Greetings New Jersey –
Hope everyone is doing well today and enjoying the 55 degree weather. Spring is coming in 10 days!
Today, we’re going to talk about something a little lighter, and it has to do with the appearance of your home after raising it, and the fact that you will have a large extra space under your home that can be used in a number of ways.
You may be wondering – Is your home going to be sticking up in the air, what will it look like and how will the streetscape change?
If we assume that we are raising a home between 6 and 11 feet, the space created can become a garage, a lattice enclosed area for storage, an enclosed raised basement, or a combination of these options.
When you are located in a V zone, assuming you are raising your home enough to allow for a garage underneath, there are several things to keep in mind. For one, the new floor cannot be tied into the foundation or pilings in any way, nor can it be reinforced concrete.
This means that if you pour a concrete floor, it will essentially be “floating” and will be subject to settling, frost heave and erosion of the underlying dirt. It can be done, but the risks I mentioned exist and must be considered. As a solution, we are recommending to our clients that want a floor, to use paving stones which are permeable to water and not subject to the risks I mentioned. If there is ever a problem, it is very easy to pop out a few pavers and reset them. You can also leave the floor as dirt, or install packing gravel (3/4″ blue stone), which is less expensive than concrete. So much for the floor – moving on to the enclosures.
Any enclosure around the perimeter need to be “breakaway” walls. Breakaway walls are not tied to the pilings (which are the foundation system) but are attached to the girder system upon which the house sits. They are designed to break away in the event of a storm surge or high water event, allowing water to flow freely through the piling foundation. Flood vents must still be installed in addition to using breakaway walls.
As an additional note, there can be no mechanical systems located beneath Base Flood Elevation either, so you also have the added consideration of where to locate your new furnace and hot water heater. It can go in your utility or laundry room if you have space, or be located in the attic. The AC condenser must sit on an elevated platform outside.
Another option is to simply leave the exposed pilings. That look has been common in shore communities for a number of years and is the least costly.
Finally, a compromise between the two involves a lattice surround, with a door or two framed into the lattice to access the lower space. This is perfect for garbage cans, kayaks and other sports equipment, outdoor furniture and tools or all types.
Regarding your streetscape and how it will look in the coming years, keep in mind that everyone else will eventually have to raise their home. Though in the short term you may be the first or one of the first people to do so, within a few years, the entire look of your street will fall into line with the new required elevations. So your home won’t look odd or out of place.
Keep in mind that one of the great advantages to raising your home is the increased views you will enjoy from adding 9 feet to your point of view….:):):)
Enjoy the day.