Having trees on your property can instantly elevate the look of your yard. Aside from their aesthetic contributions, they also provide shade and maintain high air quality. However, having trees too close to the house can cause problems with its foundations.
As trees grow, their roots also become more prominent, causing the ground on the property to shift. These movements, although subtle, can already cause cracks in the home’s foundation.
Roots are constantly looking for water. Typically, they grow horizontally, not far beneath the soil’s surface. If they encounter solid surfaces, like sidewalks, pipes and foundations, they change their direction and start growing downwards. If a crack is nearby due to displaced soil, the tree roots will insert through these voids, searching for water and nutrition. When left unmended, roots can cause small cracks to grow bigger and damage a home’s concrete foundation significantly.
Signs of Root-Related Damage
All foundation damage is generally accompanied by signs. Spotting them early allows homeowners to take the necessary steps to prevent further damage to the structure. Here are the most common symptoms to look out for:
- Cracks on the foundation’s surface
- Vertical splits on the foundation’s walls
- Cracked windows on the house’s windows with no evidence of trauma
- Buckling on the foundation’s surface
- Uneven window and door frames
When you ask, “Can tree roots damage house foundations?”, it’s likely you are already seeing cracks on your property but are still unsure about their cause. If this is the case, assessing your surroundings helps determine the damage’s source.
Top Trees With Aggressive Roots
Not all trees pose a threat to your property’s structures. For example, pine trees will not harm your home’s foundation since their roots are known to extend straight down into the soil. However, some trees have shallow roots and grow pretty quickly, therefore potentially causing damage to your house’s foundation.
Trees that have aggressive roots include:
- Oak trees
- Willow trees
- Silver maple trees
- Elm trees
- Sycamore trees
- Hybrid poplar trees
It’s best to avoid having these trees on your property unless you have a large yard.
Preventing Further Tree Root Damage
If you are already dealing with tree root damage or concerned about the potential for roots damaging your foundation, there are steps you can take to protect your home, which include:
Installing Root Barriers
A root barrier is an underground wall installed around the tree to prevent its roots from spreading. This will effectively deflect the roots away from foundations, plumbing and pavements since they are encouraged to grow straight down. However, installing a root barrier is a lot of work. You will need to dig down the base of your home’s foundation to position the block effectively. Still, this precaution will prove worth it because it will save you thousands of dollars from repairing severe foundation damage.
Doing Preventive Landscaping
Preventive landscaping is a cost-effective alternative to avoid root-related damage. Trim or cut the tree roots regularly to prevent them from growing toward the foundation. However, this has to be done under the guidance of an arborist to ensure you are not causing permanent damage to your tree when cutting its roots. You can also use this method in conjunction with installing root barriers to ensure lasting protection.
Cutting Down Trees
Sometimes, trees become so immense that no amount of barriers and preventive measures can contain their roots. The practices mentioned above might offer short-term protection from structural damage, but strong roots will still cause repeated foundation damage throughout the years. The best solution for this is to cut down the offensive tree entirely.
While trees can make your lawn visually pleasing, they must be done away with if they are already causing too much destruction to the property and hassle to the homeowner.
Address Root Damage with the Experts
Knowing the answer to the question: “Can tree roots damage house foundations?” is the first step in taking preventive actions to protect the structural integrity of your home. If you are already dealing with root-related issues, it is best to call professionals and repair your foundation before those small cracks become more significant problems.
HD Foundations offers solid solutions to everyone who needs foundation repairs in Fort Worth, Arlington, Dallas and surrounding areas. We have serviced over 2,900 structures in the DFW metroplex over the years and maintained an A+ rating in the Better Business Bureau.
Our team can resolve any foundation issue, no matter the cause. So reach out today and tell us how we can help you.