Home Elevation: The Basics Explained

House lifting may not be the most typical home renovation project, but in Houston, it’s a fairly common undertaking among homeowners. While the motivations for lifting a house may vary, most Houstonians opt for this solution to either fix a foundation that’s starting to fail or safeguard their living areas against flooding.

Irrespective of the primary reason for lifting a house, it’s advisable to raise the base of any Houston home above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) that’s specified for the area. This is the only guaranteed way to protect a home in a flood-prone zone from future flooding.

Considerations Before Lifting a Home

When it comes to elevating a house, it’s a complicated undertaking that requires plenty of planning to avoid any issues during the process. To guarantee that everything goes as smoothly as possible, our professionals take the following factors into consideration:

House size – The size of the house plays a significant role as a larger home typically means a heavier structure that’s more challenging to lift compared to a smaller home. Since safely lifting a larger home requires more resources such as equipment, manpower, and more work, the process of completing the lift will take more time and be more costly.

Home Design: Uncommon floor designs that deviate from standard layouts can impact the lifting process, and additional tasks may need to be performed. Structures like garages, patios, decks, and sheds that are attached to the house may also need to be removed temporarily and re-attached after the home has been lifted to the desired level.

Existing Damage: Our professionals meticulously evaluate every factor that may affect your foundation’s stability and your home’s structural integrity, including any existing damage. If your home has previously sustained flood damage, repairs may be necessary before the lifting process can commence. For example, a large crack in the foundation can compromise the structural integrity of the home during elevation. In such cases, it’s vital to repair the crack before lifting the structure.

To evaluate your home’s overall condition and determine if any repairs or accommodations are necessary before lifting, our team conducts a thorough inspection of the entire house, including the foundation. It’s important to note that certain issues like cracks in the siding or interior plaster, or minor structural imperfections that can be easily remedied by a general contractor, may arise as a result of the lift.

House Lifting: How it is Done

The tasks that a house lifting contractor performs to elevate your home will vary based on the type of foundation you have. If your home has a slab-on-grade foundation, workers must first dig tunnels that provide access to the area beneath the slab. This process, known as under-slab tunneling, involves excavating one tunnel at a time, inserting beams, and positioning hydraulic jacks in each tunnel according to the specifications. On the other hand, if your home has a pier and beam foundation, the contractor will use the crawlspace to access the area beneath your home. Lifters will then place all the hydraulic jacks needed directly under the beams.

Once positioned, the hydraulic jacks are connected to a unified jacking machine that lifts all the jacks simultaneously at the same rate. This ensures the entire home remains level during the lifting process. Once the home is elevated a few inches, our team inspects the entire structure to confirm it is safe to continue lifting. As the jacks are raised incrementally, cribbing – a robust interlocking system made of timber – is used to support the home. The house is typically lifted a bit higher than the desired level.

For a beam and pier foundation, our team will extend the existing piers up to the specified level. If additional support is needed, we will install extra concrete piers to ensure the entire structure is adequately supported. On the other hand, if the home has a slab-on-grade foundation, our contractors will construct a new concrete subfloor and install all necessary piers. Once these tasks are finished, the home will be lowered to its final height using the same hydraulic jacks. Typically, the process of lifting a home is slow and methodical, involving a gradual increase of just a few inches at a time. However, in the case of a pier and beam foundation that is in good condition, the lifting process can be completed in as little as a day.

Schedule Your Free Estimate Today!

    AAA Foundation Service

    Finding a professional and experienced house lifting contractor is essential for a successful home elevation project. With the right contractor, you can rest assured that the job will be done safely and efficiently. At AAA Foundation Service, we have a team of experts who specialize in home elevations and foundation repairs. Whether you have questions about the process or need assistance with your home elevation project, we are here to help. Feel free to reach out to us for more information.

    Chris Bartlett
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