There are many reasons why you might want to lift your home. Many people choose to have their home elevated after a natural disaster (or before one) to prevent flooding. Lifting your home is also a great way to add square footage to your living space if you don’t have the ability to build horizontally. You can excavate for a basement or make room to repair a deteriorating foundation. Whatever reason you have for lifting your home, it is a big undertaking, and you need a house lifter who can do it safely, correctly, and without compromising the structural integrity of your house. Once you’ve got your team established, it’s time to get to work. We’ve outlined five helpful tips to guide you along in the process.
Hire a General Contractor
In addition to finding a house-lifting company to do the work of elevating your home, you will need to hire a general contractor. Your home will need to be surveyed; excavation will need to take place; you’ll need a new foundation; and you might need light repairs after all is said and done.
It’s best to take precautionary measures and hire a general contractor. That way, when you do need their services, you won’t be scrambling to secure someone at the last minute.
Even though your home won’t be moving locations, you’ll still need city or government permits to have it elevated. You can go to your local government, explain that you need a permit to lift your home, and they will point you in the right direction.
House lifting permits can be pretty costly depending on your location. Be prepared to spend several thousand on all of the paperwork you will need to see this project through. That’s one reason you want to hire house lifters who are experienced with a great track record: you want the job done right the first time.
Prepare Your Home
The great news about having your home lifted is that you don’t have to do any special prep to the inside of your home. The lifting is so gradual that your belonging and furniture—even things hanging on your wall—won’t move much, if at all. If your home has a basement, however, you will need to clear that space out.
You will need to make sure that all of your utility lines are disconnected. If you’ve hired a general contractor, they can take care of this for you. Your sewer, water, gas, electric, telephone, and anything else coming to your house through a wire or pipe must be safely disconnected and turned off before lifting can begin.
If you will be elevating your house on an open foundation, bear in mind that utility lines that enter from below are subject to flooding and freezing. Be sure that these lines are re-anchored and insulated after the lifting is complete.
Make Plans for the Foundation
There are multiple ways to lift your home, even if it’s resting on a concrete slab. In some cases, your lifter will install beams a few feet above your present slab to lift your home. This allows you to build up your foundation and frame a new floor system, then lower the walls down onto it. But if you want to simply elevate the current slab, you can do that too. The weight of a concrete slab will cause a lot of stress, so your new foundation will have to be engineered to handle that extra weight.
Regardless of your current foundation and floor or slab, an experienced house lifter will be able to accommodate your needs. You’ll need to work with them and your general contractor to ensure everyone is on the same page, and you’re getting the foundation you need post-lifting.
Factor in Unexpected Costs
When you’re thinking about having your home lifted, the costs don’t stop at the elevation itself. There can potentially be hidden costs waiting for you during the home-lifting process.
Usually, your home will have landscaping of some sort which gets in the way of the actual lifting. If you aren’t prepared to remove your landscaping or cut down trees that will encumber the project, you will need to find a company to do that for you in advance of the project’s start.
Additionally, in some cases, your home will experience minor cracking during lifting. This can be remedied quite easily by a general contractor. While this isn’t the case for everyone, it can happen, so you want to be prepared for minor repairs like these.
As you can see, there are many hands that work together to successfully lift a house. But when you choose a house lifter with the experience and equipment to do it right, it’s a great investment that will preserve your home, allow you to add more space, and ultimately increase the value of your property.