Tree Root System Impact on Concrete and Foundation, Part 1

At Lift Right Concrete, many of our concrete lifting and leveling services come with significant foundation benefits. Home foundations are vital components on any property, and services like joint and crack sealing, driveway and garage floor lifting and related areas help keep the foundation protected from moisture seepage and other risks associated with concrete damage.

There are several exterior factors that may present threats to your concrete and foundation over time, and one major area for some property owners to keep an eye on here is nearby trees and their root systems. Tree roots can grow long and far away from the actual base of the tree, searching for moisture and other nutrients – but also potentially impacting your foundation in a few ways, both negative and, surprisingly, positive. In this multi-part blog series, we’ll go over everything you need to know on both sides of this ledger, including how to deal with tree root invasions in cases where they’re damaging your foundation.

tree root impact concrete foundation

Signs of Root-Related Foundation Issues

First and foremost, here are some of the signs that tree roots might be impacting your foundation or even growing directly underneath it:

  • Foundation damage will be particularly noticeable near a specific tree, often a larger tree with a developed root system that draws water away from the soil below the foundation, leading to collapse.
  • Foundation damage on the side of the home that receives the most sunlight, due to this assisting in tree and root growth.
  • The home itself begins to slant toward trees due to one side of the foundation settling due to sinking soil that has its moisture drawn away by tree roots.

Problems Associated With Roots and Foundation

Now, in most cases, tree roots themselves are not strong enough to break your concrete or foundation. Rather, as we noted above, they sap the surrounding area – including the soil beneath the foundation – of its moisture, leading to shifting and settling of the soil and resulting strain on the concrete. This strain is what often causes cracks or other damage, which can lead to leaks in the foundation and basement and other major issues. In the worst cases, the entire home’s structure will be impacted.

Limiting Foundation Damage

Some general steps to avoid or decrease tree root foundation damage:

  • Root barriers: These are specific plastic sheets meant to divert roots away from the foundation if they come too close.
  • Landscaping: There are several landscaping tasks you can perform to limit the risk of tree root foundation damage, including trimming and cutting roots, placing new trees far from the foundation, and avoiding tree types that require huge amounts of moisture.
  • Irrigation: Adding additional irrigation near the tree will stop it from soaking up all the surrounding moisture, at least to some degree.
  • Removal: Finally, if all other methods fail, you might have to simply remove the tree in question.

For more on tree roots and foundation impact, or to learn about any of our concrete lifting and leveling services, speak to the staff at Lift Right Concrete today.