Why We Lift Houses: Sunken Meadow Beach Project
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. This blog showcases one of the projects. Next week we will highlight the second project.
On Sunken Meadow Beach in Eastham, we have lifted a two-story house that had an existing full foundation underneath it. In order for the homeowner to proceed with the proposed renovations, which include a 3rd story, FEMA mandated that they had to lift the house and place it on steel caissons and wood pilings because it sits almost literally in Cape Cod Bay and thus it is in the floodplain. By doing this the water can flow straight through during a storm surge instead of flooding the house. This required the house be cut from its existing foundation, lifted off and placed on temporary supports. The old foundation was demolished and taken away. In its place 16, 50’ steel caissons were driven into the ground as well as 25 wood pilings. The house was lifted onto these piers and set down with space for steel I-beams to slip through and support the house.
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. Let us know if you plan to lift your house.