Trees & Your Foundation
One of the things a lot of people associate with a welcoming, familiar home is a tree in the yard, be it front, back or both. It provides shade in the summer, it makes property look more appealing, and there’s just something comforting about a home with one or more trees on it. Unfortunately, trees, like any living thing, are interested in growing as much as they can, and while often this is not an issue, sometimes, especially if the tree is close to the home, it can actually affect the state of a structure’s foundation given enough time.
The Soil Problem
The biggest issue with a tree is the long term effect it can have on the soil surrounding it. A growing tree is incredibly “thirsty’ when it comes to moisture and will absorb high amounts of it in the soil. Factors like the type of tree and the type of soil the tree is in play a hand in how much water the tree absorbs. The more trees on a property, the more this moisture absorption occurs.
This has an impact on the soil, causing it to contract and causing the soil itself around a structure to move. The effect of the soil slowly moving is called “subsidence,” and trees can gradually cause an imbalance in the distribution of soil that can affect the balance of a home’s foundation. This can eventually lead to cracks in the foundation, or even the entire home leaning in a particular direction as the soil the foundation used to be resting has “moved” closer to the trees.
There are actually a number of ways to solve these problems, but they depend largely on the circumstances with a tree. One way to easily avoid this problem is to simply not plant trees in the first place, or, make sure to plant them far enough away that the root system will not affect your foundation. Another solution is to simply remove the tree or trees, which is much easier to do when they’re younger. Be cautious about removing an older tree, as this will have a significant effect on the moisture in an area, and removing such an established tree can actually bring more moisture back into the soil that might be more damaging to your foundation. Another solution might be to simply maintain a certain amount of water in and around the area of the tree to ensure it doesn’t affect the soil. Finally, a root barrier may also be an option, but this will require a professional evaluation since improper installation can damage or kill the tree.
If you’re uncertain about whether trees are having an effect on your foundation, and what you might be able to do about it, it’s always best to call in the experts. AA Action Waterproofing has the experience with foundations and soil effects to tell you what is the best course of action if your foundation has been affected by the soil and the trees in your yard.