Trees are truly lovely things that take decades to grow to their full glory. We love our trees too, except when they grow close to a house. Many folk are unaware the roots can spread below the ground as wide as the branches above the roof. Trees you love can harm your house when you overlook this.
Trees You Love Can Harm Your House and Foundations
Trees grow by taking nutrients and moisture from the soil, and circulating their food through their branches to the tips. Hence their roots are forever probing for their food. If they come across a foundation they explore it relentlessly. If there is water down there they grow so thick they can crack a foundation from below.
When a foundation cracks, it rises slightly to relieve the pressure forming an inverted ‘V’. This movement gradually spreads up the wall until it begins to open a crack from the top. If you have siding on a solid wall, you may only discover how trees you love can harm your house when the damage becomes extensive and expensive to repair.
Why Tree Trunks Can Also Take Their Toll on Walls
A tree trunk grows in circumference every time it adds another ring. This outward pressure is immense. We have all seen garden walls pushed down. This sideways force can accelerate a cracking wall. Few houses are built to withstand that force. However, your biggest problem can be higher up.
How Your Immediate Problem May Be Above the Walls
A tree is a marvelous piece of natural engineering. It spreads its branches out to maintain its balance. But it becomes a springy thing above the roof line, whipping to and fro in strong wind with surprising force. It can smash gutters clogged with leaves, break the mounting brackets, and bring the eavestrough system to the ground.
The rainwater and snow-melt management system fails when that happens. The water falls directly to the foundations, saturating soil and weakening the support beneath cracked foundations.
The trees you love can harm your house to a surprising extent if not managed regularly. Small shrubs a maximum metre high can grow against a wall and look mighty pretty. Plant anything larger the same distance from the wall as the maximum branch spread plus three feet.
We are sad when we have to chop back a tree to repair damage it caused to a client’s roof, eavestrough, fascia or siding. We wrote this post to help you avoid the expense. Please call (403)829-1661 when you need us for assistance or advice.