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foundation cracks and invasive roots

Can Trees Damage Your Foundation?

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foundation cracks and invasive roots

Your foundation is surprisingly more sensitive than you might think. If you don’t take steps to protect your foundation against the forces of the outside world, you may rapidly find yourself dealing with unwanted cracks and leaks.

Tree roots, for example, can have a greater impact on your foundation’s structural integrity than you might think. How can tree roots damage your foundation, and what can you do to prevent that damage?

Can Trees Damage Your Foundation?

Just because you can’t see a tree’s roots doesn’t mean they’re not powerful. A tree’s roots can grow to be as expansive as its canopy. If you don’t plant your tree carefully, those roots can have detrimental effects on the overall structural integrity of your home.

In saying that, many homeowners get the wrong idea. Tree roots don’t physically alter the concrete or other materials that make up your foundation. Instead, they cause the soil beneath your home to shift. When the dirt beneath your foundation frequently shifts, your foundation is more likely to settle. With excessive settling comes an increased threat of cracks and leaks, courtesy of increasingly present hydrostatic pressure.

Put this way, tree roots can damage the overall structural integrity of your foundation. If you’ve noticed your basement is more humid than normal, or if you’re seeing standing water in your home, check your yard. One of your trees may be the culprit.

How Can You Keep Tree Roots from Damaging Your Foundation?

The good news is that you don’t have to let your tree’s roots run amok. There are several steps you can take to protect your foundation from shifting soil and invasive root systems. These steps include but are not limited to:

  • Landscaping carefully – When you’re first purchasing a home or otherwise considering your landscaping your options, you may rapidly find yourself enamored with your landscaping options. Don’t let your imagination get away from you. At a minimum, you’ll want all large hedges and trees at least 20 feet away from the perimeter of your home. Creating this distance helps you prevent root-based foundation damage while also allowing the plants the room they need to thrive.
  • Checking your foundation’s depth – The shallower your foundation is, the easier it’s going to be for tree roots to reach it. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to re-establish the foundation of your home. You’ll want to talk to the professionals working out of St. Cloud, MN, to determine how best to deepen the set of your foundation. Doing so will not only protect you from tree roots but will help you secure your home against comparable natural disasters in the years to come.
  • Waterproofing your foundation – Finally, you always have the option to waterproof your foundation and home. Even if you don’t have trees with invasive root systems in your yard, waterproofing measures will create a hydrophobic barrier between your home and your yard. In doing so, you’ll have a better chance to protect yourself against environmental damage. It’s worth noting that your waterproofing solution options will vary based on the type of foundation you have. Even so, you’ll be able to browse a diverse catalog to find the measures that suit you best.

Which Trees Should You Avoid Planting Near Your Home?

Worried about the structural integrity of your foundation? You’ll want to consider your landscaping options carefully. There are several species of trees that have especially aggressive root systems. Some of the ones you’ll want to avoid planting near your home include:

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

These trees don’t share a genus in common. Luckily, this means you’ll be able to swap out a more aggressive species of tree in exchange for one of its cousins without worrying about the structural integrity of your home. Keep in mind that planting location has as much of an impact on your foundation’s health as the species of tree. Try to keep all species of trees at least 20 feet away from the perimeter of your home for optimal foundation health.

Do you want to keep your landscaping in check, or are you worried about the state of your foundation? Reach out to the professionals working out of the St. Cloud, MN, area ASAP. Foundation and basement repair contractors will be able to inspect your home for signs of damage and provide you with a free quote on any repair services you may need.

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