How Much Will it Cost to Raise a House Foundation?
Whether it’s to avoid flood damage or add another story below your house, more and more homeowners are raising their houses. Yes, the average cost to lift a house is not cheap, but it’s a project seasoned professionals can accomplish in just a few days. Of course, there are plenty of factors that can increase or decrease that cost, so be sure to review the full house lifting cost guide below. Afterwards, get in touch with up to four foundation experts near you.
National Raise a Foundation Costs
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Table of Contents
- House Lifting Cost
- Raising A House Cost Factors
- Why Lift A House
- Considerations for House Lifting
- What to Ask House Lifting Company
- Find A Pro
House Lifting Cost
Overall, you can expect to spend anywhere between $30,000 and $100,000. We will touch on this in a second, but the wide range is due to the myriad of factors that affect the final price (such as house size and foundation status). Furthermore, unlike carpet cleaning pros, there is no set range for labor in regards to raising a house. Some companies might charge $5,000 in labor, while others may charge $10,000. Needless to say, the pro you hire will play a big role in your house jacking cost.
Raising A House Cost Factors
There are numerous factors that can raise or lower your total cost. Those factors include:
- Size of House
- Number of Floors
- Status of House
- Status of Foundation
Size of House
To no surprise, the larger your home or more it weighs, the more complicated the process becomes. Luckily, most house raising companies can give you a rough estimate based on your square footage.
Number of Floors
More stories means more weight to raise. More weight requires more pros and heavier machinery. As such, a two-story home will almost always cost more to raise than a one-story home.
Status of House
If your home just flooded, chances are, there is some damage to the bottom floor. Whether it be below the house, within your home’s foundation, drywall, etc, lifting a damaged house is more complicated that a sturdy house. Just like moving a broken mirror, you have to be much more careful to not further damage the house. In fact, more often the not, the lifting company will require repairs before raising the house. As you can clearly see, all these factors will raise your total home lifting cost.
Status of Foundation
If the reason you’re lifting your home is a damaged foundation, it may be due to poor soil or ground movement. If you're not transporting your home, then you'll need to secure your new foundation with helical or concrete piers. This cost is also dictated by the size and weight of the structure. Helical piers are cheaper than concrete, and this option is a much more affordable choice than transporting the home to a new location.
Of course, if your foundation is secure and sturdy, these costs can be avoided.
Time always affects your remodeling cost. If you have to raise your house sooner rather than later, chances are, your cost will be more. That is because certain companies will charge more in case of emergency. If they have to change their schedule, hire a few guys short-notice or even have to skip their daughter’s soccer game, your house jacking cost will go up.
Once a date is set, most companies can raise a house in less than a day.
Like many home renovation projects, you need permits to raise your house. Sadly, while most permits cost at most $500, permits for raising a house range between $2,500 and $5,000. Given the high cost, you must hire a contractor whom you trust. The pro should walk you through all the procedures and paperwork involved in obtaining permits in your city.
No one works for free, so you must consider the labor cost if you want to determine an accurate house lifting cost. As I touched on earlier, there is no set labor cost for house raising companies. The best way to find the right pro is to gather multiple quotes. There’s probably not many house raising companies in your area, so the research should be quite easy.
Furthermore, some projects require special attention from architects or structural engineers. While your house raising pro has probably been in the business for some time, they’re not certified or educated architects or engineers. As such, you may have to hire an architect, which according to our cost estimator, averages $4,598
Every contractor needs liability insurance and that necessity is magnified when it comes to house raising. There is simply no bigger project than lifting your house and doing so without insurance is truly negligent. Every contractor working on your home should have liability insurance, not just their company.
To no surprise, the liability increases in proportion to the weight of the house. No matter how big or small your house may be, make sure your contractor has liability insurance up to at least $200,000. Bear in mind, most companies have larger policies.
If your house needs work around the foundation, you may have to remove trees and other bushes/flowerss, so this cost needs to be factored in as well as the cost of replanting the trees and/or replacing any landscaping when the lift is completed.
Raising your home's foundation comes with a few "hidden costs." In addition to the aforementioned landscaping issue, you’ll also need to disconnect all power, plumbing and phone service to your home during the construction process, and then turn all back on after it’s completed. You’ll need a structural engineer to sign off on your plans in order to obtain the permits. There will also almost definitely be repair work needed after the home has been lifted, due to natural inevitable damages. There will likely be cracks in the plaster that need to be fixed, as well as repairs to the exterior if siding has to be removed to install required hurricane strapping.
Why Lift A House
There are plenty of reasons to lift a house. While most homeowners embark on such a project to avoid flood damage, others do it to add head space, add a basement or avoid moving.
Avoid Flood Damage
If the last year is any indication, flooding in the U.S. is sadly not going away. As of April 2016, 240 billion gallons of water had fallen in Houston in 2016. That’s enough water to fuel Niagara Falls for 88 hours. Furthermore, with the ongoing climate change, more flooding could take place all across the U.S.
Therefore, homeowners who live near fresh or low-bank waters are biting the bullet and protecting one of their most valuable assets. If you raise your house just 3’, you could save your home the next time a hurricane or floods hits.
Add A Basement
A more optimistic benefit of lifting your house is an added story. We could all use more space. Whether it’s a separate play area for the kids, more storage or just a place to get away from it all, basement additions don’t only give you more freedom, but increase the value of your house as well.
Once the house has been lifted, a new wood floor system is built on the existing foundation walls and exterior frame walls are set in place. Once final adjustments are done, the house lifting company will place the house in the proper location.
Many homeowners move to own a bigger space. While moving may not cost $100,000 (after you sell your current space), it can certainly be stressful dealing with brokers, sellers and banks. To avoid the hassle and still add more space, many lift the house instead.
In addition to added comfort, the added value will bring in more money the day you sell your house.
Add Head Space
Back in the day, basements were not designed with the best intentions. They were often used for storage before anything else. As such, engineers did not pay attention design or height. Sadly, many were left with very short ceilings. Luckily, that can be fixed.
If you own a partial basement or one designed years ago, raising your house 3’ will surely clear the air (pun intended) and make your basement much, much more comfortable, especially for those taller than 6’.
Considerations for House Lifting
Once you’ve decided to lift or move your house, there are a few tasks you must complete before the project can begin.
First, come up with a plan for the lift. How high are you raising the house? Are you moving the house horizontally at all? Are you installing a new foundation? All these answers must be known before your lifting company can begin.
Second, according to Wolfe House & Building Movers, you should thoroughly clean your basement and remove any pipes, plumbing and ductwork that hang below the floor joists.
Then, go outside and see if anything else has to be removed. This includes porches, decks, patios, fences, flower beds, shrubs or anything near the exterior of the house. If you are removing any, you must do so before the move can take place.
Finally, you need to mark all utility lines to ensure the lifting company does not cut a necessary wire. You can call 811 or your local utility company for help.
What to Ask House Lifting Company
As we said earlier, you should always get multiple quotes for any home remodeling project. Furthermore, when conducting a big project such as lifting a house, you better be sure you hire the right company. To help you find the best match, be sure to ak the following questions:
1. How many houses have you lifted or moved?
You never want to be the guinea pig, so make sure the house lifting company has valuable experience moving or lifting similar houses. As such, make sure you ask about the smallest and largest homes they’ve lifted/moved.
2. Can you share your references?
Always ask for references. Lifting companies sell. Sadly, many professionals across all industries will say whatever they can to sell you. The same is not true for other homeowners. Therefore, ask for their references. Hear what homeowners have to say. Ask them everything you want to know. How long did the project take? How was their communication? What was their biggest downfall? What’s one thing you wish you knew before the project began. Ask all these questions and more to each and every reference.
3. What equipment do you use?
Ask for specific equipment. Power Dolly and Unified Jacking Systems are ideal in the space. Furthermore, you should ask about their condition. You should ask to see them. If they look old and rugged, you may want to consider another bid.
4. Do you have liability insurance and what is your limit?
As we said earlier, your house raising company better have liability insurance with coverage of at least $200,000. If they don’t, move on immediately.
5. Are there other costs that may be associated with my lift or move?
After you’ve fully described your project, ask for a breakdown of all costs. Make sure they outline each, including those hidden costs we mentioned earlier. To accurately judge all quotes, you need to ensure each bid includes the exact same service. Otherwise, we’re not comparing apples to apples.
Find A Pro
Whether you’re trying to avoid flood damage, add a full basement or add just a few feet of head space, lifting a house can be a worthwhile investment. If you’re ready to embark on this big project, let’s get started today.
Last updated on Aug 4, 2016
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