Is My Tree Affecting My Foundation? Tree Root Issues

Tree Roots and Structural/Foundation Issues

During a home inspection, you may find the house you are purchasing has a tree that is very close. Perhaps, your home inspector even mentioned that the trees were too close to the home.

Although this can definitely be an issue for the roof, as trees can fall on roofs, how do you know when the tree is affecting your foundation?

Let’s Find Out

Trees should maintain a safe distance away from your home. Not only can the roots affect the foundation, but the vegetation from Fall can severely affect your roof life.

If you find a home you love, or your current home has a tree near the foundation, here is what you can look for:

Cracks & Shifting Outside

Let’s start by looking at the outside of the home where the tree is located. Do you see any evidence of the tree roots going under the home? Also, do you see any shifting, cracking, or movement of the foundation or walls?

We wrote another blog about structural issues and how tell if something is structural. You should read that and then come back, but basically, if the crack is offset or the crack is greater than 1/8 of an inch, the crack is a concern.

Inside Evidence

After evaluating the outside for cracks, damage, and shifting, you can make your way inside to the closest room/wall to the tree.

Again, we are looking for the cracks and shifting. However, we could also be looking for slopes in the floor or cracks in the flooring. The same rules apply as above. We should view offset cracks or cracks greater than 1/8 of an inch as a concern.

We can also inspect for signs of moisture. If a tree limb has broken through our foundation or wall, typically, water will follow.

Evidence of Damage We Can Not See

There may be times, to where we can’t see the damage the tree roots are doing to our home. However, there might be clues as to if there is an issue.

Some clues could be you water bill has been getting higher. A higher water bill might mean you have a plumbing leak under the foundation you cannot see.

Also, if you are seeing an increase of bugs/pests in your home, they could be coming through tiny cracks caused by the tree. Trees do harbor a lot of pests and having one close to your home opens your home up for ant guests!

Tree Foundation Solutions

So, if you are worried about your tree causing an issue for your home, here are some solutions.

Remove the Tree

Although this may not be the favorite option, your home, peace of mind, and wallet will thank you in the long-run.

You see, even if the tree is not currently affecting the foundation, it could in the future. Moreover, the tree branches over your house will need consistent maintenance. Furthermore, your roof will need more maintenance and sooner replacement due to vegetation debris.

If you are in an area that is prone to hurricanes, this might be especially concerning.

I am not anti-trees, though! I love trees – I just want them to be a safe distance away from my investment! That being said, here are your options for keeping the tree.

Add a Barrier

There are special types of root barriers that prohibit root growth near home foundations. In fact, if you are purchasing a home with a tree next to the home, the seller might already have one installed. Be sure to ask the seller!

If you would like more information on these barriers contact a tree specialist. You can also read about them here.

Trim the Roots

Although this can be labor intensive, it might be needed depending on the severity of growth. Consider contacting a tree specialist for help with this.

Summing Up

Trees and tree roots can definitely cause a lot of harm on your home. From pests, to roof damage, to structural and foundation damage, maintaining a nice, shady tree will require some extra attention.

If you have concerns about a tree next to your home, comment below or contact us.

Aaron Shishilla

Author Aaron Shishilla

Aaron Shishilla is the youngest registered professional inspector in Florida. Coming from a family-owned home inspection company and now the marketing manager at Waypoint.

More posts by Aaron Shishilla

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