If you are one of the thousands of homeowners in New Jersey and along the East Coast now considering having your house lifted, you may be wondering just what the job entails, how long it will take, and what it will mean for your home.
Naturally, you’re probably having your home lifted for the same reason many are. House raising in NJ is becoming more common these days due in no small part to Hurricane Sandy. This storm gave people an awareness that getting to a higher house elevation is a good idea in order to avoid flooding. In addition, it may help lower flood insurance rates. In fact, in many cases, thanks to revised FEMA flood plain maps, homeowners are now finding themselves in more stringent flood zones, meaning they need to either lift their home or face steep increases in their flood insurance.
No wonder NJ house raising contractors have been so busy.
When you secure the services of a contractor to lift your home, the entire process will unfold as follows:
Get The Necessary Permits – As with everything else in the Garden State, a project like this requires permits. In almost all cases, your house raising contractor will likely be able to help you with this.
Demolition of Chimney and Stairs – It is likely that your exterior stairways and fixed brick chimneys will have to be demolished prior to the big lift. It may be possible to save these features in some cases, but be conservative and plan for replacement.
Creating The Supports – During this step, crews will go under your home and prepare stacks of timber upon which your home will rest while a brand new foundation is constructed. These stacks are called “cribbing.”
Preparing the Interior – It is a bad idea to lift a home without the interior properly secured, so just prior to the lift starting you will have to go inside, secure all cabinets, and put all breakables in storage.
Lifting – Jacks will be placed at key positions underneath the house to be lifted. These carefully coordinated jacks are activated all at once to get the whole structure moving, lifting each corner of the house is an inch at a time. Measurements are carefully monitored to ensure no one portion of the house is being lifted faster than another. This continues until your home is at its desired height.
Rebuilding The Foundation & Stairs – During this step, crews come and rebuild your foundation. This is a vital step that may involve extending the existing concrete blocks upward or even building an entirely new foundation. A new stairway will have to be constructed, too.
The good news about all of this is that it is a faster, easier process than most people realize. The lift itself may take just a few days, ensuring you and your family are displaced for as little time as possible. The cost is probably better than most realize, too, a cost often offset by the long-term savings homeowners experience in their flood insurance premiums.