You have a crawlspace home, specifically a block and base type foundation, and you need house leveling and foundation repairs under your home. The idea of elevating your whole house has come up because it sits too low to the ground. Seems kinda drastic and you’re thinking:
Are there any problems or drawbacks with doing something crazy like this?
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we have been inspecting and repairing all types of home foundations since 1985. We know when it’s a good idea to elevate your whole home, but want to be upfront with you when there are potential disadvantages to the repairs we recommend.
There are definite benefits to elevating your entire house, especially if you are already needing house leveling repairs. There are also some drawbacks that you might want to consider when trying to decide if this option is right for your home. This article will offer a speedy overview of the benefits and take a deeper look at the drawbacks of whole home elevation.
Quick Overview of the Benefits or Pros of Elevating Your Home
You may have just come from an article outlining the 8 greatest benefits of raising your whole house to a new elevation. But if you didn’t, here’s a quick review of the biggest benefits of increasing the elevation of your low-lying home during the house leveling process.
I know it sounds a little crazy or drastic to raise your house to a whole new level, but there are some important pros that might change your mind, like:
- Your home will be easier to maintain.
- It will have improved access to utilities (plumbing, cable, electric, gas) for repair.
- The threat of termites will be lessened.
- Improved airflow minimizes the potential for dry rot and mold issues.
- The drainage situation will improve under and around the home.
- A raised home that rests higher on your lot has a nicer appearance.
- If you are putting on an addition, sometimes it’s necessary.
- It can be less expensive and less messy than the alternative to raise a low-lying home during house leveling.
I won’t go into detail on these pros in this article, since this article is mainly about the drawbacks. But if you want to know more in-depth reasoning on the benefits of elevating your whole house, check out the 8 Practical Reasons to Raise Your Whole Home.
Detailed Disadvantages or Cons of Elevating Your House
We aim to be fair and unbiased when we are presenting you with foundation repair options to consider. Elevating your home during the house leveling process does come with a few disadvantages that we can present to you here. Elevating your whole home while house leveling can:
- Add costs for plumbing line adjustments,
- Need skirting decisions & costs to change/add more, and
- Might uncover more damage than expected.
Let’s elaborate . . .
1. Additional Plumbing Costs
To explain a little further on the plumbing situation, if your home is elevated you need more length in your plumbing lines. A plumber would need to come after the house leveling to extend your drain and supply lines (and gas or propane if applicable) to accommodate for the home resting higher. The good news is that it should be easy for the plumber to get under there and do what needs to be done!
2. Skirting Issues
Crawl space homes that rest on a block and base foundation often have cosmetic skirting that encloses the crawl space. It could be some kind of lattice, louvered wood, or metal skirting. There are many styles of skirting found on block and base homes.
The bottom line here is that if your home is raised you will probably have to add new skirting if you didn’t have any before OR choose a new skirting style to replace what was there because it needs to be taller to account for the change in elevation.
Decisions will need to be made on skirting changes. There would be material and installation costs to consider as well as finding a home repair contractor that installs skirting.
These skirting issues could also be a fun thing for some so it’s not a total disadvantage in all cases. Adding a new skirting choice can *elevate* the appearance and beauty of your home with a new exterior finish.
3. More Extensive Damage
This really goes for any home that is getting leveled, there could be more extensive damage than originally anticipated. A house leveling contractor can’t get under your low-clearance home completely during the inspection to give you a bid for a crawl space home. All the problems become visible once the home is elevated.
Raising your home can bring more damage or problems to light because before they were hidden in your low-clearance crawl space and no one could see them.
Again, this could happen with any home if the foundation repair company can’t see the damaged area well due to not being able to access it. So when a home is raised and leveled there’s always a chance that more issues could be uncovered and result in extra costs, unfortunately.
But ultimately, isn’t it better to get all the problems repaired even if more of them are found?
Weighing the Pros and Cons of Elevating Your Home
It’s 8 pros against 3 cons, seems like the advantages outweigh the disadvantages . . . maybe or maybe not. (see, still trying to be fair here . . .)
Most of the pros related to elevating your home have to do with the future functionality of your house, like that it will be easier to repair and maintain later on and could prevent future problems. But I think that the biggest pro to elevating a home during house leveling is the last one (Number 8 on the pro list).
If your home is so low to the ground that a house-leveling crew can’t get under it, the idea of having to cut into the floors is a big deal. Cutting through the floors to do house leveling is messy and you very likely have to move out, on top of the fact that it could significantly increase your costs for house leveling. If this is the case for you, then elevating your home is an easier choice to make in my opinion.
On the other hand, the cons of elevating your home are all about extra costs with extending utility lines, adding or updating skirting, and the potential for discovering more damage. But these costs might not be as much as you think so we encourage you to talk to your plumber and get some estimates for skirting.
You can’t do anything one way or the other about discovering more damage so that one just is what it is.
So now is the time to do some homework and decide which option sounds right for you and the future health of your crawlspace foundation.
We Are Ready to Elevate and Level Your Home
We know what homes this elevation concept will work best for and won’t hesitate to recommend it when it’s the most beneficial option for you and your home.
Anchor Foundation Repair has elevated many homes in this way over our 35+ years in business in the Brazos Valley and sometimes it’s better for homeowners in the long run and that’s what we want for you.
If you’re wondering more about the alternative of the “cutting through the floor” approach instead of elevating everything, read more about it here: Pier and Beam Foundation Repair: Are There Different Methods?