When you were a young couple, you likely went out and found the perfect house for you and your family to grow together in. Maybe you had a vision of what you were looking for, or maybe you just needed the right combination of things to make it “feel” right. For many people, one of these things that make it “feel” right is an old-growth tree in their front yard. They are big, beautiful, and give the home shade and an old-fashioned charm that many cookie-cutter built homes today do not have. However, there is a big problem with trees close to your home: tree roots. Tree roots can cause immense damage to your home and your home’s foundation, and they are difficult to control. What are some ways a tree (and its tree roots) close to the home can damage your property.
The number one easiest way a tree too close to the home can damage it is if it happens to fall and land on the home. Situations like this can happen when there are high winds, tornadoes, hurricanes, or even a rotting trunk and something to trigger it. It’s unwise to assume it could never happen to you, as it could happen to anyone. A tree falling on the home is going to cause a lot of damage and cost you a lot of money to repair. Imagine an object that size crashing down onto the corner of your home, your garage, your car, or any other piece on your property. Not only will you have repairs you need done on the home, but you will have items inside the home or garage that need replaced or repaired as well. While it may not be the first thing you consider when you see a big, old tree, it may well be what you wish you’d considered when it happens to you!
Even if the tree isn’t very close to your home, its roots can stretch long distances and make their way into your foundation. This is especially true if there are waterproofing problems on the foundation and water is accumulating on the edges. The roots will seek out the water to drink up, and they will be met with your foundation. They’re not just going to stop there, they will reach through the foundation to get the water that they need. Foundations have been known to be found with big tree roots sticking out of the side of the foundation when they go to repair them.
As you can imagine, this doesn’t do anything good for the foundation. Number one, the tree roots are taking away moisture and pulling the soil away from the foundation. This can cause settling as the house leans toward that area. Number two, having something penetrate your foundation causes cracks to form around that entry point. These cracks will let in water as well as the initial entry point. Plus, critters and insects can make their way inside from there. These cracks made by the tree roots can and will lead to foundation repair. If you see a tree root sticking out of the side of your foundation–on the inside, no less–it’s safe to say you need to call the professionals at Custom Concrete & Foundation Specialists.
The best way to avoid damage is not to purchase a home with a tree next to it. However, if you’ve already done it, there’s not much else to do than prevent further damage from the tree roots. One great way of doing this is to install a tree root barrier. Barriers usually consist of a few layers of plastic sheeting that will work to direct the tree roots away from your foundation. However, with that, consider that you may have a drainage problem as well and that’s why roots are so attracted to your foundation. Have one of the professionals at Custom Concrete & Foundation Specialists come out and take a look for and help you decide whether an exterior waterproofing system is what you need to help with annoying tree roots.
If you don’t have a tree yet, but you’re set on planting one, there’s a few rules you should follow. The biggest rule is to plant the tree at least 20-30 feet away from the home. This leaves room for the roots to grow out without causing damage to your foundation, and it also allows room for the tree to fall if it does happen to do so. That way you will also avoid damage to your home and belongings if it should fall. You should also consider planting a tree with non-invasive roots that aren’t searching out water constantly. You can speak with your gardener or gardening service as to which trees would be best for this goal.
If the damage is already done, there’s no going back–but that’s okay! Pick up the phone and give Custom Concrete & Foundation Specialists a phone call. We are happy to come out and give you a free estimate and recommend what our best course of action would be to resolve the problem. Don’t despair! Most all foundation repair problems can be efficiently and affordably resolved, but they are scary to come across because it is the foundation of your home. We want you and your family safe, comfortable, and healthy in your home, and we will work with you to get there.