Stilts houses are common in coastal areas to adjust to the high and low tides. People living in lowland and coastal areas build their homes on stilts to cope with the tides. The stilts sit right underneath the home and work as a reinforcement foundation.
However, at times the house may have uneven leveling. You must level the home to stop it from falling apart when it happens. Thus, you must know how to level a house on stilts. It will help you relevel the home and enjoy its coziness inside.
You should start by finding the unleveled point, how uneven it is there, and what’s causing the problem. Then, you can start leveling the home floor or the stilts for a quick fix. The stilts are adjustable from 24-40 inches to level the home floor. Also, call a construction professional and run a detailed inspection to avoid further damage.
7 Easy Steps On How To Level A House On Stilts
Stilts are long poles. Traditionally, people used wooden stilts as the foundation of their homes in the coastal areas. These days, you will see cement and concrete stilts for maximum reinforcement. At times, the stilts may become unleveled because of the movement of the earth. Also, landslides and sudden drops in the foundation may cause the stilts to become uneven.
You must act fast and relevel the stilts and home floor when it happens. In most cases, homes will have uneven joists in the bathroom and kitchen due to heavy use of water.
Step 1: Determine the unleveled point:
As you sense that the stilts underneath the home have become uneven, start inspecting them. Try to find where the problem lies. Is the home floor uneven? Or is it the stilts that have become unleveled?
You will need to observe the entire home and its foundation with your naked eyes. Also, you may run a video inspection. It will help you quickly find where you need to fix the floor or stilts. After that, use water or laser level and a taut string to measure the depth of the unevenness.
Stick one end of the string with a saggy joist on one side. Then, run it at the other side of the home. Now, use a measuring tool to calculate the distance. You will quickly know the problematic location as you repeat the process multiple times.
Step 2: Mark where leveling is required:
After finding the spot, mark it with a pencil or pen. It is necessary so that you don’t lose the spot and must follow “Step 1” again. Also, marking the place will help you in further inspections.
Step 3: Try finding the right cause:
Now, it’s time to inspect the root of the unleveled home. In most cases, the wooden or concrete stilts may be broken or damaged. Also, the joists of the floor can be saggy and damaged. So, carefully move around the tricky spot and see the reason.
If the stilts are damaged, you may need to repair or replace them. For the saggy joists and floors, you have to replace them with new and stronger ones.
Step 4: Building a temporary stilt block:
Before starting working with the damaged stilts, you must build a temporary block. It will assist the home to stay in its position as you reveal the stilt. For this, you can use large blocks of wood. Alternatively, you can choose concrete blocks.
Whatever stilt you use, make sure it is strong enough to carry the weight of the floor. Also, ensure the blocks are stable and don’t move. Or else the floor may break apart for a costlier repair.
Step 5: Use a hydraulic jack to level the floor joist:
The leveling of the floor joist and stilts will require a hydraulic jack. You need to put it right underneath the unleveled spot and increase the height to make it even. You may try getting the hydraulic jack from neighbors. Alternatively, many workshops will rent it to you on a daily hiring basis. Getting the jack for $5 to $10 per day rent is possible.
- Make space for the hydraulic jack right next to the temporary block.
- Ensure that the jack is placed on a level soiling and it is stable
- Now, start increasing the height of the jacks until it levels up the home joist and floor
- As you increase the height and adjust the leveling, you will need thinner pieces of blocks to add to the stilts.
- Once the joist and home flooring are leveled, stabilize the hydraulic jack and start working with the stilts.
Step 6: Level up the stilts:
Now, you will need smaller and thinner pieces of wooden or concrete blocks. You need to put it right above the stilt to adjust its height. For this, measure how much distance you need to cover to help the stilts reach an even floor.
Once you have measured the height required for leveling up, start screwing the stilts to reach their height. You can raise it to 40 inches.
- Locate the wing nuts and unscrew them with a wrench
- Slide the bolts to adjust the height in place of the wing nuts
- Now, lift or lower the stilts using the adjustable bolts
- Once you have reached the height you require, remove the bolts
- Finally, reinstall the wing nuts on either
You must reinforce the stilts with other concrete and construction glue. Also, allow the concrete and glue to dry up and become stronger. It will take approximately 48 hours. After that, you can remove the hydraulic jack.
Step 7: Add another stilt to support the new elevation:
It is a good practice to reinforce the new elevation with another stilt. You should install it on either way of the elevated stilt. It will help you remove the temporary block. As you use stilts, you must consider the weight of your home. It is crucial because the stilts must accommodate the home’s weight, or the home will break apart.
According to construction experts, an adjustable stilt can accommodate around 250 pounds. You can adjust the height of the stilts from 24 to 40 inches. Thus, calculate how much weight the stilt has to bear and get the one accordingly.
Once you have mounted the new stilt, you can try removing the temporary post.
Frequently Asked Question
- Is it hard to work on stilts?
Although most people perceive that working with the stilts is challenging, it’s not. You can use the height-adjusting bolts to increase or decrease the height of the stilts for your home.
- Does OSHA allow stilts?
OSHA doesn’t restrict you from using stilts to build homes. Also, you don’t need their permission to adjust the height to level up your home floor and joists.
- What is the difference between stilts and pilings?
In reality, there’s no significant difference between the piling and stilt. These are used to reinforce your home foundation in earthquake-prone and coastal areas.
Leveling up your home with stilts and adjusting their height isn’t tricky. You must find the spot where you need to level up the home floor. Then, install a temporary post underneath the floor and use bolts to adjust the stilts’ height. Finally, you should call a professional for a detailed inspection to avoid future inconveniences.