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DIY House Lifting – Why You Shouldn’t Jack up Your House on Your Own

Jacking up your house is a huge endeavor. And chances are, by trying to do DIY house lifting or literally jacking up your house, you’ll figuratively jack it up, too. There are so many moving pieces that have to come together to successfully lift a structure of any kind. And when it’s your home, likely your biggest investment, you want to make sure it’s done right. Leave it up to the professionals and don’t try to do a DIY house lifting. But if you need reasons why you shouldn’t jack up your house on your own, we’ve compiled a list for you.

Safety

First and foremost, you should not jack up your house on your own because of safety hazards. No matter how much you’ve Googled and Youtubed methods, and no matter how many blogs you’ve perused to outline your process, we urge you not to attempt to raise your house on your own—not even a quarter of an inch.

Professionals know exactly how jacking up a house should go. They have experience, the manpower, the equipment, and the paperwork necessary to do the job correctly and safely. Some home projects you could do on your own, like painting or floating drywall. But when it comes to lifting up a building, you pose a huge safety risk to yourself and anyone else who comes in close proximity to your home.

Insurance

Professional house lifters not only have the ability to jack up your house safely; they have the insurance necessary in case something happens to go wrong. You, on the other hand, most likely do not.

Most homeowner’s insurance policies exclude coverage for issues like foundation cracking or sinking. If you try to jack up your home on your own, you are very likely to encounter these issues and damage your home. And when that happens, you’ll have to make these repairs out of pocket, which can cost you thousands of dollars. If you’re going to take the risk of spending that money on out-of-pocket repairs, think twice. You’d be better off investing that money in a professional house-lifting company to do the job right with the insurance coverage necessary in case of an emergency.

Structural Damage

As mentioned above, the risk for damage when you try to jack up your house is extremely high. The timing and method of house lifting has to be approached with extreme precision and care. If even the slightest mistake is made, you run the risk of causing not only cosmetic but structural damage to your home.

On the other hand, if you hire a professional house lifter, the damage to your home will be minimal if there is any at all. Damage resulting from a house lift done by the pros might involve a hairline crack on your drywall, but that’s typically it.

Equipment Needs

The equipment necessary to safely and successfully jack up your house is hard to come by. Ordinary hydraulic jacks won’t cut it. You’ll need heavy-duty 20-ton or 40-ton house jacks. Buying them outright will cost an arm and a leg, but renting them is a risky idea because you could bend the screws, rendering the jacks useless. Another option is to use screw jacks, but even then, you’ll need to install cribbing, which is tricky and extremely dangerous if not done right. Certified house lifters will have all of the best equipment needed to jack your house up safely, and they’ll have the know-how to use it correctly.

Slow Pace

Lifting a house, even just an inch, is a lengthy endeavor. You’ll need to give the home plenty of time to settle between lifts. This is problematic for a few reasons. The first is that the longer you have to wait for the house to settle each day, the longer you’ll have to rent your jacks (which we don’t recommend. See the above point.)

The other concern is that, even against sound advice, DIY lifters will try to speed the process along, lifting the house more than is recommended per day. The best option for you is to hire a house lifter who knows the protocols and can take care of your lift safely.

Jack Placement

It takes experience and expertise to secure house jacks in the proper place to successfully lift your home. When you try to do it yourself, there’s a huge chance that you’ll place them too close or too far, missing the sweet spot that you’re searching for, and cause damage. It won’t take long for you to lift the jacks, hear your house crackle and groan, and then realize you should have just hired the professionals.

Permits

Whether or not you are a professional, you’ll need a permit to lift your house, no matter how small the lift is. While most home permits cost less than $500, a permit to jack up your home can cost between $2,500 and $5,000 dollars. For this reason, hire a professional. You are already going to be spending thousands of dollars on paperwork to make this project happen. You want it to be done right, and you can trust it’ll be done right when you hire someone who does this every day.

Conclusion

If you take just one thing away from this article, let it be this: do not jack up your house on your own. It’s not safe. It’s not economical. And it won’t be done to the standards of a professional house lifter. Do your home, your wallet, and your sanity a favor, and put your house-lifting project in the hands of an expert.

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