How to Lift a Garage: A Comprehensive Guide
Garages are an essential part of our homes, providing shelter for our vehicles and additional storage space.
However, over time, the ground underneath a garage can settle, causing the structure to sink and become uneven.
If your garage has settled significantly, it may be necessary to lift it to prevent further damage and create a level surface.
In this article, we will explore the different methods and considerations involved in lifting a garage.
Understanding the Importance of Proper Lifting
Lifting a garage is not a task to be taken lightly. It requires careful planning, preparation, and execution to ensure the safety and stability of the structure.
Before attempting to lift your garage, it is crucial to understand the potential risks involved and the necessary steps to mitigate them.
Assessing the Need to Lift Your Garage
The first step in lifting a garage is to determine if it is necessary.
If your garage has settled more than 3 to 4 inches in the past couple of years, there is a high chance that it will continue to sink.
Lifting the garage can prevent further damage and provide a level foundation for future use.
Deconstruct or Lift: Choosing the Right Approach
Once you have identified the need to lift your garage, you have two options to consider: deconstructing and rebuilding the garage in a more stable location or lifting the existing structure to create an elevated floor.
Each approach has its advantages and considerations, and the choice depends on various factors such as the size of the garage and the feasibility of relocation.
The Process of Lifting a Garage
Lifting a garage requires careful planning, proper equipment, and skilled labor. The process should be done gradually and inch by inch to ensure the stability of the structure.
Before lifting the garage, it is essential to brace the entire structure diagonally and horizontally to maintain its squareness.
This step is crucial to prevent any collapse or damage during the lifting process.
Minimizing Weight Before Lifting
To make the lifting process easier and safer, it is advisable to minimize the weight of the garage as much as possible.
Temporary removal of windows, shelves, cabinets, and other attached items can significantly reduce the load and facilitate the lifting process.
Setting Up Tools, Equipment, and Materials
Before initiating the lifting process, it is crucial to ensure that all the necessary tools, equipment, and materials are in place.
The bracing should be double-checked for security, and the lifting process should be well-coordinated.
This step is critical to minimize any potential risks and ensure a smooth and successful lifting operation.
The Importance of Adequate Help
Lifting a garage is not a one-person job. It requires the assistance of at least five people, ideally more, to ensure the safe and controlled lifting of the structure.
Each person should be assigned specific tasks and briefed on the safety protocols. Safety should always be the top priority during the lifting process.
Factors to Consider When Lifting a Garage
Lifting a garage involves several factors that need to be considered before undertaking the project.
These factors include the size of the garage, whether it is finished inside or outside, the presence of a slab, the garage’s relationship to the house structure, the existence of a stem wall, the presence of a house floor on top of the garage, the desired lifting height, the roof pitch, and the decision to undertake the project as a DIY or hire professional help.
DIY vs. Professional Services: Making the Right Choice
When deciding whether to lift your garage as a do-it-yourself project or hire professional services, several factors need to be considered.
These factors include your level of experience, the availability of necessary equipment, the complexity of the project, and your budget.
While a DIY project may be more cost-effective, professional services offer expertise and assurance of a job done correctly.
Lifting a garage can range in cost depending on various factors, such as the size of the garage and the extent of the lifting required.
DIY projects may cost around $5,000 or less, while professional services can cost upwards of $10,000.
It is essential to assess your budget and determine the most feasible option based on your financial capabilities.
Steps to Lift a Whole Garage
If you have chosen to lift your garage as a DIY project, the following steps can guide you through the process:
- Brace the Garage Structure: Install diagonal bracing and horizontal support to ensure the stability of the structure during the lifting process.
- Jack Up the Garage Structure: Lift the structure gradually and evenly using jacks placed under the bracing or flying buttress.
- Lifting the Garage Structure: Remove the garage walls from the foundation, detach the sole plate, and use stakes and leveling strings to monitor the height of the lift.
- Reattach the Structure: Securely fasten the structure to the foundation using anchor bolts, scabbed wood, and metal framing anchors.
- Finishing Touches: Fill any gaps that may appear, apply siding and sheathing, and install metal flashing for added protection.
Lifting a garage is a complex task that requires careful planning, preparation, and execution. By following the proper steps and considering the necessary factors, you can safely lift your garage and create a level, stable foundation for your vehicles and belongings.
Whether you choose to tackle the project as a DIY endeavor or enlist the help of professionals, the key is to prioritize safety and ensure the long-term stability of your garage.
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