One of the most common retrofitting methods is elevating a house to a required or desired Flood Protection Elevation (FPE). When a house is properly elevated, the living area will be above all but the most severe floods (such as the 500-year flood). Several elevation techniques are available. In general, they involve (1) lifting the house and building a new, or extending the existing, foundation below it or (2) leaving the house in place and either building an elevated floor within the house or adding a new upper story.
During the elevation process, most frame, masonry veneer, and masonry houses are separated from their foundations, raised on hydraulic jacks, and held by temporary supports while a new or extended foundation is constructed below. The living area is raised and only the foundation remains exposed to flooding. This technique works well for houses originally built on a basement, crawlspace, and open foundations. When houses are lifted with this technique, the new or extended foundation can consist of either continuous walls or separate piers, posts, columns, or pilings. Masonry houses are more difficult to lift, primarily because of their design, construction, and weight, but lifting these homes is possible.