Tree Roots and Foundation Problems Tree roots can pose problems for foundations. Many times, trees are identified as the cause of foundation deficiencies by one or more consulting professionals, and removal of the plant is recommended. Some homeowners believe that removing surrounding trees will fix the problem. A list of questions to ask or issues to consider would include the following: Consider the planning and development and the history of the site beginning as far back in time as records will allow. Trees should never be planted close to the house, especially larger trees. To prevent any potential plumbing, sewer or foundation problems, avoid placing these trees in your yard. upward movement of the foundations due to clay expansion rather than shrinkage) Tree roots are unlikely to directly penetrate sound footings Tree roots will proliferate where water is available, and this is what causes them to grow into drains. A large shade tree can transpire as much as 200 gallons of water per day. If you do plant them, measure to ensure the root system has adequate room to grow. Due to the variance of soil types and conditions at any single site, it is not possible to offer any one response to a problem. With an increasing number of area foundations being poured and the increasing age of existing area foundations, a rise in future deficiencies will likely occur. Proper drainage and final grading near a foundation are important in avoiding future problems. Does your lot drain correctly? In many housing developments, the site is graded and leveled, removing or redistributing the topsoil (the good stufff or growing plants!). Especially aggressive rooted species include the white poplar (P. alba), a 100-foot-tall tree with a wide crown and dark foliage, and the cottonwood … This is due in part to the extent of the root system involved with shade trees.Most trees have root systems contained within the top 4 to 5 feet of soil, with the absorbing roots in the top 12 inches. Gathering input from each specialist is wise but it can lead to differences of opinion and confusion. Since many trees and foundations have existed together for many years, any changes that occur do so over time and they can be minor,compared to the removal of the tree. Invasive tree roots are a common problem for homeowners and in commercial settings. If the soil is black clay, the high shrink/swell potential can be a factor.The black clay soil in our area shrinks when it is dry, and expands when it is wet. Common Foundation Problems In Asheville, NC, Foundation Repair For Builders: Why Soil Matters, Foundation Repairs: Why to Do Them Sooner Rather Than Later. Does water stand near your foundation, or does it drain away? 98% of the homes in the United States have foundations constructed out of concrete, masonry blocks or brick, all of which tend to crack when there is … Charlotte: 704-545-0206Hendersonville / Asheville: 828-274-2101South Carolina: 803-802-2477. Trees grow relatively slowly, and it’s easy to lull yourself into a false sense of security. Many people believe that since it is concrete, a foundation should last forever. By physical contact with the foundation 2. The Consulting Arborist’s objective is to teach the property owner how the trees might affect foundations. By causing air gaps and shifting soil due to decaying roots under or near a foundation (when a tree dies or is removed) This can cause several problems for neighbouring properties because they withdraw moisture from the soil, causing it to dry out. A member of the genus Pinus , pine trees are native to most of the Northern Hemisphere, which makes them easy to grow even for people living in cold climates.And yet some people hesitate to use pine trees because they worry that the roots of a pine planted near a house might cause damage to the foundation. An analysis of your soil type and foundation status can also demonstrate that roots are not a major threat to your home. However, being informed and knowing what to ask, can lead to the correct solution. City arborists are receiving calls to remove trees circumstantially blamed for the damage. If the tree is 30 feet away,physical contact is still possible,but not as likely to exert much pressure against the foundation. But many times, this preventative measure exacerbates the issue. Determine if your site has any topsoil remaining. Trees can cause problems for nearby foundations in three primary ways: 1. Most roots, therefore, especially the important, tiny, absorbing roots, proliferate near the soil surface. Before removing any trees from your property, be sure to consult with a licensed foundation … An expert can let you know if you should worry about how close that tree is to the house or if all is good. Removal does not always include stump removal, so be sure to ask if that is included in the cost and if it’s necessary. By examining all of the related issues, arborists, foundation experts,and others can determine if trees are a problem or a contributor to a problem. Is it fractured and mixed with soil,or is it a solid layer and to what depth? CONFIRM THE INVOLVEMENT OF TREE ROOTS FIRST Before any tree is cut down, the presence of tree roots at the base of the foundation … As the root system begins to rot and decay, air spaces and gaps occur in the soil to replace the roots. Left unchecked, the structural integrity of your home can become weaker with each passing year. Poplars, or trees in the Populus genus, can cause foundation damage. Sometimes this requires a discussion directed more toward the “whole picture”. Since many experts in different professions may also work for others in related fields, it is wise to ask if the person or company has had any relationship with others involved,or to hire firms from outside our area. The extensive root systems mentioned above do offer important benefits, including: But in order to optimize these benefits, you must be strategic about landscaping — both with new and old trees: Proper tree management can help add years to your foundation’s useful lifetime. By causing air gaps and shifting soil due to decaying roots under or near a foundation (when a tree dies or is removed). 3. Experts agree that these practices directly affect the integrity and life expectancy of a foundation BEFORE being installed. Tree Roots and Your Foundation. Foundation damage can occur from subsoil shrinkage during drought in the total absence of roots. If so, measure the depth. Many trees self seed quite extensively and you may not even notice a sapling growing close to the house. Some homeowners believe that removing surrounding trees will fix the problem. They can also help protect your home in surprising ways. Since North Central Texas has experienced drought conditions in previous years, many homeowners who did not adequately water may now have foundation issues. Prevent Problems with Trees and Tree Roots with LRE Foundation Repair Before your tree roots cause any major foundation damage, contact the experts at LRE Foundation Repair We’ll provide … Consider the final lot grading. Rotting roots can accelerate destabilization and increase the likelihood of foundation failure. The tree species is important because a larger, older, longer-lived, shade tree is a greater concern than a smaller, younger, shorter-lived ornamental tree or shrub. Sandy soils shrink and swell a smaller amount and do not retain water like clay soils.When a foundation site contains a mixture of clay,sand,sandy loam,or rock,it becomes more difficult to predict how the soil will react.Most soil types, and soil mixes can adequately support a foundation if they are properly planned, designed, built, and MAINTAINED! Unless the soil around the house foundation is very dense and was properly compacted after the foundation was installed, tree roots can cause slumping and shifting of the soil as they draw out water. Above ground, trees can cause other problems for homes when they get pummeled by severe storms, wind, or lightning. When there is physical contact between a tree and a foundation, the damage, if any, may vary greatly according to the species of tree, the site conditions, proximity to the foundation,the type of foundation,the portion of the tree contacting the foundation,and the tree’s size. It’s important to select trees … While foundation damage can happen for a variety of reasons, trees can get blamed for some foundation problems. 2. Obtain other opinions from numerous consultants in relative fields. Any large tree with vigorous growth has the potential to cause subsidence damage if it is close enough to a house. Conceptually,a slab foundation is basically a“slab”of reinforced concrete poured on top of the soil. Where trees have been recently removed, foundation depths should still be designed to suit the height of the tree (see diagrams on p45). © 2020 Arborilogical Services, Inc - All rights reserved, City of Dallas Urban Forest Advisory Committee. Arborilogical is the expert tree care company your trees deserve. The type of foundation is important because, as a general rule, a pier-and-beam foundation can tolerate nearby trees better than a slab. To ensure the tree roots won’t continue to grow, it might be. Correction of foundation and structural problems can be very costly and occasionally foundation cracks will be a warning sign of other structural issues with a home. The goal of watering a foundation is to provide adequate and consistent soil moisture under and around a foundation at all times throughout the year. By affecting the moisture content of the soil under or near a foundation. That’s why you should take precautions. How do you know if a tree is too close to a house’s foundation? For pine tree roots, removal depends on the size of the roots and the problem they are causing. Check for records available from city hall, the builder/developer or others that may have been involved with the site. The roots of a Leylandi Conifer can spread a considerable distance, particularly taller trees. If trees are planted around a foundation when the house is constructed, the removal of water from the soil mass by the tree can cause foundation ‘settlement’. Avoid Planting Trees with an Invasive Root System. Determine whether the soil type and soil profile were taken into account in planning and developing the area, or in the design of the foundation. Get foundation repair assistance And it’s not only their height that can cause a problem. Quality issues apply to every person involved in the construction process from the builder/developer to the structural engineer and even the city officials that inspect and approve of the construction practices. How to Remove a Tree Root From a Foundation. That can cause them to “girdle” or wrap around the trunk, which chokes the tree by cutting off its water supply. These are serious problems in and of themselves, but they also lead to faster-than-normal water absorption under and around your home. Consequence: Roots might grow up through the mulch in search of air. But many times, this preventative measure exacerbates the issue. Published February 1, 2017 By ARBORILOGICAL SERVICES. Okay maybe not quite, but this swelling can cause the soil to uplift, sometimes to a greater volume than when the property was built, leading to displacement of the foundations. Trees “transpire” or release water into the air in the form of vapor. Some large species need a little more room while smaller species can be a bit closer. There is no easy way to remove all of the roots when you remove a tree; the rotting remains of the roots left behind can destabilize the soil even faster, leading to more potential foundation trouble. If a large shade tree, that is close to a foundation is removed, more dramatic changes can occur to the soil and foundation than if the tree was left alone, in most cases. Our area has foundations that are fifty years old or more with few problems and some with problems only a few years after construction. Tree root growth can put pressure against your home’s foundation and cause the exterior symptoms to appear on your home. Whether the roots are growing protruding the foundation, or the canopy is large enough to graze the house, that tree has grown too close to your home. and if so, was the soil compacted to industry standards? Foundation experts, structural engineers, and others can provide their recommendations, but be aware that a conflict of interest may exist. Under-watering or over-watering for any length of time can cause problems,regardless of the soil type. Experts can include Soil Scientists, foundation repair companies, Hydrologists, Structural Engineers and Consulting Arborists. Some large trees can pull as much as 150 gallons each day through their roots. This can form a barrier against your foundation, … While it is a sapling it won't cause a problem, but some trees can grow very quickly. By causing air gaps and shifting soil due to decaying roots under or near a foundation (when a tree dies or is removed). There are other foundation types, but the important question to ask is: “What type of foundation has been installed and is it suitable to the site conditions?”. Even the best foundation, built under ideal conditions, can have difficulty if it is not properly maintained. Trees located close to or under your home’s foundation can leech excessive amounts of moisture from the soil, causing the soil to shrink. Determine what existed on the site before it was developed. Structural engineers and foundation experts state that there are two types of foundation owners, those who have had foundation problems and those who will. If it is a small tree and it is very close to the foundation, cutting it down now before it gets big may be a good course of … Arborilogical Services shares information and news about trees, tree maintenance and tree industry news. Since water naturally moves through the soil from high moisture areas to low moisture areas, simply not watering at all can cause foundation problems regardless of nearby trees. Trees often have vast root systems that spread out two to three times farther than the above-ground branch. From time to time, you should conduct periodic inspections to check the health of your home’s foundation. Shown below are photographs of a … Retaining Walls For Commercial Businesses, How to Conduct a Home Foundation Inspection. If you have cause to believe that your foundation has been damaged by tree roots, contact HD Foundations for foundation repair service. All plants need water, oxygen, and nutrients. Tree roots are one of the major reasons for foundation problems and may cause a foundation to crack, tilt or shift up and down. In rare cases tree removal on such soils can lead to heave (i.e. If disaster does strike (like falling branches), these homeowners are usually covered by insurance. While that’s not a common problem, it can and does occur. When trees have died or have been removed, the roots that remain under or near a foundation can create problems. If the tree is small and was planted after the home was built, cutting it down may be one of the several options. There are many potential reasons for foundation problems, and the causes may vary greatly from site to site.The soil in your neighborhood may be one type, but area-wide the soil types could include clay, sand, sandy loam, rock, or a combination of these materials. How Worried Should A Homeowner or Business Owner Be About Foundation Cracks? When there is physical contact between a tree and a foundation, the damage, if any, may vary gre… Problem: Too much mulch smothers the tree’s roots. Your home's foundation typically rests on a compacted soil area with surrounding plant life decorating the yard. When a foundation has movement it may cause damage as well as a number of problems with the home ranging from minor cracks up to structural failures, depending on how much movement occurs, … A slab foundation is more readily affected by the soil under and around it as well as the soil moisture content. Besides sucking moisture out of the soil, tree roots can also put pressure against your foundation and cause problems. Generally, trees should sit about 15 feet away from a house. Maturity of the tree; Permeability of the soil; Availability of free water Many years ago, foundation professionals would see a larger shade tree that is close to the house and automatically recommend removal. Poor site planning and development can lead to foundation problems. Was it designed to last forever? Large trees that are very close to your home can sometimes contribute to foundation damage as a result of extracting water from the soil around the building. Charlotte: 704-545-0206Hendersonville / Asheville: 828-274-2101South Carolina: 803-802-2477 sales. Poor workmanship or inattention to the circumstances by any person or group that is involved must be investigated. The removal of trees altogether can leave significant rehydration problems in the soil. Is the soil level below the bottom of the foundation or above the brick or exterior material? Today, research shows that removal of the tree is not always the answer. © 2020 Foundation Repair Services, Inc.. All rights reserved. Depending on the species and maturity of the tree in question, there are a few distinctions and options to explore before considering tree removal as a definitive … Tree removal costs can vary greatly, depending on the size and location of the tree. Far more common, however, are issues like subsidence or uneven soil shifting resulting from root expansion. In some cases, a tree will offer benefits that help offset any foundation concerns such as the energy savings obtained or any of the many other benefits of trees. Since a pier-and-beam foundation gains its support from piers rather than just concrete on top of soil,they can more readily sustain minor pressure from nearby trees. If you happen to have one of the aforementioned trees or plants in your yard and it is near your home, consider removing it as soon as … When a foundation has a deficiency,many issues must be considered. By affecting the moisture content of the soil under or near a foundation3. Consequence: That excess moisture … Cutting down trees should only be a last solution to a potential root problem. And more often than not, this interplay happens underground, completely out of sight. These are most readily available near the soil surface where precipitation infiltrates the soil and oxygen from the atmosphere diffuses into the porous soil. Consider the type of foundation,its design and the site conditions. Foundation problems, or structural deficiencies of homes and buildings are a common concern in North Texas. A pier-and-beam foundation contains “piers”, or pillars, of reinforced concrete with beams of various materials stretched across the top of the piers (normally a beam of iron and/or concrete). Trees can cause problems for nearby foundations in three primary ways: 1. Consideration must be given to the full, long term effect of removing an existing tree near a foundation. A pier-and-beam foundation is slightly less affected by soil type and moisture content, especially if the piers are resting on top of a rock layer. If the tree is 15 feet away, physical contact is likely and pressure exerted against the foundation is possible. If your foundation is built on expansive soils, the high clay content will become densely packed as the tree roots grow. At the first sign of danger, call in a professional foundation expert ASAP. Their roots can extend for several feet and one large tree can remove about 100 gallons of water daily from the soil. 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