The city of Seattle is home to some of the most beautiful homes in the Pacific Northwest. Within many historic and charming homes built up to a century ago, basements were typically around 6 feet high, and were more often used as storage and “cold room” spaces rather than as a potential add-on living space.
With so many homes that could be missing out on the potentially livable square footage, there is a possible solution: a house raise.
A house raise is the physical raising of your house, often to create more vertical space within the basement. This added height allows enough room for taller people to stand straight and does away with the constricting vibe that smaller basements tend to exude.
How does the house raising process work?
Typically, the house raising process involves the disconnection of plumbing, electrical, and heating ducts from the main floor leading into the basement so that everything doesn’t get pulled and stretched as the main floor of the house goes up.
A specialized house lifting company will then run their metal beams underneath the main floor (often through any existing windows). Technicians will then operate their hydraulic jacks to lift the beams with the house physically resting securely on these beams. Once the house is up in the air, your contractors will build perimeter and interior support walls to the desired height of your new higher and brighter basement.
All that is required from there is to set the house back down on to its new walls and you can begin remodeling your new and improved – and higher – basement. Contractors can then get to work, turning your basement into a livable space by building interior walls based on the desired layout, installing windows and siding, running all your utilities into the basement, etc.
There are many benefits of a house raise, some of which include:
Increased Functionality: By adding the extra height in your basement, you are able to construct a more functional and welcoming space that can be remodeled into a cozy family room, extra bedrooms with a bathroom, or even an in-law or nanny suite.
Improve Your Home’s View: By raising your home for a brighter and more spacious basement, you will also change the view from the rest of your home’s windows. If you’ve been stuck staring directly into your neighbor’s bedroom window, there’s a good chance that now you’ll gain a much better view of the city or Mt. Rainer in the distance.
Level The Rest of Your Home. Especially for older homes where the floors are noticeably uneven, when a contractor is lifting your house, they are leveling the basement and, in turn, the rest of the house. You’ll notice how your home has leveled itself out and your coffee table no longer has that wobble.
Preventive Maintenance: By remodeling your basement, contractors could potentially come across problems you may not even know you have, such as outdated pipes, cracks in the foundation, etc. This can give you, as a homeowner, the opportunity to catch these issues early enough to repair them so that down the road, they don’t cause even further damage or worse, hazardous living conditions. Addressing plumbing, electrical, and foundation issues uncovered by a house raise could mean that you spend a little to prevent having to spend much more down the road to take care of a much bigger problem.
Is raising a house the right option for you?
Consider Your Budget:
Raising a house up and setting it down on your newly framed walls alone will cost you roughly $50,000. That’s NOT including the additional utility hookups, siding, extra interior framing, finish work, flooring, etc. The process from start to finish, when your space is ready for move-in, takes about 8-10 months on average. Though you may find it to be a good investment, you must ask yourself if you have the means and are willing to spend the time and money for a project like this.
Eligibility and Feasibility:
If your neighborhood homes are built close together or on a slope, there may be too little space for the raising company to properly run their metal beams down below the surface of your home. There needs to be enough space for the house raising company to be able to mobilize their beams, jacks, and other house-raising equipment without hitting other homes, power lines, and other obstructions. In other cases, your city may have height restrictions which will not allow you to build your house any higher than it already is.
But don’t worry, even if your home isn’t eligible for a house raise in the traditional sense, you still have options to create higher ceilings and a more spacious feel in your basement. For instance, an alternative to a house raise would be to lower the basement floor by hauling out dirt and then creating a new basement slab at a lower elevation than the original slab, giving enough clearance height from the ground to the ceiling for you to move forward with making your basement into a beautiful new livable space.
Interested in learning more about the benefits of a house raise? Reach out to ProComplete Homes for a free estimate and to find out if doing a house raise is the right option for you.