Can Trees Damage Your Crawl Space?

Trees that grow too close to your home can cause your crawl space to crack or flood. You can protect your space by installing waterproofing measures.

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When you’re trying to protect your crawl space from unanticipated water damage, you wouldn’t necessarily look to trees as potential culprits. However, trees with invasive root systems can shift the soil around your crawl space and compromise its structural integrity.

crawl space exterior and roots

Can Tree Roots Damage Your Crawl Space?

While you can’t always see your trees’ roots, they’re fairly active beneath your lawn. Tree roots provide your trees with all of the nutrients they need to survive. As your tree’s needs grow, so will its roots. Unfortunately, those roots can occasionally grow too close to your home.

While tree roots won’t physically start to rip apart the concrete holding up your home, they can still damage your existing crawl space. When tree roots shift around your crawl space, they cause the soil to move with them. As the soil moves, groundwater and rainwater will be able to make their way toward your crawl space. As that hydrostatic pressure builds up around your home, the supports forming your crawl space will start to expand and contract to the point where it may crack while trying to accommodate that moisture. While cracks don’t always beget moisture, you’ll rapidly find yourself dealing with unwanted seepage if you don’t work to protect your crawl space.

To summarize: Tree roots will not physically make their way into your crawl space and disrupt its overall structure. Most of the time, your foundation will actively deter them. However, as tree roots grow around your crawl space, you may find yourself dealing with related damage.

How Can You Protect Your Crawl Space From Invasive Roots?

Protecting your crawl space from invasive root systems requires a lot of forethought and some sacrifice, on occasion. The work, however, is worth it when you no longer have to worry about unnecessary moisture making its way into your home.

If you’re looking to protect your crawl space, consider the following:

Choose your trees wisely

There are some trees, hedges, and plants that have more invasive root systems than others. While you’re planning how you want to landscape your front walk, you’ll want to research the plants you want close to your home. Try to keep the aggressive species farther out in your yard if you want to preserve your crawl space.

Transplant too-large trees

If you’ve moved to a new lot and there are trees already planted close to your home’s perimeter, you may need to consider transplanting those trees. When you transplant trees, you avoid the cost of overall removal while also retaining your yard’s appeal.

Have your crawl space inspected

When in doubt, it’s best to call in a professional to inspect your crawl space. Crawl space contractors will be able to identify any potential leak points in your crawl space and advise you on how best you can protect your belongings and home.

Waterproof your crawl space

It’s always a good idea to waterproof your crawl space, whether you’re building a new home or moving into an existing one. While your waterproofing options may vary, you’ll be able to protect your home from the worst of root damage without necessarily removing any trees or otherwise altering your landscaping ambitions.

What Trees Should You Avoid Planting Around Your Home?

For homeowners worried about invasive root systems, there is hope! There are some trees that are known for their fast-growing roots that you can actively avoid while planning out your landscaping. These include:

  • American Elms
  • Willow Trees
  • Hybrid Poplars
  • Silver Maples

These tree species don’t have much in common other than their invasive root systems. On one hand, this makes it difficult to say whether or not specific species will negatively impact your crawl space’s structural integrity. On the other hand, it also means you can talk to the representatives at your local nursery to determine whether or not the other trees you may be interested in are safe to plant closer to your home.

When you’re trying to protect your crawl space, don’t forget to take the trees in your yard into account. If you think your crawl space leak is the result of root damage, talk to one of the professional crawl space repair professionals working out of the Richmond, VA, area. Contractors will be able to inspect your crawl space and provide you with a free quote on potential services.

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