• Bilek Builders

Why We Lift Houses: Forest Beach Chatham Project


As we shared last week, not all houses are built with a full foundation under them. Some sit merely on concrete block and some just have crawl spaces underneath it. This is especially true for older and historic homes. Sometimes the existing foundation fails and needs to be replaced. On Cape Cod, specifically, old cottages are being renovated into four season homes. Full basements are very appealing for added living space, mechanical and storage. With many of the bylaws in Cape Cod towns your house cannot exceed a certain ridge height so digging down is often your only option when you cannot go up another story. We have two current projects that we are lifting for entirely different reasons.


(See our first highlighted project HERE.)

This week we highlight our project on Forest Beach in Chatham. It is a historic home that sat on a shallow foundation rendering the homeowners unable to finish the space. This house fronts Nantucket Sound and its easterly property line is tight. The earth had to be shored up with steel plates to hold it up so it would not cave in upon excavation. Then the house was cut from its existing foundation, lifted, and placed on temporary supports. The old foundation was demolished and removed. A new deeper hole

was dug to accommodate a basement with 10’ ceilings and a walk out. Next the foundation company came in, set the footings and walls. The new foundation was poured in a manner that lines up precisely with the corners of the existing structure. Once the foundation was waterproofed, the excavation company came back and backfilled. The house was set back on its new foundation leaving the temporary I-beam supports in until the permanent beams are slid in and fastened. This new basement will be finished conditioned space to give added living space and storage.

Lifting houses is not for the faint of heart. Usually when we do it the house is gutted and cause for less concern. However, if you are lifting a house you are not planning to renovate you must worry about walls & floors cracking, separating & settling. It takes a great team and for the General Contractor it is like conducting a symphony. Each subcontractor must play its part to perfection at the right time.


Contact us today if you plan to lift your house.

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