If the spot where your garage is sitting has settled more than 3 to 4 inches in the last couple of years, there is no surety that it won’t stop sinking. You may need to lift your garage. In this article, I’ll show you the different ways you can lift your garage.
Lifting a garage should be done gradually and very carefully. It should be done inch by inch. At most, the lifting should be done four inches at a time until you reach your desired garage floor height. Before lifting the garage, its entire structure must be braced diagonally and even horizontally to keep it square all the time.
It is entirely possible to lift a whole garage. There’s a lot of preparation involved to ensure that the entire structure won’t collapse while you’re lifting the floor. Homeowners lift their to create a new subfloor that will serve as its new platform. Some service companies even move garages from place to place.
Read on to learn more about lifting a garage, the activities involved in doing it, and the many ways you can do it.
Lifting Garage – How to Lift Garage
Deconstruct the Garage or Lift the Floor
It is unfortunate if the land where your garage is sitting now is slowly sinking year by year. There is something you can do to prevent this problem from getting worse. You could de-construct your garage and then rebuild it in another more stable spot. Or you can lift it so you can have an elevated floor.
Lifting Should Be Done Inch by Inch
You should lift the garage inch by inch. But before you lift it, you should brace its structure, diagonally and even horizontally. In that way, the structure will remain square while you are slowly increasing its vertical level.
Some homeowners have lifted their garages because the land has settled below its original level. So, they need to raise their garage to pour cement or concrete to create a new subfloor. You could do this too, as long as the size of the garage is not big enough to make it impossible to move.
Minimize the Garage’s Weight Before Lifting
If possible, you have to minimize the weight of the garage before lifting the garage. You can do this by temporarily removing the windows, the shelves and cabinets, and other attached items to the garage’s structure or frame. The garage lifting will proceed without so much hassle.
Setup Tools, Equipment, and Materials in Place
You should get everything in place, tools, equipment, and materials. Check every brace if they are secure in place twice. This step should take up much of the time because the actual lifting may take an hour.
Get the Help of At Least Five People
Get the help of as many hands as possible. The minimum should be five people. You should assign one person each for a jack you will use and one or two people to slip wood blocks under the wall as temporary support as the whole garage is being lifted.
In this type of project, safety should be your first concern. You should brief every person involved in the activity about their tasks and how they can perform them in the safest way possible.
Factors to Consider When Lifting Garage
Lifting a garage is not an ordinary thing to do. You should be aware of the different factors that come into play in this kind of activity. Knowing these factors will help you get a grip on what it takes to lift a whole garage.
There are several questions you need to answer first before you undertake this project. Here are some of those questions and why you need to answer them before proceeding with this project:
1. How Big Is Your Garage?
The size of your garage will indicate its overall weight.
2. Is Your Garage Finished out on Its Inside or It Is Not Finished at All?
If your garage is finished inside, it will be heavier than the one that is finished outside. In addition, you won’t be able to see how its structure was made. Ceiling joists and rafters are heavier than roof trusses.
3. Is the Garage on a Slab?
If your garage is on top of a slab, it may not have the proper footing wherein you can put a block wall.
4. Is the Garage’s Frame a Part of the Structure of Your House?
If it’s a part of the house structure, you can lift your garage by itself.
5. Does Your Garage Have a Stem Wall?
6. Is There a House Floor on Top of Your Garage?
7. How High Do You Want to Jack up Your Garage?
8. Does the Roof of Your Garage Have a Standard 1/12 Pitch or Is It Taller?
If the roof pitch on your garage is taller than the standard, its weight is heavier.
9. Will You Lift the Garage by Yourself or Will You Hire a Professional?
Yes, you can lift your garage to the reasonable height that you want. But as you can see, there are a lot of factors to consider. Construction is one of these variables. Are you looking at it as a DIY project? If you do, you should have all the necessary equipment to do this project.
Or would you instead farm it out to a professional construction service company? It appears that this is the most convenient route for you to take since you will be using the skills and experience of the professionals. However, prepare to shoulder the extra cost of professional fees.
10. How Much Are You Willing to Spend?
Some people who have the experience say that you could be spending around $5,000 or even less if you go DIY. If money is not a problem, you can use the services of construction companies specializing in this kind of thing.
Admittedly, your expense will be a lot higher if you choose to do it this way. Some say it could cost you around $10,000 plus to get someone to do it for you.
Again, how should you lift a garage? Lifting a garage should be done slowly, inch by inch, at most 4 inches at a time. To ensure safety, check whether the entire structure is braced diagonally and horizontally.
How to Lift a Whole Garage
If your garage has a stick-framed structure, it already has the necessary load-bearing elements that will allow you to avoid putting a lot of braces for lifting support. Some experts in this work say that majority of the lifting to correct the sagging east wall will come from the eastern corners of the walls on the north and south parts of the structure.
An expert in this matter has given their advice on how you should go about lifting your garage. The following are the steps that you should take according to this expert:
1. Brace the Garage Structure
- Inside your garage, tack or nail two 12-foot long 2 x 8 ledgers or wood boards to the southeast and northeast walls. They should be around 2 feet from the floor of the garage.
- Drive three 16d form nails, double-headed, through these ledgers right to each stud.
- Nail a triangular 3/4-inch thick plywood gusset to the two sides of every stud. Place them every 4 feet along the ledgers.
- See that the notched gussets are 3 1/2 inches from the bottom to fit securely around the ledger.
- Nail 2 x 4 stiffeners flatwise between the gussets. At this point, the top edge of the stiffeners at the bottom should be against the ledger’s underside.
- Toenail the 2 x 4 bottom stiffeners to the studs.
2. Jack Up the Garage Structure
- You should lift the structure by putting jacks under every gusset or flying buttress that you have made.
- You can balance the lift better if you would set a long 4 x 6 wood (on edge) or a 6 x 6 timber under the buttresses. Jack them from under the wood timbers.
- Using the same buttress and timber setup on the southeast and northeast walls, jack them up alternately. Do it in such a way that the garage structure will rise evenly.
- Set several 4 x 4 braces diagonally against the outside wall of the structure. This will prevent the wall from kicking back when you are lifting it.
3. Lifting the Garage Structure
- Remove the nuts from the anchor bolts on the foundation. If need be, saw through the metal anchors. Pull all the nails if the wall’s sole plate is nailed into a mudsill.
- Before you start jacking or lifting the structure, you need to pry off this plate from the foundation. If after lifting the ends of the two whole east wall is not lifted as you lift the ends of the two long walls, try to lever up the eastern part of the wall.
- Drive the appropriate number of stakes into the floor of the garage. You can also choose to nail them to the foundation wall. You should do this at the inside corners of the east wall. Then stretch a leveling string between these two points. This will allow you to see how high you can lift the structure.
- Upon removing the structure from its foundation, get a sledgehammer and use it to detach the sole plate from the studs. You may need to remove some of the sidings and saw or cut through some of the sheathing and nails before you can free the sole plate.
- Re-attach the structure to the anchor bolts or nail it to the sill. Use double-headed nails and scab a two-foot long 2 x 6 wood to the side of each stud.
- Tie this scabbed wood to the plate with metal framing anchors.
- Cut several pieces of blocking wood. Use these pieces to fill the gaps between the plates and the bottoms of the studs.
- The wall will begin to settle. If it continues to settle, you need to pull the nails out of the scabs. Then you should replace the wooden blocks with taller blocks.
- Upon releasing the pressure on the jacks, and when you removed the buttresses and ledgers, the garage wall should settle. Gaps will appear afterwards.
- If there are gaps that won’t close up, try to lay a wood plank across the garage roof and hammer on it using a sledgehammer until the gaps close.
- To finish the job, fill the outside of the wall with tapered pieces of sidings and sheathings. Before you apply the finish siding, install metal flashing over the sheathings.
- Allow the flashing to run from 3 to 4 inches below the top of the wall’s foundation. If there is a need to lift the garage walls again, the gap will still be covered.
Overview of the Whole Lifting Process
The whole process of garage lifting, as described above, is quite lengthy and a bit complicated. Below is the summary of steps:
- Prepare everything before starting the process,
- Brace the structure for the required support,
- Detach the garage walls from the pad or the slab,
- Put the required cribbing,
- Jack the structure slowly and evenly to its new height,
- Build block wall under the structure,
- Lower the structure onto its new wall, and
- Fasten the structure securely to its new pad.
Conclusion: Lifting Garage – How to Lift Garage
To lift a garage, you should do it gradually and very carefully. The usual procedure is to lift the structure inch by inch. Lifting a garage should be done gradually and very carefully. You should do this inch by inch. At most, you should only lift it as much as 4 inches at a time until you reach your desired lifting height.
Prepare the materials, equipment, and everything else before lifting your garage. The important thing is to brace the entire structure. You should use diagonal bracing and even horizontal bracing. It is important for the garage structure always to be squared while it is being lifted.