One of the most common questions we get in the early stages of a house lifting project is “how high should I raise my house.” It’s a good question, one that has to be decided before we get the process started. There are quite a few variables that go into deciding how high to lift a house, and it’s important to get a professional involved to help you balance all of them in order to give your house the best protection while still making it look its best. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common points to make when it comes to deciding how high you should have a house lifting company raise your house.
You Don’t Want To “Underdo” It
First of all, you don’t want to raise your house too little. If you’re going to hire someone to go through the considerable effort it takes to raise a house, you don’t just want to raise it a couple of feet. While that might protect it from spring storms and smaller hurricanes, a house is a long-term investment that you’ll want to protect for decades.
Also, raising it a few feet might not have any effect on your homeowners insurance rates. Be sure to call up your insurance company to verify how much of a discount you can expect as you raise your home. Every foot higher you get your house reduces the chance they’ll have to pay for a complete remodel, but you also have to make sure that it’s above flood surge levels. After all, if you’re standing at your doorsill, it’s better to be a couple of feet above the flood than right on the cusp, isn’t it?
Take a look at the graphic on this page. Sure, getting your house above base flood elevation is nice and should reduce your flood insurance considerably. But getting it well above BFE will make a much larger difference.
Where You Live
You probably won’t be surprised to know that some parts of Long Island are more likely to flood than others. It has to do with elevation, proximity to bodies of freshwater, and, of course proximity to the ocean. Your insurance company knows which flood zone you’re in, and you should too. If you can see the ocean from your bedroom window, it’s very likely that you’re going to want to consider home elevation.
What Your Neighbors Have Done
If you’re in a neighborhood where nearly every house has been lifted, it’s obvious they know something. While “keeping up with Joneses” isn’t the way you want to live in every case, do you really want to be in the shortest house in a neighborhood that’s likely to flood?
There’s no doubt that appearance is on the mind of homeowners. If you live in the middle of Long Island and your home has never flooded before, it’s unlikely that you’ll want to be the only house in the neighborhood that has been raised 12-feet into the air and has a huge staircase leading up to the front door.
In cases like this, it’s still a good idea to get ready for those 500-year floods, but a shorter raise of about 4-feet or so could do the trick. Raising a house such a distance shouldn’t affect its appearance too much, and it can still easily be made handicap accessible with a ramp without require too many switchbacks. You also won’t have an additional 12 steps leading down into your basement!
Raise It Up!
Now that we’ve told you not to overdo the house raising and told you to not underdo the house raising, we’re here to contradict ourselves a bit: go ahead an overdo it! Why?
Well, once you raise the house a certain amount, the space underneath it becomes almost useful, kind of like a glorified crawl space. So if you’re raising it up high, why not go all out and make it actually useful as a storage space. You can turn it into parking or storage, giving you a place to keep your car, lawnmowers, and other seasonal equipment and furniture. At that point, you could turn your detached garage into a studio.
How high to lift your house is an important topic, and we’d love to talk with you about it. Contact Turn Key Contractor Solutions with any questions you might have about house raising.