House Raising Costs: Budgeting Tips and Hidden Expenses to Watch Out For

House raising—lifting a home off its existing foundation to build a new one or to elevate it—is an undertaking that can offer numerous advantages, from flood prevention to creating additional living space. But as with any significant home improvement project, it’s crucial to understand the financial aspects involved before diving in. Failing to budget for a house raising project properly could lead to a half-finished home and drained savings. This blog post aims to provide a comprehensive guide to the costs associated with house raising, budgeting tips to prepare for the expense, and insights into some hidden costs that could catch you off guard.

Whether you’re considering raising your home to protect against floods, to make necessary foundation repairs, or to add value to your property, this blog post is designed to help you make an informed financial decision. Read on to discover what you need to know about types of house raising methods, common costs involved, and how to prepare for unexpected expenses.

House Raising Costs

Why Raise a House?

One of the most compelling reasons to consider house raising is flood prevention. If your home is located in a flood-prone area, elevating it can significantly mitigate the risk of water damage. This is especially important when climate change increases the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, including floods. A properly elevated home can save you thousands of dollars in potential repairs, not to mention the emotional stress caused by flood damage.

Another common reason to lift a house is to make necessary foundation repairs. Over time, foundations can suffer from a range of issues—such as cracking, settling, or even rot—that can make the structure unsafe. House raising allows for comprehensive repairs that can extend the life of your home and make it safer for you and your family.

Elevating a home can also offer the benefit of additional living space. For instance, lifting a single-story home can make room for an entirely new floor beneath it. This could be more cost-effective than moving to a larger home or building an outward extension, especially in neighbourhoods where land is expensive.

Finally, a well-executed house raising project can add significant value to your property. Elevated homes are generally more attractive to buyers, especially those purchasing in flood-prone areas. Moreover, the added square footage or improved foundation can also be strong selling points.

Types of House Raising

Traditional Cribbing

This method uses wooden beams and jacks to lift the home. It’s one of the oldest and most tried-and-true methods but can be labour-intensive and time-consuming.

Hydraulic Jacking

This modern method employs hydraulic jacks and metal beams to lift the house. It’s faster and often more precise than traditional cribbing but tends to be more expensive.

Helical Piles

This innovative technique uses screw-like piles to lift the house. It is often faster than other methods and can be less disruptive to the surrounding property.

The Cost Differences Between the Various Types

The cost to raise a house will vary significantly depending on your chosen method. Traditional cribbing is often less expensive but slower, while hydraulic jacking and helical piles can be more expensive but offer speed and precision.

Preparing for the Cost

Importance of Research and Quotes

Before you decide to lift your home, it’s essential to do your homework. This means gathering quotes from multiple contractors who specialise in house raising. Remember, the cheapest quote can be better. You must consider the quality of work, reputation of the contractor, and the specifics of what each quote includes.

Obtaining Multiple Estimates

Getting multiple estimates can give you a clearer picture of what the market rate is for your specific project. It also gives you the leverage to negotiate prices and terms.

Consulting Experts for a More Accurate Budget

If possible, consult with structural engineers or architects who can provide expert opinions on your project. This added perspective can help you create a more accurate budget, accounting for contingencies that you might have yet to consider.

Budgeting Tips

Prioritise Needs vs Wants

When budgeting, differentiate between what you need and what you want. For example, you may need to repair the foundation but want to add a new floor. Understanding this difference can help you make smarter financial decisions.

Plan for Contingencies

Always plan for unexpected costs. A good rule of thumb is to set aside at least 10–20% of the total project cost for contingencies such as weather delays or unforeseen structural issues.

Consider Financing Options

Last but not least, consider how you’ll finance the project. If you don’t have the cash saved up, you have several options:

Home Equity Loans

These loans use the equity you’ve built up in your home to finance the project. They often have lower interest rates but do put your home at risk if you can’t make the repayments.

Personal Loans

Unsecured personal loans are another option but generally come with higher interest rates.


If you have significant savings, this could be the most straightforward way to finance your project without accruing debt.

Common Costs Involved



Labour costs can vary significantly depending on the project’s complexity and duration. Most contractors charge either by the hour or provide a lump sum estimate based on the man-hours required to complete the job.

Skill Level

The expertise needed for the project can also affect labour costs. Highly specialised jobs requiring experienced or certified professionals will typically cost more.

Regional Factors

Labour costs can also fluctuate based on geographical location. Contractors in urban areas or high-cost-of-living regions usually charge more than those in rural areas.


Type and Quality of Materials Used

Material costs can differ widely, whether it’s the wood for cribbing or steel beams for hydraulic jacking. Higher-quality materials might be more costly upfront but can offer long-term benefits like durability and improved safety.

Quantity Required

The size and scope of your project will determine the quantity of materials needed, directly affecting your overall budget.

Permits and Regulations

Local and State Building Codes

You’ll need to secure various permits to comply with local and state building codes, another cost to consider. Failure to do so could result in fines or even halting your project.

Environmental Regulations

Environmental assessments or permits may be necessary depending on your location, especially if your home is in a floodplain or protected area.

House Raising Costs

Additional Costs

Utility Disconnection and Reconnection

You may need to disconnect utilities like gas, water, and electricity temporarily during the raising process, incurring reconnection fees afterwards.

Temporary Accommodation

Unless your project is very short-term, you’ll likely need a place to stay while the work is completed, adding to your costs.

Storage for Household Items

You may also need to store furniture and other belongings temporarily, requiring rental of a storage unit.

Hidden Expenses to Watch Out For

Unforeseen Structural Issues

Decayed Foundation

Previously unidentified issues like a decayed foundation may become apparent during the lifting process, escalating costs.

Insect Damage

Similarly, hidden insect damage, such as termites, could necessitate additional repairs.

Water Damage

Old water damage might be exposed, requiring unplanned-for remedial work.

Landscape Restoration

Replacing or Repairing Driveways, Gardens, etc.

Your landscaping may suffer during the house lifting process, requiring additional investment in restoration.

Cost Overruns

Weather Delays

Inclement weather can prolong the project, incurring extra labour and rental costs for equipment.

Complexity of the Job

Sometimes, the project turns out to be more complex than initially anticipated, leading to cost overruns.

House raising is a complex but often rewarding endeavour that can offer flood protection, extra living space, or a stronger foundation. However, this project’s success hinges largely on thorough budgeting and planning. Without adequate preparation, you may face escalating costs and unexpected delays.

In summary, it’s essential to research, consult multiple experts, and prepare for contingencies. Remember to account not just for the obvious costs like labor and materials but also for permits, additional expenses, and potential hidden costs.

So, before you embark on this significant home improvement journey, weigh the pros and cons carefully. With diligent planning, a realistic budget, and a bit of caution, your house raising project can be a resounding success, bringing you peace of mind and adding value to your home.

Here’s to elevating your living—both literally and figuratively!