House Lifting, Demystified: How House Lifters Raise a House
House lifting is a type of service offered by construction contractors that specialize in foundation repair, demolition and solutions to catastrophic water damage. Homeowners elect to have their homes lifted from the ground for different reasons. The three most popular reasons are for preventing water damage, fixing a foundation already ruined by water damage, or building an additional floor.
The water damage New Jersey homeowners saw during and after Hurricane Sandy caused a need for immediate foundation demolition and repair. Foundations that were once sturdy were compromised by flooding over the course of 24 hours. Luckily for New Jersey residents, the art of house lifting had been perfected over the years.
Although it seems impossible, new equipment and learned skills allow contractors to raise a house in a safe, effective way.
The House Lifting Process
After the contractor decides what needs done, excavation around the house is usually needed. Excavation gives house lifters a better look at the situation and provides easy access to the home’s external subterranean wall.
Once the area is cleared, metal beams are slid under the first floor of the house and supported by hydraulic jacks on each side. This ensures the house is raised evenly and gives workers a chance to build cribbing with oak timber. This timber, cross-stacked in different areas in the basement, provides an additional level of support for safety.
Typically, homes are lifted around 6-10 inches at a time using the hydraulic jacks. These hydraulic jacks are balanced and kept even with a unified jacking system.
After each lift, extra timber is cross-stacked on top of the existing cribbing until it reaches the base of the first floor and proper time is given to let the house settle. The importance of additional support can’t be overstated enough when lifting a house. Safety is at the core of all house lifting projects.
After the House is Raised
When the foundation is detached from the house and the house is raised to the desired level, the contractors get to. Remaining constantly aware of the immense structure above them, foundation demolition is started along with other necessary storm damage repairs.
However, complete demolition isn’t always needed. Depending on the severity of the water damage or foundation buckling, only a few vital sections of the foundation could need repaired. After the repairs are made – or, in the case of remodeling, the extra floor is added – the house is dropped and re-attached to the sound foundation.
There’s also a second popular foundation support tactic that’s used to ensure the soundness of a homeowner’s foundation. Sometimes, a house’s foundation is fine, but needs additional support to remain sound. This is when helic pile installation is recommended.
Helic piles offer additional support to the base of the house. They’re lengthy rods with spiral discs on them that dig deep into the ground. After installed, they act as an incredibly strong source of support. The best way to think of them is as the foundation’s sidekick.
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