Neighbors lift Bellaire homes to try to prevent future flooding

HOUSTON – Bellaire homeowners are making a huge difference as they try to avoid a repeat of floodwaters damaging their homes after Hurricane Harvey.

Nearly 3 feet of water stood inside Angela Watts’ home in Bellaire after Harvey.

The water came up to just below the doorknob on the front door. It was the first time her home had flooded. She threw away everything on the first floor.

"The refrigerator, the couch -- everything was floating around. So, it was --  you don't realize how bad it is until you see your refrigerator floating around your house," Watts said.

Watts and her next-door neighbor both decided to have their homes lifted 5 feet. On Monday, the homes were raised in increments, in a process that took all day. 

Watts said each move raised the homes 8 inches. She said workers dug tunnels and inserted hydraulic jacks under the two homes on Holt Street in Bellaire.  

"We're used to lifting two in one day but not side by side. It usually doesn't work out like that on the calendar or on the scheduling. Fortunately these two homeowners put it together for us," Planet 3 Elevation CEO Wayne Fairley said.

He said the lift cost each homeowner about $150,000. Fairley said the price ranges from $40 to $80 per square foot, depending on how much work the elevation company has to do beyond the actual lifting. 

Fairley said that work could include reconnecting utilities and building the skirting that will hide the underside of the elevated home. Watts is looking forward to having a home that will not flood. She said she expects to be back inside her home in one to two weeks.