to Lift a House
By Lance Olsen
to lift the house we first took out the concrete slab under the
house and also removed the foundation under the load bearing wall
going down the center of the house. I use the term "foundation"
very loosely however, as it consisted of three layers of mortared
brick (mortared is also used quite loosely).
Once the concrete had been removed and the plumbing disconnected,
the professional house lifters came and took over. They spent all
morning meticulously building up the lincoln-log-esque structures
you can see here, which they called "cribs."
Once the cribs were built, they skewered our house with two enormous
steel I-beams. Incidentally, the crane they used to lift the beams
in had it's supports on the sidewalk and crushed our water main
to tiny little pieces... with hilarious consequences!!! Once the
beam was in place, they inserted jacks on top of each of the six
The jacks were controlled by a really cool machine on the truck
that had a whole bunch of flashing lights and dials and a big shiny
red button that we could hardly keep ourselves from pushing. Once
all the preparation was done it only took about 30 minutes to actually
lift the house, with two or three pauses to build the cribs up higher
and reset the jacks. And just like that, we went from having an
oppressive, dingy, six-foot basement, to having what will soon be
a beautiful 8-foot living space.