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What Having a Home on Stilts Means For You

Building homes on stilts and government regulation

Coastal Homes are in danger of flooding. In some states, a home built in any flood zone must be elevated above the base flood level using means such as stilts or a masonry foundation. For homes built in a Flood Insurance Rate Map flood zone coded as “velocity wave action”, columns or piles are mandatory.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, has flood protection elevation guidelines that may be enforced or recommended. When your home is properly elevated your living area will be above anticipated severe flood levels.

New home construction easily takes into account methods for raising homes, typically on stilts. With existing homes, the home is separated from its foundation and elevated, while a new support structure is added below.

Every 2.56 years on average the Island of Hilton Head South Carolina is subject to severe tropical windstorms, such as tropical storms and hurricanes. Even if not required by FEMA, it makes good sense to protect your home by elevating it above potentially high water levels capable of causing significant destruction.

Homes supported by pilings, stilts and pedestals are naturally resistant to storm surges and high winds, and have a far more probable prospect of surviving coastal flood events than those of conventional design.

Wood pilings have long been a traditional material for elevating structures. In contemporary times they have been discovered intact below significant structures built within the boundaries of the ancient Roman Empire, They are also the foundation of choice for many new homes constructed along the eastern seaboard.

Home stilts and commitment to respect for the environment

Around approximately 1790, Hilton Head Island was established as a community sustaining itself by the growth of Sea Island cotton. Cotton production was phased out by 1920 and soon after it was developed as a resort community.

However, unlike so many others, this community had a commitment to environmentally conscious living long before it became popular. Community development and construction were strongly monitored to preserve green spaces and to limit population density.

In conjunction with this idealistic goal, construction of homes on stilts became popular from an environmental perspective. Architecturally building on stilts is representative of respecting the land by making a relatively small footprint. It is safe to say that building homes on stilts is significant in terms of storm and flood safety, and as an environmentally friendly means of construction.

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