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Staircase: When a House Elevation Starts to Hurt

Week 8 When does a house elevation project begin to hurt? When your contractor is working under the premise that your fixed-price contract is a cost-plus contract, with free reign on your wallet. As week 8 of construction came to a close, it’s safe to say it has been the least pleasant so far. But then again, no one promised that retrofitting a house to … Continue reading Staircase: When a House Elevation Starts to Hurt

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House Elevation: Can You Still Have A Basement in a Floodplain?

WEEK 8 Most of the work occurring on our house elevation project this week are of the unseen nitty-gritty sort. The construction crew is preparing for the return of Payne, our lifting company, by completing the last few foundation projects: aligning the proper height all walls, erecting support beams under the crawl space in the rear of our house, fortifying the cinder blocks, and beginning … Continue reading House Elevation: Can You Still Have A Basement in a Floodplain?

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Staircase Options for an Elevated House

NEW STAIR DESIGN: One of the trickier elements to elevating a house is creating the new access stairs. Whether you are lifting your house two feet off the ground or a full story, functional yet attractive stairs will need to be designed for your home. Three things will greatly dictate  your options: the number of steps you need, the size of the property, and where your … Continue reading Staircase Options for an Elevated House

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House Elevation: Foundation Walls

WEEK 7 This week finds the crew feverishly at work completing the new foundation. Cinder blocks meticulously trimmed with cement were built up, to the requisite new height for our house, creating our new foundation walls. This process was a bit reminiscent of the story of the “Three Little Pigs” when the third Little Pig, the smart one, built his house of bricks to ward … Continue reading House Elevation: Foundation Walls

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Flood Vents on an Elevated House

FLOOD VENTS If you’re considering elevating your house, chances are pretty good that you live in a special flood hazard area (SFHA). By “special” they (FEMA) mean that your house gets rocked by a flood every now and again and therefore requires a homeowner to adhere to strict FEMA building codes. Once your house is elevated, the foundation will continue to be subjected to an … Continue reading Flood Vents on an Elevated House

House Elevation: Choosing an Architect

CHOOSING AN ARCHITECT Starting any major renovation project can be overwhelming. Who you choose to help you with that project will impact you for months to come. When the task is to elevate your house, you’re going to need an architect. Choose wisely. Like most service providers, going by word of mouth is a good place to start. You also want to make sure they have … Continue reading House Elevation: Choosing an Architect

House Elevation: Sewer Line to be Buried 4 Feet Under

SEWER LINE CLEAN-OUT Yesterday we had a team of drain specialists come by to effectively power wash our sewer line. Although this service call does not directly have any relationship to our elevation project, it was paramount that we determined the integrity of our sewer line prior to burying it under 4 feet of cement. The only reason we are investigating it now is because … Continue reading House Elevation: Sewer Line to be Buried 4 Feet Under

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House Elevation: Delays, Root Heaving, Concrete Footings

WEEK 6 UNFOLDS  Wouldn’t it be great if your renovation project came with an “Easy” button like the one in the Staples commercials? “That was easy!“ As anyone who has ever undergone a major renovation project can tell you, there are only two safe bets: the project will take longer than expected and cost more than anticipated. Our lift endured a one week delay due … Continue reading House Elevation: Delays, Root Heaving, Concrete Footings

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House Elevation: House Lifted from Foundation

WEEK 5 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 … Continue reading House Elevation: House Lifted from Foundation

House Elevation: First Steps for the House Lift

WEEK FOUR Lift process continues: holes were cut into the foundation to secure room for the steel beams. The project is still new and exciting, with high hopes that all will continue to run smoothly. Our boys found the construction process endlessly interesting and enjoyed seeing the development up close and personally.  Above you can see the front door and where the stairs have been jackhammered off the … Continue reading House Elevation: First Steps for the House Lift

Prepping for the Lift: Cutting Holes in the Foundation Walls

Today’s task predominately involved the lifting company carving holes in the foundation walls to prepare for the impending placement of the steel beams that will support the house during the lift. With precise measurement, the section of the foundation that must be removed is first measured, then marked, and finally opened up. Notice there are several holes running the length of each wall. The above … Continue reading Prepping for the Lift: Cutting Holes in the Foundation Walls

Preparing the Property for a Lift

Several necessary first steps had to be completed prior to the initiation of the construction phase. Here sits our house before any lift has occurred. The white picket fence in front, grass on the lawn, a visible chimney on the roof. All of these things will disappear before the house project can even begin. Above the fence has been removed as well as all of … Continue reading Preparing the Property for a Lift

Flooding: High-Water Mark

The high-water mark is the mark indicating the highest level water has reached on a particular structure or home. In our case, it was about 56 inches. In the picture above, our son is standing on his tip-toes to point to the height of the water during one of our worst flooding episodes. “Know Your Line: Be Flood Aware” FEMA, along with 7 other federal … Continue reading Flooding: High-Water Mark

Upside to Downsizing: Why Temporary Housing Isn’t All Bad

Moving from a house to an apartment has a few unforeseen advantages: #1 Downsizing to an apartment required me to bring only the essentials. Not that much really. I realized how much extra stuff we’ve accumulated over the years. For example, those boxes collecting dust in my attic for the past 10 years are mostly just taking up space. If I haven’t had a need … Continue reading Upside to Downsizing: Why Temporary Housing Isn’t All Bad

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House Elevation Step One: Chimney Removal

Today marks the official start of our “operation house lift” project. It has been almost a YEAR in the making with many details, reports, surveys, blueprints, and bids to sort through. The planning phase has been very involved and tedious. Our house has endured several flood events. Opting to elevate the hosue was not our first  line of defense, but it will be the last. … Continue reading House Elevation Step One: Chimney Removal

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Flood Proofing Day One: Movers, Builders and Plumbers – oh, my!

Ordinarily, a move is a one-way transaction: A to B. But, in this case, to flood-proof our house, we are only moving out for a few months. So our goal was to keep it as simple as possible. Walking through the house with the movers, I pointed out what pieces I wanted them to load into the truck. For example, we took mattresses, but no bed … Continue reading Flood Proofing Day One: Movers, Builders and Plumbers – oh, my!