In addition to giving you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your loved ones are protected during flood events, home elevation allows you to continue living in your own home and in the same neighborhood while saving you a lot of money that you would otherwise spend to repair your home every time it’s damaged by a flood.
Unfortunately, many Houstonians who own an older home are afraid that the elevation process could negatively affect the structural integrity as well as the aesthetics and market value of their mid-century modern architectural gems. Therefore, the fact that many Houston homeowners are reluctant to raise their older homes to safe levels comes as no surprise despite the undeniable benefits of lifting a home, particularly in a flood-prone area. However, a home elevation project shouldn’t scare you, regardless of whether you have an older or newer home. Here is why.
Understanding the Home Elevation Process
An elevation project always begins with a comprehensive evaluation of the home’s structure. Upon your request, a home elevation contractor will come to your home to check your foundation as well as other structural components for signs of damage. If there are any signs of foundation distress, the specialist will recommend the most appropriate repair methods that can make your home structurally sound again so that it can be elevated safely above the BFE. If your home doesn’t have any foundation problems or other structural issues, the elevation process can commence without any repair work to be performed in advance.
Once the specialist determines that the elevation can be completed safely and securely, the team will start to develop an elevation design plan for your property, based on your detailed floor plan. In general, a home elevation design plan includes one elevation view for each side of the home. The plan should also provide detailed information about the elevation of the ground on all the sides of the home and about the types of building materials used in the foundation, slab, and exterior features (e.g. stairs, porches, decks, chimneys, etc.) as well as the siding options available. Because the charm of older Houston homes is essential to the unique character and identity of communities, the elevation design plans for older homes focus not only on their safe elevation but also on the preservation and enhancement of the features that contribute to the overall historic character of these homes.
Elevating Your Home without Negatively Affecting Its Unique Character
If you live in an older Houston home, you already know that its character is defined by specific architectural details as well as landscape features, including topography, plants, walkways, and driveways. Because site features are extremely important for older properties, the home elevation contractor must determine the appropriate elevation to which your home should be raised based on the existing site elevations as well as the elevation level recommended for your area. The contractor should also try to preserve the terrain conditions existent on your property.
The façade and entryway are two other elements the specialist should consider when developing the elevation design plan for your home. The majority of older homes in Houston feature a prominent location for the front entrance door, which also defines the position of entrance steps, porches, and columns. To mitigate any adverse visual impacts, the contractors typically place the sub-story elements they use to lift the homes right below existing porch columns and other vertical components. Any new stairs, columns, and landings that are used to compensate for the elevation changes should also compliment the design of the existing façades, stairs, and porches.
In addition, the home elevation specialists are doing their best to preserve historic building materials that are in good condition and replace only the materials that are damaged beyond repair with materials that match the original. By opting for elevation elements and materials that complement existing home details, the specialists promote the continuity of design elements for a more cohesive look, thereby minimizing the visual impact that specific elevation changes could have on an older Houston home.
As well, if a Houston home has any existing landscape features (e.g. a sloping yard, subsurface drainage, dry creek beds, plants that allow rainwater to drain more efficiently, etc.) that could help prevent flooding, or at least mitigate its effects, the specialists will take them into account early in the planning stage and develop a plan on how to use them to the best advantage. Using specific components that are already part of a piece of property allows contractors to achieve the elevation project’s goals without sacrificing the unique qualities of the home.
If you’re planning to elevate your Houston home, our professionals are ready to help you develop the right strategy for your property. To get all the benefits of lifting your home with none of the drawbacks, feel free to get in touch with our experienced home elevation specialists today!