Saturday, June 20, 2015

Were you in the flood plane and need your house lifted? Read this first.

We are getting a lot of calls right now from the Meyerland area of Houston, with people that have questions over the process of lifting their house out of the flood plane.  The average range of lift is 4 feet higher than current elevation.  I would like to write this to help with some of you considering this process, so you can understand all that goes into it.

The first piece of advice I can give is the first call you should make is to a General Contractor.  Why?  Because this is not a project of simply lifting the house 4 feet in the air.  There are many parts to these projects.  The lifting part is for a foundation repair or foundation lifting company, the rest of the parts are putting everything back together after it is lifted 4 feet. 

Lifting a house 4 feet is a lengthy, time taking process.  It involves install piers inside and outside the home, manually lifting it, and setting the piers when it's done.  There are other parts to this process to consider however.  Do you want your floors broken through, or do you want it tunneled? Is your garage attached or detached, does it need to be lifted as well?  Does your house have interior beams, will there need to be steel added underneath in order to lift it?  Those are some of the things to consider in the lifting process.

The things that are not under the scope of work for foundation repair/lifting companies, that you need to know about are many, but here are a few.

1) Gas, Electric, Plumbing, and every other utility line to the house will need to be completely re-done.  Lifting a house 4 feet means that all these lines which where put on to a house that was on the ground, will now need to be disconnect prior to lifting, and re-connected after the lift is completed. 

2) Your sewer lines will be completely destroyed by this process.  Once the house is lifted, all of your sewer lines will be broken.  You will need to run new sewer lines accross the entire house.

3) There will now be a 4 foot void under the house.  What are you going to build around the house to hide it? Most of the mandates that I've seen require these voids to be "open air" voids, meaning that you can not refill them with soil.  That means that you can not regrade with soil to the foundation either, and most lots in Meyerland aren't big enough to properly grade a house four feet higher from where it currently sits.  The option is building a decorative wall around the house in order to hide the void, and the piers.  This will also protect the piers in the future.  It also helps it look much nicer :)

4) After the house is lifted, you will need drains installed afterwards.  The area where the house sat will be lower than the rest of the lot, meaning water will always intrude when it rains.  In order to protect the piers that where just installed, drains will need to be put in.

5) Your house will need steps.  Every point of entry or exit around your house will now be 4 feet high off the ground.  Foundation repair companies don't build steps. 

6) If your garage is lifted, you will need a new driveway.

7) If you have pool decking, patios, or driveways that but up to the house, it will need to be removed so the house can be lifted.  That concrete will grab on to the foundation, and make it impossible to lift.  It will also break when the house is lifted.

8) There will be a ton of cosmetic damage to your house when lifted.  Lifting a house 4 feet is not an easy process, and your house is not designed to be lifted 4 feet in the air.  Your house is designed to sit as it currently sits.  It will crack.  There will be cracks in the brick, there will be cracks in tile flooring, there will be cracks in sheetrock and ceilings.

9) There may be roof damage, or other structural damage (i.e. wall studs, roof rafters, etc.) when the house is lifted.  Same reasons as above.

10) You will no longer have a slab, you will have a suspended slab which is entirely different.  Your floors will sound hollow when it's completed.

11) Cost.  Average cost just for the lifting for most houses is around $85,000.00.  Before you decide to go ahead with that, you really need to look at all the other costs involved.  That's why hiring a General contractor to aid you through the process is extremely important.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to call us.  We'll be happy to answer any questions that you have, and assist you in any way we can!

Thanks for reading,

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