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raising a house

April 17, 2008

zora naki

so, i’ve been doing my research about raising a house. It sounds like they would come in, skewer my house on a number of large steel beams and then raise it up using stacks of wood (cribs) and hydraulic jacks. Easy-peasy! Two hours later, your house is floating up there and you get to work building a wall to bridge the gap. Some of the big cost considerations are:

  1. Foundation. If you need to replace, underpin, or repour, this is a significant additional cost.
  2. Excavating. If you want to/need to excavate (pour new slab, extend house), this also costs big bucks and takes a lot of manpower. it’s much quicker to use a mini excavator, but you then need to create access to the basement (cutting a hole, building a ramp).
  3. Severing connections. This is obvious to people who know about building, but for the knuckleheads out there like me who exist in a similar state of blissful ignorance, i just wanted to point out that you need to disconnect, extend and then reconnect your electrical, hydro, gas, etc. lines.
  4. Moving. Some people can (and do) live in a house up on piles while construction is going on (although i’m pretty sure they get out of the house and stand on the sidewalk to watch while the active lifting is going on). but this isn’t particularly safe or recommended – especially if you have munchkins or small animals that are prone to unexpectedly disappearing into holes.
  5. Chimney issues. Some of us may have problems with small spaces or heights, and we don’t like to discriminate but you really would like to have a home without chimney issues. Some lifters won’t lift a house with the chimney – you need to demolish it and your fireplace before they get going. One construction-type guy told me that it cost him $25K to replace his own 3-storey chimney after similar construction. If they can lift with chimney, it makes everything easier.
  6. How high. I was told that anything up to about 30″ is relatively straightforward. Anything beyond that, or say, adding another floor (and the thought did cross my mind) is significantly more complicated expensive.

The lifting itself is about $6500-$7500 (at least, that’s what i’ve been quoted) – it’s everything else that costs the big bucks.  If you too are looking at doing something similar, you may find these biographical accounts helpful:

Glenn and Theresa lift their house in Vancouver

Lifting a House: A Chronicle of Mayhem and Plunder in Seattle

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One Comment

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  1. Ed #
    February 3, 2012

    I have discovered a simple way to lift a sagging section of a one story house house, using an ordinary car jack.

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