An elevated house is a house that is on columns or other structure where the first floor is higher then the ground and open underneath. This is mostly done in flood zones so that the house is higher than the flood plain and water can flow underneath.
The most common reason to build an elevated house is because the home is in the flood zone. You can of course build an elevated house anywhere you like but you should make sure your local zoning codes will not be an issue. Zoning codes will often set a limit to the height of houses.
Why are Flood Zone Houses Elevated?
In the flood zone, you want to elevate your house above the flood plain so that when there is a flood the house will be protected above the water. The house will sit on stilts of wood, concrete, or steel that are open underneath. You do not want walls under the house in the flood zone because of hydro static pressure. The house will be in danger of being tipped over or knocked off its foundation if there are walls in the flood waters. If there are only columns under the house, the water can flow freely and not put pressure on the house. To learn more about flood zone houses, you can see another post we wrote on Flood Proof House Ideas.
Can You Elevate an Existing House
You can elevate an existing house, but this is a costly and complicated process. The house needs to be stable and jacked and then columns can be installed under the house to the new elevation. The house is then fastened to the columns.
Elevated Concrete House in New York
This is a concrete house we did in New York in the flood zone. The house was built with poured in place concrete on concrete columns.
Elevated House Designs
In this article, we discussed some general ideas with regards to Elevated House Design. This post does not assume to cover all possible issues or conditions but rather provide a basic introduction on the subject.
Thank you for reading our blog post on Elevated Houses.
I hope this was helpful. If you would like to speak with an architect about a potential project you can contact us at Fontan Architecture directly.
This post was written by Jorge Fontan AIA a Registered Architect and owner of New York City architecture firm Fontan Architecture. Jorge Fontan has earned 3 degrees in the study of architecture including two degrees from the City University of New York and a Masters Degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. Jorge has a background in construction and has been practicing architecture for 15 years where he has designed renovations and new developments of various building types.