Having a basement is a fantastic way to add living space, storage, and value to your home. And just because your home doesn’t have one now doesn’t mean you can’t have one at all. Lifting your house to add a basement is a great way to reap the benefits of the extra space without having to move or build a new home entirely. But before you have your home lifted for basement construction, there are a few things you need to know. We’ve organized some tips so you can know what to expect before you have your home lifted to add a basement.
Hire a General Contractor
When adding a basement to your home, there is a lot of construction work that will have to take place that most lifting contractors do not do. In addition to actually constructing and finishing your basement, you’ll need to have utilities disconnected, permits obtained, and more. Your general contractor can walk you through the checklist of thing you need to have done both prior and post lift.
Remove Items Surrounding the Base of Your Home
Lifting your home for a basement addition is exciting, and if you’re working with a professional contractor, there will be very little physical effort on your part to make it happen. However, you will be responsible for ensuring the perimeter of your home is clear and accessible for your contractor’s lifting equipment. The obvious items need to be moved, like flowerpots, water hoses, or décor.
But you also need to think about more permanent fixtures of your home. If you’ve got decking, it will need to be dismantled and taken away before the lift begins. The same goes with landscaping, shrubs, or trees. In order for your contractor to dig out a basement, they’ll need to have complete access to the foundation of your home with absolutely no obstructions.
Check with Your Neighbors
When you have your home lifted, the construction might affect more people than you and your family. Will the lifting contractor have to disturb your neighbor’s property in order to prepare and lift your house for your basement addition? If there’s only a few feet between your property line and your neighbor’s, chances are, the lifting equipment might roll over into their yard. You will want to check with your neighbors to make sure they are comfortable with their property being disturbed while the project takes place.
If you would rather not ask your neighbors for their permission—or if they refuse to allow your contractor to use the edge of their property—your contractor might be able to alter their lifting methods, so you don’t have to give up on the dream of adding a basement to your home! Try to have this conversation with your neighbor far in advance of the project so you can prepare to proceed as normal, or so your contractor can make other plans for your home’s lift. And remember, if you’re unsure, just ask! Your neighbor’s might be more open to your basement addition than you’re giving them credit for.
Mark Your Utilities
Safety is top priority throughout the house-lifting process. Your lifting contractor or general contractor will usually make the calls to your public utility companies and mark out the ground before they begin digging. Have this conversation with them beforehand just to be certain.
But you carry the responsibility of marking out your private utilities. Your well, septic tank and plumbing, any underground electric or gas lines—mark these clearly with spray paint or fluorescent flagging so the lift crew won’t miss them.
Identify Potential Water Issues
Identifying water or flooding hazards takes place both inside and outside of your home. Before you lift to add a basement, you need to make sure your existing plumbing is in perfect condition so your new basement isn’t filled with water.
Outside of your home, be aware of places in your yard where water pools. If you notice that you do have water standing close to your home, be sure to have the ground graded away from your house—and new basement. The worst thing you can do when having your home lifted to add a basement is to neglect signs of potential flooding.
Consider the Cost –and the Reward
As with any home renovation project, you’ve got to consider how a home lift for a basement addition will add value to your house. And like other home projects, a lift is going to be an investment up front. But, adding a basement with a house lift adds a ton of value to your home. You increase your square footage and living space, making it more enjoyable for you and more appealing to potential home buyers should you ever choose to sell.
A house lift is always a big endeavor, but when you choose professional and proven lifting contractors, it can go off without a hitch. By following the tips we’ve outlined above, lifting your home to add a basement can be a pleasant experience that adds significant value to your home.