Regardless of whether your home has been damaged by a flood or not, elevating it above the Base Foot Elevation (BFE) is a great strategy to prevent, or at least mitigate, potential flood-related damage in the future. Although elevation isn’t required for the homes built before the current construction standards, unless the homeowners decide to rebuild completely, lifting your home is advisable considering that flash flooding tends to become more frequent with climate change. In this blog post, we’re going to answer the question “Why should I get my home elevated?” by presenting the most important benefits of lifting your home.
Reduced Home Damage and Ease of Maintenance
Home elevation is an effective long-term solution that can be used to reduce or eliminate the risk of flood damage to your property. A loss avoidance study, including 23 homes located in Louisiana, has found that most homes would have been flooded above the finished floor level if they weren’t elevated before Hurricane Isaac.
Another noteworthy point is that many Houston homes located in flood-prone areas have structural issues. That’s because the homes constructed before the introduction of building codes don’t have perimeter drainage. At some point, most of those homes suffered water damage, which has led to different structural problems. Although individual structural damage could be repaired, lifting your house gives you the opportunity to permanently fix all the existent structural problems, and also keep your home, family, and pets safe during floods.
In addition, home elevation can help you prevent foundation damage that may result from a differential settlement, which could occur at any time during the life of a home. The use of driven concrete piers or pile guard piers with a raised floor system can stop active cracks in foundation, floors, walls, and ceilings, and fix many other structural issues that may affect your home in the future, while also turning difficult projects, like house leveling and PEX repiping, into more manageable tasks.
On the downside, home elevation may require a modification of your plumbing and electrical systems, which could lead to a bigger repair bill. But a raised floor typically makes plumbing and electrical maintenance much easier. Maintaining your home’s plumbing and electrical systems regularly allows you to catch issues early and prevent them from turning into large, dangerous problems and much more expensive repairs later on.
Lower Flood Insurance Premiums
Because the standard homeowners’ insurance doesn’t provide flood coverage, you need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy from FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program in order to protect your property from flood damage. Besides reimbursing you for flood damage, flood insurance can help you qualify for disaster assistance in the form of loans or grants, and obtain mortgages from government-backed lenders. In fact, flood insurance is required by most lenders when properties are located in high-risk flood zones.
The average cost of flood insurance in Texas is $700 a year, varying according to the value of the property, the amount of deductible, and flood risk. Although the benefits of having flood insurance far outweigh its cost as more floods happen, a lower monthly premium could help you save a lot of money in the long term. One way to save money on flood insurance without sacrificing coverage is to elevate your home.
Higher Property Value
A Houston home that’s been elevated above the BFE is far more desirable to prospective buyers compared to a home that might be subjected to flood damage in the future. Lifting your home will also boost its curb appeal and allow you to get a better view of the surroundings. In addition, elevation will add more usable space to your property because you can use the space under your house for storage – it’s like the basement you never had. All these could increase the value of your home considerably. Property value is important, whether you intend to sell your Houston home or reside in it indefinitely.
Reduced Need for Shelter and Assistance in Case of a Flood
Living in a flood-prone zone comes with a certain level of risk and responsibility to our families. Elevating your home will give you peace of mind in knowing that you’ll be able to keep your home, family, and pets safe, without needing shelter or assistance during or after a flood. As well, you no longer need to move furniture, artwork, and other valuables to a higher level every time there’s a flood.
Because many problems, including structural issues and water damage caused by flooding, aren’t completely apparent to the untrained eye, many people who live in Houston and surrounding areas have faced all sorts of structural problems. To avoid those problems, you don’t need to relocate. Instead, you may want to consider getting in touch with our professionals today for a free assessment and cost estimate of your home elevation project!