Trees and Soil Issues Can Cause Major Problems to Your Foundation
Trees 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 think 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 affect on your foundation; roots may not even have any affect 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.
If you feel that your home is in danger of damage from soil issues and potential problems with tree roots, contact Done Right Foundation Repair. We offer a no strings attached transferable warranty for all of our work because we believe in the integrity of our work. From foundation repair to new installation, Done Right Foundation Repair gets the job done right.