What’s Involved In Lifting A House Foundation

What’s Involved In Lifting A House Foundation
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Were you googling for ‘’lifting house foundation’’? If so, you undoubtedly want to know what’s involved in lifting a foundation. Well, you’ve landed on the right page. In this article, we will talk about the reasons for lifting a house foundation, how it’s done, and the cost involved.

Reasons for lifting a house foundation

There are various reasons for lifting a house foundation including,

  • Working under the house or moving the home to a new location – Working under a house might include digging or expanding a basement. You also might want to lift a home to meet the required Flood Protection Elevation (FPE).
  • Lifting a foundation to correct settlement – This kind of lifting – referred to as “underpinning’’ – is different from the lifting used to excavate a basement or move a house.

Lifting a house foundation to work underneath it or to move it

The general procedure for lifting a house foundation to either work under it or move it is as follows:

  • Synchronized hydraulic jacks are put in place and then lift the building off the foundation.
  • Once the building has been raised, cribbing is added. Cribbing supports the house while work is done or before moving it.

There’s no need to remove furniture and other belongings from the house because the lifting is very slow and controlled. If there are any minor issues related to the lifting – cracks, for example – they can be repaired. For more information, see FEMA’s guide: Elevating Your House.

Lifting a house foundation to correct differential settlement

Lifting a house foundation to correct differential settlement is not the same as lifting a house to move or work under it. Lifting a foundation to correct differential settlement is a repair method known as underpinning.

What is differential settlement?

A certain amount of uniform settlement is pretty common in buildings. However, differential settlement is when a building’s foundation settles into the soil unevenly. Differential settlement happens for various reasons, including expansive clay soil and soil that was inadequately prepped before construction. For more information, see our article on Foundation Settlement.

Underpinning lifts, levels, stabilizes, and strengthens a foundation. The two most common methods of lifting a house foundation via underpinning are resistance push piers and helical piers.

differential settlement infographic

Lifting a house foundation with resistance push piers

The procedure for lifting a house foundation via underpinning with resistance push piers is as follows:

  • The areas where the push piers will go are marked around the foundation.
  • These areas are excavated down to the footing.
  • The footing is notched so that it’s flush with the foundation wall.
  • Steel brackets are attached to the footing.
  • The piers are pushed into the ground until they hit load-bearing soil.
  • Synchronized hydraulic jacks lift the foundation back up.
  • The holes are filled.

Lifting a house foundation with helical piers

Helical piers look something like giant corkscrews and are most commonly used for new construction projects. However, they’re sometimes used for underpinning existing foundations. The installation procedure is as follows:

  • The areas where the helical piers will go are marked around the foundation.
  • These areas are excavated down to the footing.
  • The footing is notched so that it’s flush with the foundation wall.
  • The helical piers are turned into the ground while the pressure and torque are monitored.
  • Once the piers are in place, synchronized hydraulic jacks lift the foundation.
  • The holes are filled.

Cost Of Lifting A House Foundation

The cost of lifting a house foundation depends on various factors including,

  • The reason the house is being lifted – Is it being raised to work under it? To move it? To underpin it using push piers or helical piers?
  • Where you live – Costs can vary quite a bit according to region.
  • Size of the house – It will cost more to lift a large house than a small one.
  • Foundation type – The three most common foundation types are slab, basement, and crawlspace.

The only way to know for sure how much it costs to lift a foundation – for moving, excavating a basement, underpinning, or some other reason – is to call an experienced foundation repair professional for an inspection and estimate. Most contractors will do an inspection for free and then write up a repair estimate.

three types of foundations

Lifting a house foundation might mean lifting the foundation to work under it to dig a basement, move the house to a new location, or level and stabilize the house via underpinning.

At Bay Area Underpinning, we don’t move houses to a new location. However, if you’re in our service area in Northern California and your home is experiencing foundation settlement that might require underpinning, contact us today for a free inspection and estimate.

Steve Egloff

Steve Egloff

Steve is the CEO at Bay Area Underpinning, a foundation repair contractor serving the San Fransisco Bay Area, California. Bay Area Underpinning was founded in 2005 with the goal of providing a cost-effective, engineered solution to foundation settlement problems with an emphasis on educating customers to make them feel comfortable with the various methods of foundation repair.

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