WEEK 5 of our lift project and the actual lifting is set to begin.
After spending more than a week preparing the house it was ready for the big lift. Ever so slowly, one wooden beam (about 6 inches) at a time, the house was lifted. A wooden beam (also known as cribbing) was inserted at every pressure point, then lifted another 6 inches, etc., until the predetermined height was reached. Total time: about 5 hours for this portion.
The house pulls away from the foundation easier than you might think it would. There is nothing but gravity holding the structure of the house onto this nearly 85 year old foundation.
Above is a before picture showing the rectangular cuts into the foundation wall so the steel beams could be ever-so-carefully inserted. Notice the property fence? There is little room to maneuver in this space.
After the beams had been carefully inserted on all sides of the house, the actual lift began. It was lifted straight up, bit-by-bit. The foundation wall, in our case, had to be knocked down, as can be seen in the picture above. Our boys were very curious about every detail.
Above is a picture of our house prior to the lift …
… and here is our house after the lift process. Note the steel beams reaching out from the former garage space. Also, the stairs have been removed, the gas and water lines have been cut and capped, and the landscape has been taken to scorched earth.
Once the house been lifted, we were able to walk underneath it. Here you can clearly see the steel beams that run in a cross-wise pattern to support the house. The door above used to be only one step from the garage floor. The boys took it all in stride, like it was some sort of Lincoln Log project.
This photo above shows what the back of our house used to look like. Of note, there were two steps to get inside. During several of our floods, the water made its way into this back room, coming up to the bottom edge of the window.
All the cribbing is in place, buttressing the steel beams that support the house. The house is finally out of the path of a flood. Can I get a “hell yeah!”
However, the lift is actually the easy part of this job. Next our construction crew has to come in to rebuild the foundation walls which should take about 3 weeks. Then, Payne Construction, our lifting company, returns to remove the steel beams and lower the house about a foot onto the new foundation. After that, the construction crew returns again to add the stairs, renovate the necessary interior spaces, reconnect the water, electricity, gas, etc., etc., etc.