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Can Tree Roots Damage Your Foundation?

be careful planting near your home

When you first move to a new home, you may not give much thought to the trees in the area. You’ll want to take those trees into account, though, if you want to keep your home’s foundation healthy.

Tree roots, as it turns out, can have increasingly detrimental impacts on your home’s foundation. How do trees damage your foundation, and what steps can you take to prevent that damage?

How Tree Roots Damage Your Foundation

Tree root systems are more expansive than many homeowners think. A healthy root system can easily grow to be the same size as a tree’s canopy. Given their ability to grow so large, many trees can start to impact your home’s overall health. For example, if you’ve planted a tree too close to the perimeter of your home, that tree’s root system will start to interact with your foundation.

That said, tree roots don’t physically start to tear away at the materials making up your foundation. Instead, they move the soil beneath your home. When that soil shifts, your foundation will settle more frequently than it already does. A settling foundation is a foundation that encounters hydrostatic pressure more often than it should. When your foundation is exposed to that kind of pressure, it’s more likely to crack and otherwise suffer damage.

Tree roots can frequently cause unintentional damage around your home. What can you do to keep that damage at bay?

How You Prevent Damage from Tree Roots

Whether you’re moving to a new home or have just wrapped up some landscaping work, don’t worry. There are several steps you can take to keep your trees’ root systems from compromising the overall health of your home. These steps include:

  • Landscape carefully – When you’re first planning out your landscaping, try and keep all your larger bushes and trees at least 20 feet away from the perimeter of your home. In doing so, you’ll allow their roots the room they need to grow without compromising your foundation’s structural integrity. If you’re moving into a home that already has trees too close to your home, you can talk to the tree professionals in your area about transplanting those trees or otherwise removing them from your property.
  • Check your foundation’s depth – You’ll also want to work with local foundation and basement repair professionals to make sure that your home’s foundation is buried deeply enough. A shallow foundation is more likely to fall victim to root-related damage. While it can be difficult to regrade your foundation, doing so is never impossible. Talk to a local contractor to determine what your options may be.
  • Waterproof your foundation – When in doubt, you’ll always want to see what kind of waterproofing measures you can take advantage of. Even dehumidifiers can protect your home from unnecessary moisture, should the trees in your yard start forcing your home to settle. Talk to one of the local contractors in the Winston-Salem, NC, area to see which options may suit you best.

Which Trees Should You Avoid Planting Near Your Home?

If you are exploring your landscaping options, you may readily find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer biological diversity you have at your disposal. Any homeowner concerned about the state of his or her foundation will want to know which trees and hedges are worth avoiding. After all, some plants have more aggressive root systems than others.

When it comes to the care and keeping of your foundation, try to keep all of the following trees a minimum of 20 feet away from the perimeter of your home:

  • American Elms
  • Willow Trees
  • Hybrid Poplars
  • Silver Maples

It is worth noting that these trees don’t inherit their aggressive nature. There are no binding genera between these species. As such, you can swap out the American Elm for one of its less aggressive cousins and still benefit from similar beauty in your yard.

Don’t let your foundation get away from you. You can talk to a local contractor about any issues you may be having with the trees in your yard or with your home in general. Reach out today for a thorough home inspection and a free quote on any services or repairs you may need.

Seeing Foundation Damage from Tree Roots? Call Tar Heel!

If you live in North Carolina and you see damage around your foundation from tree roots, call Tar Heel Basement Systems today. We’ll set you up with a free foundation inspection where you’ll get a thorough evaluation of the problem and a same-day quote on repair options.

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Foundation Damage FAQs

Absolutely, foundation cracks can be a pathway for water to enter your basement, especially during heavy rains or snow melts. This water intrusion can lead to moisture problems, mold, and further damage to your home’s interior.

While cosmetic cracks can sometimes be addressed with DIY methods like crack filling, more significant or growing cracks require professional assessment and repair. DIY fixes won’t address underlying structural issues.

The cost of foundation repair varies depending on the extent of the damage, the chosen repair method, and other factors. Tar Heel Basement Systems provides a complementary consultation and estimate to help you plan your financial investment in your foundation. 

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