How Tree Roots Can Harm a Foundation | Olson Foundation Repair

How Tree Roots Can Harm a Foundation

Defocused background plate of beautiful branchy trees in front of residence

Almost everyone loves the look and feel that big majestic trees add to your property. They provide shade, blooms, fruit, a place to play, and bring birds and other animals up close.

But their roots can cause problems to our foundation. Trees continue to grow throughout their entire lifetime. Their roots continue to grow, as well. The roots move along to find water in the ground to survive.

When they come up against something hard, they will turn in a different direction, go around the object, over it, or under it. If possible, they will go right through it.

We have all seen sidewalks lifted up and cracked as the tree’s roots grow and move looking for more space. Why should the foundation of your house be any different?

The roots themselves are not the part that causes the damage. Even though tree roots grow very slowly, they do grow continuously. As they grow, they push soil and other obstacles out of their way.

This causes the soil to become more compact and that puts a lot of pressure on it and whatever it is pushing up against. It can also push soil up and out of the ground, which will mean it leaves the area by wind and rain.

Roots move along looking for water and nutrients. Your foundation also needs moisture. The roots will absorb the water from around your foundation. Bad drainage and poor insulation in your basement can also sap your soil of moisture.

Keeping your yard and the tree well-watered will help keep the soil from drying out and the tree won’t take as much from the soil near your foundation. You also don’t need to tear the tree out, just get root barriers put in.

If the roots actually manage to grow into your foundation, then that is actually a problem with the foundation. If the tree roots were able to get into the concrete, then there was an opening.

Uneven soil around the foundation can get shifted as the roots grow. This can cause pockets, settling, and cracks can start to appear. The soil around the house foundation needs to be very dense and properly compacted after the foundation was installed.

As the roots continue to grow they actually shift the soil around your home and the foundation. While the roots can cause cracks and even move into the cracks, they can’t really make them bigger or worse. They just add pressure.

The trees are not really at fault here. You are. If you have regular inspections, keep your foundation and the surrounding soil in good repair, you shouldn’t have any problems.

If it is a problem, you can get a tree trimming expert to come in and see what can be done. They can trim the roots without killing the tree if that is the route you want to take.

Certain types of trees will require more moisture than others. If you are just starting out, plant the tree at least 20 feet away from your house. Smaller trees close to the house will be fine.

Keep your trees well-watered and fed. This will keep the soil around your foundation in better shape and you can avoid the problems that come from tree roots sapping the moisture. Keep the trees trimmed, as well.

Contact us here at Olson Foundation Repair if you need any repairs taken care of or any questions about the trees in your yard. We have over thirty years of experience and knowledge when it comes to foundations.