Wrightsville Beach Restoration | Foundation

By Trevor Lanphear

On January 11, 2023
Trevor Lanphear of Lanphear Builders Inc guides you through the work that went into restoring this 87 year old home in Wrightsville Beach, NC. Part I focuses on the foundation and what steps needed to take place in order to strengthen the foundation to protect against the elements. The home was raised 25 feet off the ground for 4 months! Not in the mood to watch a video? No problem…simply read the details below.

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So this house is on Wrightsville Beach. Customers are Jeff and Stacy. It’s an 87 year old home that Lanphear Builders was brought in to fix the foundation, raise the house and repair any damage, wear-and-tear that we found but not for remodeling. The main goal of the customers was keep time period and the integrity of the house intact. That’s what they fell in love with. That’s why they bought it.

So the challenge was to not only repair the home and lift it, which we did, but also secure the home for the beach, environment, hurricanes and fix and repair everything that we found is damaged and restored it to basically new structural and weatherproofing integrity. One of the first things we did was we have the old creosote pilings which are oil based pilings you’d see for railroad ties. They were round pylons. When we came in, we actually had to set up with the house movers and lift the house about 25 feet in order to get the clearance to reinstall the new pilings. And in the process of doing that the old pilings, about half of the old pilings literally fell over once we lifted the house off the top half that was on the ground.

That’s how rotten they were. So the homeowners and the engineers and all the inspectors, they were all correct on what they found about the foundation being in bad shape. We came in, and as you can tell, you can see all these 10×10 pilings were installed on the whole foundation. So we came in with the house up 25 feet and we were able to partner up with a piling service, JL Batts Piling Service

And coming in to work under the house and driving in a new foundation system, tie in all the anchoring and lift the home The house is about two feet, four inches higher now than it was. And we were limited by town restrictions so we still have this well, you call it where the garage is about two feet lower than the exterior grade on the east and north side of the home.  So it’s still below the surface, which is not ideal.

And that’s why we came in and put in a rock trench drainage system here to help mitigate some of that. Now hurricanes and heavy downpours it still isn’t enough but we are actually going to put in a sump pump system down here to catch it in those extreme storms. So those are some of the remediation things we’ve done down here.

You can see all of that frame on the outside deck has all been reinforced and is new, all of the girder system, all the beams, all the lbl’s, the whole perimeter all of it. The house sits on a whole new foundation. Even the garage doors our carpenters, Lanphear Builders carpenters came out, built all the panels and connected into the hardware and reinstalled the doors and the screening around the perimeter to match what was originally put in when the house was built. So we kept the original design intact that the homeowners were looking for. We kept that intact. One of the interesting things in that process was the chimney. The old chimneys, the masonry chimney fireplace in the house that goes all the way up through the roof. We had to basically raise the house, disconnect and tear out the old base of the chimney, all the way down to the footer underneath the concrete here, draw a new footer, set the house down to where it was going to be permanently and then build the base up then set it down within an inch or 2. We built up a new base chimney and then the final lowering in the house and sets existing all the original chimney, brick and steel in the house and through it sits on the new foundation. So to say that that whole exercise in this project was tricky would be an understatement. It was definitely a challenging job.

As a matter of fact, when the house movers showed up the first day to deliver the structural beams, I had a long conversation with them and we both realized that he needed to go back to the yard and get the biggest beams he had because now this house weighs 180,00 pounds with two thirds of the weight on the rear of the home his beams weren’t going to be big enough. So we actually stopped the tractor trailer, the unloading, he went back got the new beams and brought them back. It’s a good thing we did because the house was up in the air for about four months.


So that’s that’s kind of the short version of what it took to get the house raised, stabilized and the new foundation put in. Whole new bulkheads around the sides, waterproof to the extent we could. We’ve got a new storage area over here for all their bikes, their utilities, water tank system. So they got an enclosed storage area that’s just been awesome. So that’s sort of what’s happening inside under here for the foundation.

Written by Trevor Lanphear

Lanphear Builders Inc. was founded in 2009 by Trevor Lanphear, owner & general contractor (NC License 69768). Trevor has been dedicated to the coastal Carolina market since 1994 after moving to Wilmington, NC from upstate NY. He worked his way up from a crew lead, to foreman and into a superintendent position gaining valuable hands on experience. Trevor worked for the Nick Garrett Development Group Inc. from 1999-2009 and oversaw projects along Figure Eight Island, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach and surrounding areas of Wilmington.

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Photo of Wrightsville Beach Remodel Project by Lanphear Builders

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