ($13K to $27K)
  • Thickness and PSI (pounds per square inch) concrete rating
  • Type of steel reinforcement (i.e. rebar) -- more info on price in our Cost Guide
  • Clearing, land grading and digging (i.e. excavation) -- $2,000
  • Width and height of the walls
  • If you add plumbing or other utilities -- $1,000+
  • Windows and window wells -- $1,000
  • Waterproofing and backfill -- $1,200
  • Flatwork for the basement -- $1,800
  • Labor prices in the region
  • Material prices in the region
  • Soil and groundwater conditions

On average, you’re going to probably spend anywhere from $13,000 to $30,000 for a full basement foundation.

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Retaining Wall Cost Factors

Concrete retaining walls serve one or both of two purposes -- adding to the landscape and preventing grade sloping. The latter helps to protect against drainage problems, which can lead to flooding in your home and damage to the foundation. The average cost of a retaining wall installation is $5,200, but again you could pay far less or more depending on a few factors.

Some major factors to keep in mind when installing a concrete retaining wall are:

  • Materials: You can either use concrete stone blocks or poured concrete. You’re going to probably pay anywhere from $750 to $2,000 for the wall, including the additional materials needed to construct it.
  • Labor: The cost of a retaining wall equates to about $10 to $15 per square foot, unless they charge by the hour.
  • Additional needs: The retaining wall will need a backfill, drainage and a good base. You could pay an additional $200 to $400 for excavation and backfilling.
  • Permit: You might need a permit to build a retaining wall. It will vary by district. You can use the permit cost guide mentioned above to get an idea of price.

If you aren’t keen on using concrete for your retaining wall, understand there are various other materials like wood and stone as alternative options. However, poured concrete will be the best defense against any drainage or grade sloping issues. It might cost a lot initially, but it pays back in defending your home and landscape.

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Pros and Cons of Concrete Walls

When considering whether or not to use concrete walls, there are various pros and cons to compare against what you want to spend. Here are some of the major advantages and disadvantages to keep in mind:

Pros:

  • Durability and strength: Concrete withstands a variety of tough conditions.
  • Affordability: Poured concrete is cheaper than bricks or other masonry types.
  • Resistance to fires:It is completely resistant to that kind of damage.
  • Keeps out pests like ants

Cons:

  • Potential cracks & water leaks: If the wall is damaged by extreme climate conditions or damage, you can deal with drainage problems. That’s why you should consider sealing the concrete for best results.
  • Unappealing aesthetic: It doesn’t look good on its own in grey. However, you can paint or stain it for more appeal.
  • No DIY installation option: You can’t install a concrete wall by yourself. You can reduce some of the costs like excavation and backfilling though.
  • More expensive than wood

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Waterproofing Concrete

Keeping the concrete dry protects against a lot of potential moisture and damage (cracks, missing pieces, etc.). Typical concrete is not built to be waterproof by default, so you will need to take steps to make it waterproof. Some steps to waterproofing this material include:

  1. Move water away from the wall using proper drainage. French drains are a good consideration, as well as other drainage options like sloping.
  2. Treat the walls so they route water down and away, as well as protect against moisture buildup. Pipes are helpful here, as well as sealing and proper insulation.
  3. Treat the ground surface so that it drains away from the concrete structure. This is where you can regrade the soil so it slopes away from the wall instead of towards it.

Once you have these methods set up around the concrete wall, you stand a better chance of avoiding moisture damage. If you have to fix the wall because of water damage, you’re looking at a lot of money and time, as well as potential other problems that pop up as a result. Most of these methods are easy to do as DIY projects, though for the second you should consult a plumber or an insulation professional for best results.

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Poured Concrete vs. Block Walls

So what’s the difference between pouring concrete versus installing a block wall? Well, the answer is the block wall is made from the poured version. Both of them are high-yield in durability and strength for any type of wall needed inside or out. The key is for them to be installed correctly.

Concrete block is made from Portland cement, gravel and sand. However, block walls use bigger pieces of gravel than poured concrete. This can sometimes put the wall at risk with consistent moisture buildup or heavy moisture climate conditions. Poured concrete, on the other hand, is solid. It comes as a ready mix and is poured into whatever form is needed. Plus, blocks are often hollow, whereas poured concrete is not. You can fill the hollow spaces, but there’s still a risk.

Both of them share the same pros and cons -- durability vs. no waterproofing -- but in the end, it’s just a matter of how much you want to spend and where it’s being used. A block wall might serve a landscape wall well, but you might want to lean towards poured concrete when building your house on a foundation.

How much do cinder blocks cost? Consult our Cinder Block Wall Cost Guide to budget for your next project.
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John Brodt More than 1 year ago
These estimates are way off. The article states under excavation $10 per cubic meter. Wow I wish it was that cheap to remove 2700 pounds of dirt. Call the the local garbage debris dumps and ask them what they charge to take the dirt. They charge here in Sonoma county $78 per ton. So 78 times 1.35 tons is $105 dollars in disposal fees. And nobody is going to dig that much work for only $10 please, and then haul it to the dumps for you for another $10.  Where is this site getting it's data points?

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