Since 1980, hurricanes in the US have caused approximately $21.5 billion damage per event, with storm surge accounting for the most significant portion of that damage in coastal areas. Lifting your house goes a long way toward mitigating the effect of storm surges. But what is the cost of lifting a house on stilts?
Raising a house above the flood zone costs on average $20,000 to $80,000, with half of this cost ($10,000 to $40,000) being for lifting the house, and the rest to construct new posts, piers, or pilings for the house to sit on. Raising a home can reduce insurance premiums by 30% to 60%.
With climate change leading to a rise in average sea levels, and more powerful storms that produce more tremendous storm surges across a wider area, the damage caused by storm surges is only set to increase. You may be considering raising your house, and we will give you a detailed guide as to what this will cost.
The Cost Of Raising A House On Stilts
Raising a house on stilts involves consultation with experts such as structural engineers and architects, separating your home from its connection to utilities, and carefully lifting the house by professional contractors before the stilts, whatever their type, are installed.
These contractors use hydraulic jacks to lift the house. Look for ones who specify that they use a unified hydraulic jacking system and crib jacks. These hydraulic jacks gently and evenly raise the house at a very slow speed to prevent structural damage.
To raise a house will cost anything from $10,000 to $40,000.
Factors affecting the cost of lifting a house include the house’s size and the house’s weight, which is greatly affected by construction type.
Small, single-story houses made of wood will cost on the low end of this scale, from $10,000 to around $25,000.
Larger, double-story, and heavier houses (those made of masonry or stone) are all more complex to stabilize and cost more to lift. Lifting costs for such homes are anything from $15,000 to around $40,000.
Adding stilts to a house, whether they be posts, piers, or pilings, will add anything from $8,000 to $40,000, with prices varying depending on the type of foundation, the soil type, the size of the home, the flood zone, and the amount of elevation required.
If you are raising your home to avoid flooding, and the National Flood Insurance Program covers your property, Flood Mitigation Assistance grants may cover some of the costs.
A Breakdown Of The Cost Of Lifting A House
Various costs are associated with raising a house. We will give you a breakdown of these costs to better understand how you will be spending your money.
Keeping It Legal When Lifting A House
You will need to stay on the right side of the law when raising your house on stilts by paying for building permits and getting an architect to alter the plans.
Building permits for raising a house will cost you anything from $500 to $6,000, depending on the size of the job.
Architects charge an hourly rate of $100 to $250, which translates to costs for lifting a house anywhere between $2,000 and $5,000, depending on the nature of the job.
Staying Safe When Raising A House
We highly recommend you hire a structural engineer to assess the structural integrity of your house and its foundation before the lift, while it is underway, and afterward. They charge an hourly rate of $100 to $250, which translates to costs for inspecting and planning the raising of a house of $1,000 to $2,000.
While any reputable contractor will have liability insurance in case of potential damage, you should consider buying short-term “Vacant Under Renovation” insurance for the project’s duration.
Labor Costs To Lift A House
Labor costs for lifting a house range from $5,000 to $10,000 for a basic lift to around $30,000 for more complicated jobs. The following factors affect cost:
- Accessibility – if obstacles such as neighboring buildings or large trees block access, you will pay more.
- Construction Type – the older the home, the more complex its layout, the larger its size, and the heavier its weight (due to being made of heavier materials), the more it will cost to raise, as more jacks and reinforcements will be required.
- Foundation Type – if your home has a pier and beam foundation with a crawlspace, it will be easier to access the underside of the house, making it cheaper to lift.
- Elevation – if you wish to raise your house more than 8 feet, prepare to pay 20% to 40% more than you otherwise would.
The Cost Of Putting A House On A Sound Footing
Repairing the house’s foundation will cost anywhere from $2,500 to $7,000.
A wooden foundation will cost on the low end of this scale, as damaged or rotten wood will need to be replaced before lifting the house. Concrete slabs with cracks are trickier, requiring additional support.
The cost of excavating and grading the area under the house ranges from $800 to $6,000, depending on the house’s size and excavation depth. Depending on soil type, leveling a yard will cost $0.40 to $2.00 per square foot.
The Cost To Make A House A Home When Lifting It
A house is more than just a box to occupy. It also supplies your various needs for living in the form of utilities, access, and a pleasant environment. When raising your house, you will need to adjust these things.
Utilities will have to be disconnected before lifting and then reconnected afterward—factor in fees for paying utility companies to sort out telephone, internet, and gas lines.
Plumbers will charge you anything from $45 to $150 per hour for dealing with your plumbing, and electricians will charge you $40 to $100 per hour for sorting out wiring and HVAC systems.
The entrances to your home will be elevated after raising it. You will need someone to build an exterior staircase to access each door, which will cost $800 to $2,500, depending on materials and style.
Trees and other landscaping may need removing beforehand to give access. Tree removal costs $300 to $800 per tree. Replacing landscaping after the lift will cost you $4 to $12 per square foot of yard.
The Cost Of Temporary Accommodation When Raising A House
You will not be able to live in your house while it is being raised, so factor in the cost of renting somewhere else to stay for the project’s duration.
The Cost Of Adding Stilts To A House
Raising your house above the base flood elevation (BFE) can reduce insurance premiums by anything from 30% for raising it one foot above the BFE to 60% for raising it three feet above the BFE. To find out the BFE for your property, use this tool.
You have three options for stilts, namely posts, piers, and pilings. Posts (or columns) will stand up to gentle wave action. To cope with stronger wave action, you will need to raise your home on piers or pilings.
It costs from $13,000 to $24,000 to install posts, depending on the material (wood being the least expensive option, with masonry or reinforced concrete costing more).
Reinforced concrete or masonry piers cost $8,000 to $20,000 to build, at an average of $2,000 per pier.
When elevating a house more than 10-12 feet or in coastal areas, you will typically need to use pilings.
These may be wood, steel, or concrete. The house is lifted, but it is also moved aside, the old foundation removed, and heavy machinery is used to drive the pilings deep into the ground.
Installing pilings costs $10 to $40 per square foot, for a total cost anywhere between $12,000 and $40,000. The cost varies depending on the elevation above grade and the size of the house.
Raising your home on stilts is highly worthwhile to avoid flooding and save on insurance premiums. Although considerable costs are involved in such a project, the benefits outweigh them.
Now that you have a better idea of how much it will cost to raise your house on stilts, you can decide. Check whether you qualify for a Flood Mitigation Assistance grant.