I just inherited a house in a beach community and for the first time
have enough space for all of my woodworking tools AND two cars. All
houses here are built on pilings but it is allowable to enclose the
downstairs to use the space for a garage and/or storage. This is what
The problem is that water has flooded the downstairs area twice in the
33 years my father lived here. It never got more than chest deep and
there was no wave action inside... just water.
The solution appears to be that I've been blessed with a 10 foot ceiling
down there. I could easily build a mini deck along one wall that would
allow me to move my tools out of the danger zone when hurricanes are
imminent. By tools, I mean table saw, 18" bandsaw, 8" jointer, RAS.
We're talking about some significant weight.
I'm sure I can build something up to holding the weight. What I can't
seem to figure out is how to get the tools up there safely and back down
again. I've considered lift tables but nothing seems ideal. I do not
want to spend thousands of dollars on this.
I am well aware of the effect of salt air although the workshop is both
air conditioned and dehumidified. Dad's tools tended to rust but that
was from neglect. I'm not likely to neglect mine.
In any case, this is where I'm moving. The alternative is to sell the
tools and have none. So I'm back to how do I get them up out of a
potential flooded area? Salt spray is not going to attack them.
As an aside, the cars show no rust after being garaged in this same area
for some years.
Are you allowed to build a platform a couple of feet above the sand
level? Put everything on a platform and use ropes/chains and pulleys
to be able to raise it up to the ceiling height. You could even build
it so the area where you stand to use the tools was part of the
platform. With a few/couple of two or three sheave pulleys you could
get enough mechanical advantage that it would not be too heavy a load
to lift. It might take a few minues to do all four corners equally,
but hurricanes usually move slow enough that that would not be a
problem. A tsunami could be bad news, but there haven't been any of
those on the east or gulf coasts that I am aware of. West coast /
California is different, but I don't think they get hurricanes<G>.
On 2/24/2010 10:47 AM, hr(bob) email@example.com wrote:
First off, the floor is a concrete pad. It is for all intents a room
just like any you might have at our house, except there are 12" X 12"
pilings in the corners. It is otherwise standard stud construction.
I could probably tie in with the pilings to create an overhead beam of
some sort. It would need to be stout.
As for time, there's plenty of time. Hurricanes usually take a few days
to get here with everybody watching carefully what they're apt to do.
If I decide to evacuate it'll be a matter of a day or two; not minutes.
What you describe is a "stilt house", along a coastal region. Old
fishing houses along the coast were on stilts (in the bay). The
pilings were creosote telephone poles. Miami may still have one. They
have disappeared from the keys and gulf coast of Florida.
I miss the Tiltin' Hilton
Still quite common on the Carolina barrier islands, and in the mudflat
parishes of Louisiana. ISTR some mortgage/insurance companies, and some
local codes, require that style of construction, if you are in the wrong
place on the flood plain map. Ground floor blowout walls are usually
open lathe like an old porch base, for X percentage of the exposed
faces. Lousy house for people that have trouble climbing steps. Some of
the houses I walked through, the living floor is 14 feet above grade.
We are talking million dollar houses here, by the way, not fishing
shacks. I think anybody that puts anything more expensive than a fishing
shack on a barrier island (aka big sandbar) or exposed mudflat coast is
a fool, but that is just me.
Ignoring the damage that salt air humidity can cause, getting the tools up
off the floor as high as possible is probably most easily and cheaply
achieved by the use of block and tackle to hoist them to the ceiling if you
can devise hard points in the ceiling capable of holding the weight. Once
hoisted to the ceiling, heavy duty strapping like that used by truckers to
secure loads could be used to secure your machinery.
Sure. Got lots of ideas.
Make a boat for each tool out of 3/4" ply. Leave one side off so you can
easily get the tools onto the boats when the time comes. Figure 60lb/ft3
of displacement, so a 4'x4'x1' boat will float 960 lbs of tools. (but
You'd want to figure out a way to keep the boats from tipping as they
rise, but that shouldn't be too hard.
On Wed, 24 Feb 2010 09:10:36 -0500, Jay Hanig wrote:
Hmm, that doesn't actually sound like a lot of height - 'chest height'
must mean what, 4-5'. What's your tallest item - the table saw? How
tall is that from bottom to the the very top? 3'-4'? To get that out of
the way of a serious flood only gives you a couple of feet or so of
headroom. That might a lot to ask from an overhead hoist with
cables/chains safely supporting things.
Yeah, I think I'd be looking at a big raisable platform. If you want to
get really creative, recess the platform into the floor (i.e. build up
around it) so that when the platform's down things can easily be slid onto
it or off.
Run cables to four corners of platform via overhead pulleys. *something*
drives winches to wind those cables up and down and sits above flood
height. That "something" could be a pair of electric motors and gearboxes
(expensive and needs external power to work) or could be a small gas
engine (maybe even one from something like a cement mixer could do - any
old thing, scour freecycle lists) with a gearbox and homemade winding
drums (self-contained solution, cheap, but would need quite a bit of
testing before it was considered reliable!)
Whatever you do end up doing:
a) make sure the platform can be locked in place and you don't have all
that weight just dangling from cables! :-)
b) make sure it's routinely tested. You don't want the situation where a
storm's coming and you find you need vital spares to get it all running!
I like the platform idea but it doesn't need to be as big as you want
for a working surface, just big enough to hold all your tools.
Run 2 stringers from the floor joists above with Simpson straps to
distribute the load and lift the whole thing with 4 pulleys in the
corners. Store it above when you are not using it, maybe as materials
storage. You can use a small boat winch to crank it up there.
Just be careful of where the loads get transferred to when you set the
winch. I would anchor it to the slab, not a piling but if you had a
diagonal brace, in line with the winch cable to transfer the load back
up top it would work. Join your 4 lift ropes to the winch cable at a
central ring/clevis and be sure you have safety chains when you get it
up there so you are not swinging on the winch cable. (like jack stands
for you car)
Rent a U-Haul and take the tools with you when you leave. Anyone who
stays in place during hurr. evac. has an odd, painful deathwish.
On the outside chance you get a flood with no wave action (kind of like
expecting a fire with no smoke), you could buy the heaviest plastic tarp
obtainable, wrap up the tools and duct tape it to seal. As good a
prospect as hoisting them off the floor and expecting them to be
If your father had flooding with no wave action, it was probably the
surge of an offshore hurricane. We live on the water, Gulf coast, and
have had nice, gentle six-foot surges from hurricanes 200 mi.
away....the water was up over our seawall. Worst wind I have seen was
about 70 mph; hope I never see worse. On open water or the beach, the
wave action was terrific. Have sailed with 6 ft waves in just a gentle
breeze. If you have a real hurricane coming at you, it would be better
to have a plan with neighbors for getting valuables to a safe place. If
you have a direct hit by a hurricane, expect 20' storm surge and forty
Uh, no, not if it floods at chest or 4ft level, a sump can be sukin at
2". Even if its a slab so what, dig down and recess it even just one
inch would help. I mean he is talking 4- 41/2 feet of water, if he had
only 3 inches he wouldnt need to spend all this effort raising stuff
Don't know about there but here. North eastern corner of North America
(North Atlantic) we are experiencing significant rises in ocean
levels. For a variety of reasons, including storm surges, high tides,
possibly global ice caps melting etc.
Considerable damage to wharves and harbours during the current and
past few winters. many millions of dollars damage. Maybe building an
extension up at main house floor level would be better! Our basement
is 300+ feet above sea level and almost completely below ground. Stay
at around 50 deg F even during the coldest weather.
Where are you going to pump the water to? This slab will be 4 feet
below sea level if he has a surge tide 4' above grade. Even if you
could pump the water out, the walls would blow in. That is the way
they are designed.
This is not really supposed to be habitable space. People just cheat.
If there is actually much more than a foot of water it will probably
blow out the walls anyway. There is no guarantee on the beach that
this water won't have white caps on it and it might be driven with 130
MPH winds, just being a wall of water.
That is why people leave.
Houses can be built to survive but you notice, even this house lost
the ground floor.
This is 150 MPH construction
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