Some home repair projects will require you to lift a house. For example, you'll have to lift your house in order to get access to the foundation. This is a challenging job that requires precise skill, measurements, manpower, and equipment. There is not much room for error, so precision is critical.
Why Lift a House?
While there are several reasons you may need to lift a house, the main reasons are usually to dig a foundation or fix a crumbling foundation. Some homes were built on a slab with just a crawlspace.
Now that people are looking to expand their living space, one option is to build a finished basement. For homes that do not have a basement, this means the house must be lifted in order to dig and pour the foundations walls.
How to Lift a House
Lifting a house is not a task that should be entered into lightly. There are several things that can go wrong.
Enlist the help of a lot of friends and even some professionals to help with the heavy equipment and to provide specialized knowledge.
The house must be level at all times as the smallest stress on the walls can cause cracks and wall or ceiling failure.
Step 1 - Disconnect All Utilities
While some homeowners will still continue to live in the home while it is jacked up, it is not advisable. Before doing any work to lift the home, you should have all the utilities disconnected and moved out of the way. All electrical, water, gas, and sewage lines should be disconnected.
If you are adding a basement, some of these utilities might need to be relocated anyway. This would be a good time to get all of that completed.
Step 2 - Remove All Skirting
To get to the underside of the home, you will have to remove all the skirting and any type of obstructions. If there is a deck attached to the home, detach it completely.
Step 3 - Pour Concrete Pads
The house jacks will need a strong, level place to rest in order to hold up the weight of the house. Clear away debris under the home and pour concrete pads in each corner of the house. These should be approximately four feet in from the corners.
If you are lifting a large home, space a few more pads evenly throughout the home to give much better support.
Step 4 - Place Jacks
After the concrete has dried for about 48 hours, place the jacks on the pads. Rest a steel I-beam on the jacks, running the length of the home. Make sure these I-beams are straight and level along the length of them.
Step 5 - Raise the Home
Once the I-beams are in place, then slowly raise the home. This requires all four jacks to be simultaneously raised.
Once you have raised it enough, lay 4x4 posts in a criss-cross pattern in each corner or near each pad. As you continue to raise the home, continue to add the posts until you have lifted the home as high as you need it.