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Can Tree Roots Cause Foundation Damage?

Last updated 5 years ago

Many property owners enjoy the shade that trees provide to their grounds and the harmonious, natural look they bring to their landscapes. Though they are beautiful, trees can also be destructive. Their roots are aggressive, and when left unchecked, they can damage your building’s foundation or sewer lines.

How to Recognize Foundation Damage

Cracked mortar and bricks in your basement or around the exterior of your home near ground level are the most obvious and common signs of foundation damage. When windows and doors begin to stick or fail to close altogether, this is often because the foundation has settled.

When a Tree Can Damage Your Foundation

You may have seen how large tree roots can crack the concrete blocks of sidewalks and heave them upwards. When a tree damages your foundation, however, it is not because the roots exert force directly on the foundation materials. Rather, as the tree’s roots grow toward the foundation, they drink up the moisture in the soil, causing it to contract. As the dry soil shifts, so does the foundation. The resulting uneven forces and stresses cause cracks and damage. Tree-related foundation damage is most common during droughts, when the soil holds less moisture than usual and is thus vulnerable to dramatic shrinking and swelling.

Which Trees to Watch Closely

Certain species of trees have very aggressive root systems that grow quickly and actively search for moisture. Other trees grow very slowly and do not pose much of a threat to your foundation. Keep a close eye on silver maple, elm, willow, and honey locust trees.

If your building has suffered foundation damage from an aggressive tree root system, call Structured Foundation Repairs, Inc. Depending on the nature and extent of the foundation damage, we can repair it using a variety of structures, including pressed pilings or pier and beam construction. Call us at (972) 484-1200 to ask about foundation repair.


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