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How High Should You Elevate Your Home in a Flood Plain?

Millions of Americans live along coastlines, major river ways, and the Great Lakes. These areas can be subject to intense and sporadic flooding. Structural elevation is a popular and growing trend among homeowners to keep their home safe from flooding.

What Is Home Elevation?

Home elevation is simply detaching the house from the existing foundation, elevating the structure and building a brand new, taller foundation or extending the current foundation. Home elevation is common in areas where flooding occurs.

More and more communities are requiring that new homes be built at moderate to high-risk Flood Protection Elevation (FPE). FPE is the term used by the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) to describe how high a house should be. FEMA recommends that the living area of the house be above the one hundred year flood mark. Homes that are older or already built in a flood plain may be required to be elevated before building permits for additions or remodeling are issued.

Ways to Elevate Your Home

There are several different ways a home may be elevated, depending on the flood zone or community floodplain requirements. First, the house can be elevated for a new block, helical or pier foundation. Or, in some cases, the existing foundation can be extended. After the structure is separated from the foundation, a hydraulic jacking machine is used to lift the home uniformly and slowly up as much as needed to install the new or extended foundation.

For homes located in V Zones, wood piles will likely be required. For this type of foundation, the house is rolled away from the existing foundation so the wood piles can be driven into the ground. After the piles are installed, they are trimmed to the proper height. The house is then lifted and rolled on to the new piling foundation and secured.

It may also be possible to leave the house in place and either build an elevated floor within the house or raise the roof and add a new upper story. This would move the living areas to the second and third levels of the home. The first floor would essentially become a garage, storage area, or recreation space.

How High Should You Go?

Homeowners may be required to elevate if their home is located in a food zone and is declared substantially damaged by the local foodplain administrator. New construction homes may be required to be built to minimum flood protection elevations (FPE).Local zoning and code laws may set a minimum limit to meet FPE.

DeVooght House Lifters can help you g started with the elevation process. We can answer your questions and guide you through the steps of home elevation. Give us a call at 844-203-9912.

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