What is a House Lift?
While not a common home renovation project, house lifts have gradually become more popular in certain areas of the country. For those who aren’t sure what this is, it’s not another term for “makeover” or “renovation.” A house lift is literally when a house is separated from its foundation and raised on stilts. This can be done as a means of expanding a home, or in order to add another story below the existing structure. Perhaps most commonly, house lifting is used in hurricane-prone areas in order to protect the house in case of further storms and flooding.
In New Jersey, for example, Tropical Storm Sandy caused billions in damages, and made house lifting a common consideration for homeowners who want to protect their investments for the “next big one.”
But isn’t house lifting complicated? Isn’t it prohibitively expensive?
These are fair questions — and at a glance, house lifting would seem very arduous and costly indeed. But when the right professional are involved, it’s not as tough as it sounds.
How is it done?
Most house lifts are undertaken using screw jacks or hydraulic jacks. The difficulty, cost, and duration of the job all depend on a number of thing. Obviously the size and location of the house play a key role in how complex/expensive the lifting project will be. Experience house lifting contractors will pay special attention to the foundation of the home, and whether or not there is a crawl space (which can make the job easier).
If your house already has a crawl space, chances are it can be lifted without much structural damage to your home. Many contractors can complete this job in less than a week, and without even removing the furniture from your house. On the other hand, if your house is built on a slab with no crawlspace, the procedure is more invasive. This is because the house must be raised from the inside, which can result in damage to walls and windows. The best contractors will be able to minimize damage — and to let you know in advance if any kind of damage can be expected as a result of the operation.
Choosing a Home Renovator for a House Lift
Just like with any home renovation project, you want to be sure to hire a contractor who is trustworthy and reputable. Due to the highly specialized nature of house lifting, it’s essential to find a home renovator who has experience with this specific type of project. Choosing a reputable contractor mean less hassle for you and your family, and it will ensure that the job is done safely.
So where you do you start? You might want to find other homes in your area that have been lifted, and reach out to the owners for information and advice. Online reviews are another great way to keep yourself informed throughout the decision-making process. Be sure to compare multiple quotes, question any contractor who gives a price that is substantially lower than anybody else. When it comes to a task as important as this, the last thing you want to do is cut corners to save a few bucks.