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invasive roots and your crawl space

Can Trees Damage Your Crawl Space?

When you’re trying to protect your home from external damage, you probably don’t consider tree roots a threat. If you let a tree grow too close to the perimeter of your home, you may rapidly find yourself investing in crawl space repairs as those roots disrupt your space.

Will Trees Damage Your Crawl Space?

Trees and tree roots have more of an impact on your home’s health than you might initially believe. Not only do these trees control the ebb and flow of your local ecosystem, but they can also physically damage your home.

Most trees that have had time to mature have root systems that rival the size of their canopies. If those root systems make their way toward your crawl space, you might rapidly find yourself dealing with uneven flooring and water damage.

It’s not the roots that are physically attacking your home. Instead, as a tree’s roots grow around your home, they cause the soil to shift. That shifting soil leaves behind gaps. Your crawl space will settle into those gaps and have greater exposure to groundwater or rainwater. With that exposure comes a higher risk of exposure to hydrostatic pressure and the damage that comes along with it.

Protecting Your Crawl Space

If you want to protect your crawl space from trees and tree roots, you’re not wanting for options. You can redirect or otherwise prevent these roots from moving toward your home by:

  • Picking and choosing your trees – Some trees are larger and more invasive than others. You’ll want to talk with a representative at your local nursery before determining which plants you want to bring into your yard. Alternatively, you can conduct your own research and create a 20-foot perimeter around the whole of your home, filling that space with smaller plants as you do. 
  • Moving larger trees away from your home – If you’re moving onto a plot with larger trees, don’t worry. You won’t necessarily have to sacrifice their growth and beauty. Instead, get in touch with one of the professionals in your area to discuss transplanting these larger trees. Any trees that are especially invasive or that are growing within 20 feet of your home should be relocated if you want your crawl space to remain undamaged. 
  • Investing in crawl space inspections – When in doubt, call a crawl space repair professional for an inspection. Professionals will be able to identify crawl space problems you might otherwise miss. In turn, they’ll be able to suggest repairs and preventative measures that’ll protect your home from a tree’s roots. 
  • Waterproofing your crawl space – Finally, you should always try to waterproof your crawl space. You can do this through a variety of means. When it comes to combating tree roots, your best bets are often a vapor barrier combined with interior drainage and a sump pump. When in doubt, talk out your options with a professional to determine which will suit your home best.

What Trees Should You Avoid Planting Around Your Home?

Not all trees have hyper-invasive root systems. If you’re debating which trees to plant in your yard, you can happily avoid a specific few that are the most likely to damage your crawl space. These trees include:

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

Fortunately, these trees don’t share a genus. As such, you’ll be able to swap one of them out for a cousin and still enjoy their beauty, but without the aggressive roots. Be sure to talk to a representative at your local nursery to determine whether or not your tree of choice will mesh well with the other foliage in your yard. When in doubt, keep all trees and larger hedges at least 20 feet away from your home’s perimeter. You don’t have to try and protect your crawl space on your own. Reach out to one of the professional contractors working in the Greenville, SC, area. These crawl space repair professionals will inspect your crawl space and identify any tree-based or other damage that may compromise the health of your home. They’ll then provide you with a free quote on any repairs you may need. This way, you can start planning to get your life back on track.