What Happens to the Existing Foundation During the Home Elevation Process

Elevating a house usually requires that new means of access be provided. For example, if your entry doors were originally at ground level, new staircases, elevators, or ramps will have to be built. When an attached garage is elevated, providing access for vehicles may require changes to portions of your lot, such as building a new, elevated driveway on earth fill that ties into high ground elsewhere.

This solution can be practical when the amount of elevation required is no more than 2 or 3 feet. As noted earlier, when the amount of elevation reaches 4 or more feet, you should consider elevating your house a full story so that you can use the lower level for parking and avoid the need for an elevated driveway. The need to provide new means of access is often the main objection that homeowners have to elevating. But functional and attractive solutions to this problem can usually be developed.

In general, the larger the house and the more complex its design and shape, the more difficult it will be to lift on jacks. Multistory houses are more difficult to stabilize during the lifting process, and as the dimensions and weight of a house increase, so do the required numbers of jacks and other pieces of lifting equipment. Exterior wall coverings such as stucco and brick veneer complicate the lifting process because they must either be removed or braced so that they will stay in place when the house is lifted. Houses with simple square or rectangular shapes are easier to lift than those with attached garages, porches, wings, or additions, which often must be detached and lifted separately, especially if they are built on separate foundations.

Before a house is lifted, a design professional should inspect it to verify its structural soundness. All the structural members and their connections must be able to withstand the stresses imposed by the lifting process. Lifting an unsound house can lead to potentially expensive damage.

Before your house is elevated, all utility lines (water, sewer, gas, electric, telephone, etc.) must be disconnected. At the end of the project, the lines will be reconnected and any landscaping that may be necessary will be completed. If you elevate your house on an open foundation, utility lines that enter the house from below may be exposed to damage from flooding and below-freezing temperatures. Protecting utility lines in these situations usually involves anchoring them securely to vertical foundation members and, if necessary, insulating them. All service equipment outside the house, such as air conditioning and heat pump compressors and gas and electric meters, must be elevated to or above the FPE.

In houses with basements, any service equipment originally installed in the basement will have to be raised above the FPE, which may require relocation to an upper floor. This should be researched and explored thoroughly before the project begins and all appropriate plans and permits should be obtained. The process will take significant amounts of time and effort to complete, but with careful and consistent planning, additional time and expense can be avoided, providing homeowners a significant benefit for the investment.

We'd love to here from you

Contact us today to learn how we can help you elevate your home or business to secure your biggest assets.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Yellow banner
Yellow banner