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tree damage to a crawl space

Tips for Stopping Trees from Damaging Your Crawl Space

While tree roots won’t attack your home, they can cause that soil near your crawl space to shift, resulting in long-term damage.

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Your crawl space as a significant say over the health of your home. If a leak breaks out and goes unnoticed, the damage in your crawl space can cause the whole of your home to decrease in value. At the same time, a damaged crawl space can also make your home more difficult to live in, as that moisture can generate mold and reduce the air quality in your space. 

Tree roots are often an unexpected source of crawl space damage. While a tree’s roots never work maliciously against your home, they can grow around and beneath the structural supports keeping your space in place. In doing so, those roots can cause the soil around your home shift. If your crawl space doesn’t sink into those open spaces, then water can fill in the gaps and expose your structural supports to increased levels of hydrostatic pressure. 

tree damage to a crawl space

Taking Care of Your Tree Problem 

There are several different ways to respond to the growth of roots throughout your yard. If you’re especially concerned about the structural integrity of your crawl space, you can: 

Avoid Planting Invasive Trees 

There are some types of trees that grow at a more rapid rate than others. You’ll want to do what you can to keep these trees out of your yard or, at a minimum, 20 feet or further away from the perimeter of your home. 

Some tree species with the most invasive root systems include:  

  • Bradford pears 
  • Weeping willows 
  • Chinese flame trees 
  • Eastern cottonwoods 
  • Ginkgo trees 
  • Southern magnolias 
  • Sweetgum trees 
  • Sycamore trees 
  • White mulberries 
  • Tulip poplars 
  • Mimosa trees 
  • Silver maples 

If you’re not sure where to start when picking out trees and other plants for your yard, don’t hesitate to reach out to the nursery representatives in your area. Together, you can bring together a plan for your home landscaping and work from there, all while keeping your crawl space’s health in mind. 

Transplant Trees That Are Too Close to Your Home 

If you’re moving onto a property that’s already been landscaped, you can still take action against the trees that may be causing you trouble. As mentioned, you want to try and keep all manner of trees at least 20 feet away from the perimeter of your home. If a previous owner planted trees within this border, you can work with the professionals in your area to transplant the trees elsewhere in your yard. 

While transplanting a tree can be a complicated process, doing so is often better for the ecosystem of your yard than complete removal. In transplanting a tree, you can preserve that tree’s beauty and growth while also protecting your home. 

Note that you will want to treat the spot where a tree used to be with diluted root killer after you’ve transplanted it. This way, you can keep the roots you may have missed from sprouting saplings in the future. You’ll also be able to prevent roots’ continued growth this way, meaning you can keep your crawl space safer. 

Waterproof Your Crawl Space 

When in doubt, you should also consider waterproofing your crawl space. Home waterproofing measures, including vapor barriers for full encapsulations, can help you keep not only water out of your home but gases as well. In investing in these protective measures, you won’t dissuade roots away from your home, but you will be more equipped to deal with the symptoms of overgrowth. 

You can also talk to the professionals in your area about waterproof insulation. Not only can an installation help you lower bills throughout your home, but the waterproof nature of foam board will help lower the level of moisture in your crawl space. 

Other crawl space waterproofing solutions include interior drainage, sump pumps, and dehumidifiers. Interior drains catch leaking water and direct it to a sump pump so it can be safely and effectively removed from the crawl space. Dehumidifiers remove moisture and humidity from the air, further reducing the chance of water damaging the space. 

Finally, root barriers, whether chemical or physical, can also delay or discourage the growth of a tree’s roots, should those roots seem to be moving toward your home. Again, you can speak with the professionals in your area to determine whether or not these preventative measures could be installed in your yard or around the perimeter of your home. Interested in discovering which waterproofing measures or methods can help you better care for your trees and your crawl space? The foundation and crawl space professionals serving Raleigh, NC, can help you get started. After a home inspection from a Tar Heel Basement Systems expert, you can look over a free personalized quote to determine what avenues best suit your home’s needs, not to mention the needs of your budget.

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