Learn how House Raising can protect your home from floods. Read these articles by Black & White restumping services in Brisbane, Sunshine and Gold Coasts.

Should You Worry If You Are Buying in a Flood-Prone Area?

flooded neighbourhood

Flood prone areas are those that are flat areas surrounding a large body of water. Brisbane is an example of a flood prone area because the city is built around the Brisbane River, which is prone flooding during storm surges and other severe weather events.

Because Queensland is a tropical region, it can also be prone to cyclones which bring heavy rain with them. Often, the question of whether you should or shouldn’t buy in a flood prone area can be a moot point if you are prepared and take precautions to prevent your home from suffering the ill effects that may occur due to flooding.

As we will discuss, the risk of living or buying a home in a flood prone area can be mitigated by taking some precautions.

Know Where You Stand

The first question is to find out if you are buying into a flood prone area. This can be found from looking at the flood maps, council records and reading up on the history of the area.

The local city council of your area will have records of all the major flood events that have happened in the area, for you to gauge how often there has been flooding, and how severe it was.

What Risks Do Floods Bring?

Flooding can cause a lot of damage to people, homes and infrastructure. Excess water can completely destroy homes, or it can lead to long term issues such as mould, wood rot, rust, bacteria and more.

Usually when there is too much water in the ground it can affect the sewerage pipes, which can cause unpleasant surges of faeces to come up through the ground and invade homes.

How to Work with a Flood Prone Home

Whether you have already purchased and discovered later that it is in a flood zone, or still want to go ahead and buy the home despite the obvious risks, there are ways of being prepared.

One of the best ways of working with your flood prone home is to have it raised above the flood waters. This would mean that you employ a company such as Black & White Houseraising & Restumping to assist you with lifting the house up and creating space between you and the surging flood waters.

Not only would you ensure that the house is kept high and dry, but you would have the advantage of extra space underneath for a rumpus room or other area for the family to enjoy together.

Another way of ensuring that the flood waters do not pose a problem for you is to keep low laying areas of the home free of items that would be damaged by water. This might mean having the downstairs flooring made of material that can withstand water, installing exterior electrical items above ground level, and having insurance that covers you for flooding.

There are ways of working with the ebb and flow of nature, and it is all about preparation and forward thinking.

What Types of Homes Can’t Be Raised?

brick home

When it comes to raising a house, people do it for a variety of different reasons. The most common is for the purpose of elevating the building above flood waters. Other reasons could be when the house is being moved to a new location, or to increase the amount of space that is available to be used under the home, for extra rooms or for storage. It is well known that the Queenslander style wooden houses are the buildings that are most commonly raised but what sort of buildings are unable to be raised and why?

Structurally Unsound Houses

When we consider the process involved with raising a house, we can see how it is an extremely complex process whereby the building is taken off its foundations, put onto jacks and raised, before it is secured to new foundations. For this reason, houses that are not structurally sound, such as if the foundations are damaged by water, amongst others, will not fare well during the raising, and may present danger to the workers, and further damage to the structure. Before there is a commitment to raising a house it will be assessed for soundness.

Multi-story Houses

As you might imagine, due to the complex process of raising a house, multi-story houses are not able to be raised. This is due to the instability that would occur for the higher stories, during the process of raising the first level and how difficult it would be to stabilise them during the raising. Additionally, the weight of the house will determine how many jacks will need to be used to support the structure during the process, which would make it all the more challenging and costly.

Brick Houses

Most brick houses in Australia are built straight onto the concrete foundation, which does not allow for the building to be lifted easily away from its footings. Houses that have exterior brick or stucco wall coverings will complicate the lifting process as these exterior coverings will need to be removed before the house can be lifted.

Large Complex Design Houses

The shape of the house will determine how easily and if it is able to be raised, depending on how complex the raising process will be. The best houses for raising purposes are simple shapes, such as rectangles or squares that do not have too many extra additions. Houses that do have attached additions such as porches, verandas, garages or extended wings will prove to be much more time consuming and costly, as each of the additions will need to be raised separately. To speak with an experienced house raiser or for an assessment, talk to an expert from Black & White Houseraising and Restumping today.

protect home from floods

Bracing: Earthquake and Hurricane Proofing Your Home

During times of the recent past, it has been a very rare occurrence for earthquakes or hurricanes to hit Australia, but with the changing weather conditions there are several questions about what we can expect for the future. For many families there is a renewed interest in preparing for the unexpected. The fact is that we really have no idea what the future will bring in terms of severe weather events, so it might be time to talk about some areas where we can prepare for the elements to change. Ideally, a circular shaped house is useful for resisting hurricane damage but sometimes we have to work with what we have already and make necessary preparations for an uncertain future.

Prevention from Uplift

In the event of a hurricane, a key area that could cause loss of property or life is in how well the house is able to avoid being lifted up and away during high winds. This means ensuring that there is a ‘continuous load path’. In a nutshell, this is ensuring that the key elements of the house including walls, foundations and floors are all fastened together to ensure that they hold strong in the face of high wind events. Bracing of the roof and foundations with steel connectors and strapping will assist the house from flying away from its footing. Talk to Black & White Houseraising & Restumping about extra bracing for your home.

Protection from Penetration

An area that can contribute to both the weakening of the structure, as well as causing damage to items inside the house is penetration of window areas. Two ways that this can be remedied or prepared for, is to install shutters to the outside of the house or to install impact resistant windows to ensure that they are not punctured by flying debris.

Avoiding Flooding

One of the major issues with any kind of weather event is flooding. Obviously, the best choice would be to build in areas that are not prone to flooding. However, sometimes this is impossible to predict with changing flood paths. For some people the task of raising their home above the flood path is a worthwhile and successful exercise that gives them both peace of mind while keeping their home and family high and dry.

Earthquake Proofing Interior and Utilities

Much of the damage that occurs during an earthquake is due to large items falling and crushing other items. This can be remedied by securing large pieces of furniture to the inner walls and floor, and utilities such as water heaters, air conditioners and gas cylinders are securely fastened into position. Additionally, it is important that you know the location of the shut off valve for gas as well as how to turn it off.

What Causes Flooding in the Brisbane Area?

The thing about Brisbane that people may not realise is that it is located on a flood plain. This means that there are some areas that are prone to flooding. The Brisbane City Council and State Government bodies work to ensure that they have the infrastructure in place to minimise the harm caused by flooding, but there are no guarantees. It is for this reason that the maps of flood zones can be really helpful for people who are looking to purchase in the area. However, for those who have already settled into a home and who are looking for ways of protecting their property from the possibility of flash flooding, the avenue of house-raising can provide peace of mind. But before we go any further into solutions, let’s take a look at two of the key factors that actually cause flooding in the Brisbane area.

Excessive Rainfall in the Eastern Areas of the Country

It doesn’t take a genius to realise that the more rain that is coming down in Brisbane and its surrounding areas, the more chance there will be of flooding. Depending which catchment areas are getting all the rain at any given time will determine the amount of flooding that will occur in the Brisbane area.

Water Releasing from Wivenhoe Dam

Water releases from the Wivenhoe Dam, are done for a variety of reasons and for a variety of different and sometimes opposing purposes. One is to release pressure on the dam to maintain its structural integrity, especially during times of increased rain and flooding where it may be full to capacity. Another is to lower the water content of the dam to allow for it to have space for capturing rainfall before a flooding event, so as to mitigate the possibility of flooding occurring. Unfortunately, there can sometimes be flooding downstream in the Brisbane flood prone areas, due to the functioning of the dam.

How to Keep Your Home High and Dry

Flood waters rising can be devastating for homes and their residents. It causes expensive damage to the infrastructure of the house, as well as possessions. For some residents, the choice to raise their house is a helpful solution that assists them in several different areas. One is that their property is lifted above the possibility of being damaged by flooding. Two, their insurance costs may decrease due to the increase in the safety of their house from flooding. Three, they gain peace of mind that they are protected from future weather events.

dark beach clouds

What Weather Conditions Are Destroying Your Wooden Stumps?

If you live in a timber house on wooden stumps, you will want to be sure that everything is in order and that you are having your stumps down below checked regularly for signs of degradation from both weather and boring insects. If it is not checked regularly, you could be in for a nasty surprise, which you won’t be aware of until you start seeing signs of decay up top. One question that we get asked often here at Black and White Houseraising and Restumping is what weather conditions contribute to the degradation of wooden house stumps. Well, we can tell you a few different weather conditions that are not going to do your stumps any favours.


Flooding is one weather event that is surely going to cause problems for your stumps. Even if your house is above the flood waters, there’s a good chance that some part of your stumps is going to be exposed to moisture. If the water does not drain away properly, and pools around your stumps, it can cause a lot of damage to your foundations, which may leave your stumps susceptible to becoming food for hungry termites or their cousins. Ensure that all water drains well away from your foundations to prevent turning your stumps into a three course meal.

Strong Winds

Wind and rain together are not going to be a good friend to your stumps, as again, this could cause excess moisture to degrade the strength of your stumps against degradation. But most importantly, strong winds blow everything everywhere, which could cause drain pipes and other important plumbing areas to become loose and start a drip where you cannot see. Over time, and left undiscovered, a small drip can do a lot of damage to wood structures, leaving your wooden stumps exposed to moisture for long periods, and making them a tasty meal for insects.

Warmer Months

When we are talking about insects that like to eat wood, we need to consider when these insects are most on the hunt for food sources. Worker termites are the ones that go out to locate a food source and feed the rest of the family, but the reproductives are the new Kings and Queens in waiting. When their wings are fully developed, during the warmer months, they will swarm away from the current nest and set up a new colony wherever there is a food source. This is why it is important to ensure that you do not have any dead or rotting timber lying around in your garden, as this will attract them.

Living In A Flood Zone? How To Prepare

As many people of Queensland experienced during the floods of 2011, flash flooding can happen at any time, without notice. If you are living in a flood-prone area you never know when a flash flood could interrupt your life, putting you and your family in danger, so it is important to take precautions and prepare for anything.

Have a Plan

The most important thing that you will need to provide for yourself and family if living in a flood prone area is a plan of attack should something happen. Because flood warnings often do not give you much time to prepare, having your plan will assist you in preparing to protect your home and getting to safety as soon as possible. Your plan needs to include what happens if there is a flood warning, as well as evacuation routes, who to contact and where you will go if there is a flood warning. Like with any emergency it is important to have a practice with your family to ensure that everyone knows what is needed, and stays calm in the event that something does happen.

Emergency Kit

Your emergency kit should include your plan as well as the basics that you will need in an emergency situation. It should also include some warm clothes, food, cooking utensils, a short wave portable radio, torch, first aid kit, essential medications, personal papers and other mementos in waterproof bags.

Make Preparations to Protect Your Home

If you have time to prepare and are able to do something to protect your home and contents you will need to be thinking ahead about what is needed and where to obtain it. Usually, councils will supply sandbags so these can be put around your home in low lying areas to prevent water from reaching your house. Decide where the highest ground is and know to where you will move personal possessions, vehicles and dangerous chemicals.

Ensure You Have a Radio

Having a radio is one of the best ways for staying in contact with the outside world, especially if your mobile phone battery goes flat, so be sure to have one handy, with spare batteries – just in case. Know which radio station to tune it to, and keep it with you so you can get updates about what is happening around you. This will help you to stay calm and be prepared for whatever eventuates during the flood period.

Black and White Houseraising and Restumping can assist you with lifting your house above flood waters, so that in the event of a flood your home and personal possessions will remain high and dry.

How To Create A Flood-Free Property

While it would be lovely to imagine that we could choose not to live in a flood prone property, with the booming population and shortage of available land in the areas that we want to live, often this can be unavoidable. In the event that you may need to live somewhere where there has been previous flooding there are ways of reducing the impact of possible flood events and using some careful planning to create a flood-free property.

Risk Assessment

The first thing that you will need to do is have a risk assessment of actually how flood prone the property is, and what is the probable flood depth that may put the house at risk. Knowing what level the risk of flood may be can be helpful to determine how to best tackle making your house flood free. Should the possible flood risk to the house be more than 500mm, the best option might be not to plan for how to keep the water out when it does rise, but to use materials that will dry out quickly following the flood event.

Build High or Raise Your House

Another option for keeping your house safe from possible flood waters is to build it high above the predicted flood levels, on stilts made from treated hardwood or galvanised steel posts. If you have already purchased a property and have a house on it but have discovered that it is prone to flooding, in some cases, it can make sense to have the house raised. In terms of weighing up the possible cost of replacing flood damaged personal belongings, measured against the cost of raising your house, peace of mind is worth its weight in gold. Be sure to speak to a professional house company such as Black and White Houseraising and Restumping, for an assessment about what would work best for you.

Drainage and Planning

Adequate drainage and planning is needed for creating a flood-free property to live on. Using permaculture principles can be of great assistance during planning as you will be able to utilise the lay of the land to get the most out of your property. The use of different materials can have an impact on how well your property copes during a flood event, so be sure to seek professional advice before getting your property development underway.

Soil Erosion Effects And Prevention

Jimi Hendrix sang about castles made of sand falling into the sea eventually, but soil erosion does not only affect castles made out of sand. Soil erosion can occur anywhere, and for any number of reasons but the most common is water, which is ever flowing, continuing its way to the sea.

Three of the best ways to prevent erosion are to use land according to its capabilities, protect the surface soil with a cover of some sort, and manage water run-off to prevent it from eroding away at the soil. By doing the appropriate soil testing you will be able to determine a lot about the soil and surrounding conditions, giving you are clearer picture of how to prevent further erosion. It can also give you an indication about what is required with building, relocating or raising a house.

Capability of Land

The position of land, its slope and soil type are important factors, which determine what the land can be used for. Different soil types are best for different types of land use, as the various types of soils have different strengths. Land that is good for crops and grazing may not be the best choice for building a house. A house that has been built on soil that is not strong enough, could cause the house to crack, sag or even fall down.

Run-off and Surface Cover

A major cause of erosion is through the natural elements of wind and water. Surface cover is important to prevent rain from eroding bare soils and wind eroding the soil particles, which can cause erosion problems. Water run-off, if not appropriately deviated, can cause extreme erosion in some cases, which can massively deteriorate a land mass over time. Before building a house, the area needs to be thoroughly assessed by a soil expert to determine these factors of wind and water, and how to prevent them from causing soil erosion around the foundations.

House Foundations

Black and White Houseraising and Restumping assess all aspects of the land when planning and working on raising or restumping a house. Knowing the quality of the soil will determine what preparations are required for carrying out the work, as well as which materials will be the best to use for the foundation of the building. Proper assessment of the soil and land capability, leads to a ‘best case scenario’ with house raising and restumping, preventing erosion of the soil around the foundations of the house, and minimising the impact of the elements.

couple buying a house

Importance Of Having A Flood Proofed House Design For New Homes

As we have seen of unpredictable weather events, in Australia, and everywhere else, anything can happen, and it often does. The word on the street, from scientists and meteorologists is that we can expect weather to be wetter, which is likely to lead to flooding for some.

Being prepared for the possible outcomes of any weather event is the best way to have peace of mind and flourish during the changing of the seasons. Why worry about something that might happen, when you can ensure that you reduce the risks of flood effects by proofing your home at the design stages.

By choosing design features that will last the tests of the harsh, unpredictable weather conditions you can prevent flood events from damaging your home, and be ahead of the game. Many people are choosing to build raised houses or have their new homes designed to withstand the storms.

Know Your Risks

Doing your research is an important part of preparing your plan for your new home, which includes not underestimating the surrounding terrain. Seeking for information from local councils and talking to people in the surrounding areas will also give you an idea about the risks regarding where you are building and assist in planning. Using permaculture design principles in your ideas and planning your house building around them can be both aesthetically pleasing and functional.

Design Features to Suit the Environment

If your house is to be built in a flood prone area, an off the ground design can be a great way of being prepared for any possible weather event, leaving your family high and dry all year around. Thoroughly mapping the waterways close to your home is an important aspect of planning for the long-term future of your home. Building in design features that take the waterways into account and working around the environment will assist you in living harmoniously with nature, rather than fighting against it.

Flood Proof Materials

If a house is to be built in an area that is prone to flooding, precautions can be taken as to how the house is built, and which materials are used. As Black & White Houseraising and Restumping have discovered over many years of working with homeowners, choosing the right materials is a necessity to avoid costly repairs later.

House raising icon

What is House Raising or Lifting, and Why Do It?

House raising or house lifting refers to the practice of putting in place the infrastructure to raise a house from its current foundations to a greater height than it was previously. This is usually done by using hydraulics or screw jacks and as you can imagine, is a huge exercise that requires experience and an understanding about all aspects of building.

It is only done by professional businesses such as Black and White Houseraising and Restumping, and can only be done on certain types of houses, because if things go wrong the consequences can be fatal. There are different reasons why people might do this, so read on for a greater understanding about this interesting work.

Relocation of the House

At some point, we may have all been driving along the freeway late at night and noticed a house coming along on a truck in the other lane, or ahead of us. The first step in actually getting that house off its foundations and onto the truck would have involved it being lifted or raised, using hydraulics, and placed onto the truck for removal or relocation. As you can imagine, a house is not the lightest of dwellings, so lifting the whole structure in one piece can be a very involved process, and requires skill and planning.


Often when people choose to renovate their house they are doing so for the purpose of gaining extra space or adding more rooms. Often, if they are financially able, and their house is the appropriate kind of house, they will opt to have it lifted or raised up, to create more rooms downstairs, thereby extending the size of their house. Once it has been lifted, new foundations are put into the house to secure it in its new position, which require the assistance of an engineer to ensure that it is safe and that the new foundations can hold the weight of the dwelling. Doing so can mean a lot of work, but can change people’s lives dramatically with more space to spread out and enjoy in their home.

Raising the House Above Flood Waters

Another important reason that many people will have their house raised is to lift it up and away from flood waters. If a house has been built on low-lying ground, or the natural waterways have deviated and changed their course, it could be at risk of flooding. Rather than watching as their house slowly sinks into swampland, people choose to employ a company such as Black and White Houseraising and Restumping to lift them high and dry, thereby putting them away from rising waters and damp, and adding extra rooms.