Tree Roots and Foundation Issues

Tree Roots and Foundation issues

Most trees that grow quite close to buildings do not cause any foundation issues. However, some trees can cause structural damage due to the sheer size and strength of their roots. When you understand how tree routes cause foundation issues you will know when to take action and what action to take.

A tree’s roots actively look for sources of water. The constantly grow while they’re searching for life-giving water. What might happen as a result of the tree’s movements all depends on the type of soil that the tree is planted in.

Soil TypesDifferent Types of Soil and your Foundation

Clay soils tend to be greatly affected by the growth of a tree. This is because clay soil tends to become compacted very easily. As a result of the tree’s movement, the clay soil becomes even more densely packed.

Soils that are largely made up of rocks and loose dirt will shift when roots are making their way through it. The soil will become displaced and it’s this displacement that allows the tree to move through it much more easily.

How Weather Affects the Soil

Weather than also affect the soil and the soil’s impact on your home’s foundations. When there is very little rain the roots of the tree might shrink as the clay soil becomes dry. However, when it rains heavily, the roots are likely to expand as they begin to absorb more water. Both expansion and damage can impact the integrity of the soil. This means that your foundation is likely to be affected.

Concrete, Tree Roots and Foundation Damage

It might surprise you to learn that tree roots do not directly cause house foundation damage. In fact, the damage is usually due to the condition of the soil that they are found in. On top of that soil, you will often find concrete. When concrete is poured, dried and settled it begins to crack. These cracks are normal and are all part of the settling process. However, when concrete settles it can, on occasion, be quite dangerous.

When concrete begins to settle it will shift slightly and it might also crack. Your home’s foundation might be affected if the cracks and movement are significant.

When concrete in older homes begins to shift, the walls can crack or sink. This is not helped by tree roots that will continue to search far and wide for water. You might even discover some tree roots weaving in and out of the cracks in your concrete.

Tree RootsHow you can Prevent Damage Caused by Roots

If you think roots might be damaging your foundation or you’re concerned that they will, you can help to protect your home.

One of the things you can do is build a root barrier. This involves you digging down to the foundation of your home. you’ll need to cut any roots that look like they’re heading towards your home. The next task is to install the root barrier. This is a barrier that is made from corrosion-resistant plastic, metal, or fiberglass. The barrier will ensure that no roots get through, thereby, protecting your home.

Signs of Root Damage

There are a few signs of root damage that you need to be on the lookout for:

Foundation damage close to a tree

Most damage is caused by trees that are close by. Some trees can draw up to 190 gallons of water every single day. This will leave any soil in the area dry and it’s this that can lead to the collapse of your home’s foundation.

Your house leans towards a tree

If the soil underneath or close to your home is dry it can cause your home to lean towards a tree. This is because the dried soil has caused the foundation to detach from your home and shrink.

Damage to the side of the house that gets the most sunlight

Every tree needs light in order to grow. A tree will naturally be attracted to the side of your house that gets the most sunlight. The more trees that are located in that area, the more roots they will grow.

Planting New Trees

If you would like to plant trees around your home, you’ll need to be prepared to re-think your plans. You might want to opt for trees that are slow-growing and have less aggressive roots. Oaks and sugar maple trees are ideal and they’re very attractive trees.

You might also want to consider the size of your yard as this can have an impact. This is because many people believe that a tree’s roots will be as wide as the tree is tall. Unfortunately, this is not true. Trees can grow roots that are up to 3 times the height of the tree. With this in mind, you might want to re-think your tree planting ideas.

If you don’t have enough room for your trees to grow you should consider planting smaller trees. Alternatively, you could refrain from planting any trees.

Building a New Home

If you are building a new home you will need to make sure that the foundation is deep enough. This is because roots are more likely to damage a shallow foundation. A shallow foundation is much more vulnerable to shifts in the soil and soil conditions. However, a full basement will ensure you have better structural protection.

Roots Helping Your Home

Did you know that roots can help your home? This all depends on where you live, how much rain your area has and how stable your soil is.

Roots can help by draining water. They can soak up all of that moisture when there is a lot of rainfall. In addition to this, roots can stabilize your soil. In your areas that surround your home are sloping, the root systems can help to prevent erosion.

Getting Help for your Root Damage

If you think your home’s foundation has been damaged by roots we recommend that you get the damage assessed. Please note, you should never attempt to repair your foundation yourself as there’s always a chance you could make matters worse. Please hire a professional to do the work for you. If you would like to consult us regarding your home’s foundation, please call us or fill out the contact form below.


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