Can trees damage a house’s foundation? Trees can add curb value to your home and make your yard all the more inviting for those summer barbeques, but they can also pose a significant risk to the foundation of your home. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the benefits of trees, though. The foundation experts at K. Kuypers have inspected and repaired foundations from tree and root damage for over 60 years and are here to help you identify the risks and what you can do to prevent damage.

tree in close proximity to a house's foundation

The root of the problem

Trees have the potential to harm your home in two ways; either through direct contact or indirectly as they impact the soil.

As the trees in your yard grow, the roots will continue to expand, looking for water and nutrients in the soil and exerting pressure against any surfaces they encounter on the way – like your home. If the roots can’t go through your foundation in existing cracks, they will grow downwards, and they can clog your existing weeping tile.

More commonly, root damage to your home occurs from the roots altering the soil around your foundation. As the root extracts the moisture from the clay soil around your home, the soil will reduce in size causing your foundation to settle and crack.  

Does the type of tree matter?

Different trees can affect a foundation in different ways depending on the type of root system. The potentially most damaging types of trees to your home have fast-growing shallow root systems that extract a significant amount of moisture and nutrients from the soil around them. Oaks, poplars, and some maple trees fall into this category.

Other potentially dangerous trees are ash trees as they have a large root spread, which can easily impact your foundation as they grow.

saved tree in close proximity to a house's foundation

Identifying root damage

If you have noticed cracks or damage to your foundation and have trees on your property, they may be the culprit. The only way to verify the source is to dig up the roots and look in the soil near your foundation, but you can keep an eye out for the following clues that might suggest a need to call for professional help:

· Slant: If your home is slanted towards a tree, this may indicate that the root system is leeching water and causing your foundation to shift.

· Location: Where did you find the cracks or damage in your foundation? If they are located near trees, this may be a warning sign.

Preventing root damage

If you are worried about trees damaging the foundation of your home, mitigate some risk of root damage with the following tips.

· Build a root barrier. This is a barrier built around your home to guide potentially damaging roots in another direction.

· Non-invasive landscaping. Consider trees with non-invasive root systems, planting all shrubs and trees away from your foundation.

· Keep soil moisture consistent. Plant trees with minimal water requirements so they soak up less moisture, and water your trees or foundation (yes, you read that right!) during especially dry periods to help keep soil from shifting.

Trust the professionals at K. Kuypers Construction

It shouldn’t be stressful to have trees planted on your property. With the right steps, you can keep your home and your family safe while enjoying your beautiful landscaping.

If you do see signs of damage or want to safeguard against potential root damage, you can rely on the trusted experts at K Kuypers Construction to walk you through it. Contact us for a free estimate and see why we’ve been trusted by Edmonton and area homeowners for more than 60 years!