How Trees and Their Roots Can Affect your Foundation

Trees and Soil Issues Can Cause Major Problems to Your Foundation

trees and foundation problemsTrees are a beautiful part of our natural environment, adding to any home’s appeal, providing shade during the hot summer months in Texas, and adding to the landscape of a front or back yard. However, trees can cause numerous problems to your home’s foundation. If you have a home with numerous trees, you need to be aware of possible warning signs that can wreak havoc on your Texas home’s foundation. You should also keep in mind that as tall as a tree actually grows, its roots may actually extend to three times its height beneath the ground.

If your home has numerous trees, that doesn’t mean you need to start cutting them all down and uprooting them or that you even need foundation repair, but certain precautions should be taken.

Trees and Their Roots

Never underestimate the strength of tree roots. They are in many ways unstoppable and extremely strong. Tree roots are always on the prowl for water, which is why they grow and spread far underground. Much of this revolves around the type of soil you have.

For example, clay soil tends to be very thick and compresses around the roots as they spread. Looser soil, which usually has plenty of loose rocks and dirt, shifts instead of staying compressed; the looseness of the soil allows the roots to spread with greater ease. In Central Texas, you’ll mostly find a thin layer of black clay soil situated upon limestone bedrock.

Weather also plays a major part in how roots spread. In clay soil, roots tend to shrink a bit when there’s a drought, but if it rains, the roots tend to expand. It’s a two-way street as both the shrinking and expanding of soils can affect its overall quality.

Tree Roots and Concrete Shifting

While many homeowners are led to believe that trees can cause foundation damage, that’s not entirely true. Many times it’s the changes in the soil that cause foundation problems. Both bear some responsibility.

Concrete is often a major culprit, especially when it settles. Concrete settling will often lead to cracks; in some cases, it may be very minimal, and other times more extreme. It can also lead to shifting. In some cases this shifting will be minimal and may not have any effect on your foundation; roots may not even have any effect on it at all. However, the more extreme the shifting, the more likely you are to face foundation issues, especially if your home is an older one. Damage such as shifting support beams cracked walls and uneven ceilings may occur.

The construction of your foundation may also be part of the problem if it isn’t deep enough. You’ll find that many homes with basements are less susceptible to this type of damage because the foundation is very deep in the ground. There are not many homes in Central Texas that have basements, so more homes here are likely to fall victim to shifting from dry soil, especially during the extremely hot summer months.

How to Prevent Roots From Spreading

If you’re concerned about roots and their potential to affect your foundation, there are some things you can do. We’ve listed some things here, but if you suspect foundation issues, a foundation inspection by a professional foundation repair company may be needed.

Root Barriers are one method to help stop the spread of roots. Unfortunately, you may find yourself digging deep down to your foundation’s base, but it allows you to cut away at any roots that are coming in contact with the foundation. Usually, a trench of about 30 inches deep is dug into the ground between the foundation and any approaching roots. The barrier is made of a thick, impenetrable material that will guide the roots away from the foundation. While installing the barrier, you can also cut away at any roots that might cause potential problems in the future. This may help greatly if you have older trees that you aren’t willing to cut down.

Other Landscaping Options

If you need to remove trees, but want to replace them, you can choose from a variety of slow-growing species which often have less aggressive roots. Trees such as oaks and maples tend to grow slower than other varieties; it’s best to avoid varieties that have deep and invasive roots, such as willows and elm trees.

Depending on the size of your backyard, you may want to consider smaller trees with less invasive roots.

About Done Right Foundation Repair

Locally Owned, Texas Proud

Done Right Foundation Repair was created over 20 years ago by Chris Felsing with the support of his family. He started with a small team and a big dream, learning the ins and outs of foundation repair as he went. He and his team looked for ways to provide a complete solution to all foundation issues and have worked tirelessly for the past 20 years to master their craft. Our Central Texas locations: Done Right Foundation Repair in AustinDone Right Foundation Repair in New BraunfelsDone Right Foundation Repair in San Marcos