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How to Keep Trees from Damaging Your Crawl Space

While tree roots won’t attack your home, they can cause the soil near your crawl space to shift, resulting in long-term damage.

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Your crawl space is one of the most sensitive parts of your home. This space has more of a say over your home’s health than many homeowners initially believe. As such, damage to this space can see your home’s value drop while your quality of life suffers. 

Tree roots can cause significant damage to your crawl space, though not in the way you may think. These roots don’t attack your crawl space with sentient malice. Instead, the roots of trees planted too close to your home will grow toward your crawl space in an attempt to find water. In doing so, they can cause the soil beneath and around your crawl space to shift. The structural supports that establish your crawl space can begin to falter or otherwise find themselves exposed to groundwater where they previously weren’t. 

As tree roots grow, they increase the risk that your crawl space may suffer from hydrostatic pressure. It’s that risk that makes planting a tree too close to the perimeter of your home a poor long-term decision. 

crawl space damage

Taking Care of Your Tree Problem 

The good news is that you have a variety of avenues available to you, should you need to deal with a root problem. In collaborating with contractors in the Cincinnati area, you can: 

Avoid Planting Invasive Trees 

If you’re an ambitious landscaper, moving to a new property may feel like a fantastic opportunity to put your skills to the test. As you plan out what you want your yard to look like, know that you’ll want to keep the health of your home in mind. There are some trees that have root systems that can grow at rapid rates. These trees can put your crawl space at risk for substantial damage if they’re planted too close to your home. 

With that potential in mind, talk to a representative at your local nursery as you’re bringing your landscaping plan together. While these professionals can guide you through the shopping process, they can also help you avoid plants and trees with aggressive roots, including those like: 

  • Bradford pears 
  • Weeping willows 
  • Chinese flame trees 
  • Eastern cottonwoods 
  • Ginkgo trees 
  • Southern magnolias 
  • Sweetgum trees 
  • Sycamore trees 
  • White mulberries 
  • Tulip poplars 
  • Mimosa trees 
  • Silver maples 

Transplant Trees That Are Too Close to Your Home 

If you move onto a property where any of the aforementioned trees may already have taken root, don’t fret. You can still work to protect your crawl space. The best way to do so is to remove any trees too close to your home from their locations. 

Relocating trees can be a trying task, especially if these trees have been in their current location for an extended period of time. While it may seem easier to chop down or otherwise kill off some of these larger trees, you can preserve their growth and appeal by moving them throughout your yard. Should you choose to do so, you’ll want to call on the professionals in your area or ambitious family members to help you get the job done. 

Note that you may want to apply diluted root killer to the spot from which a tree has been removed, regardless of how large it may have been. In doing so, you can keep any roots you missed while transplanting the tree from sprouting saplings or otherwise causing you additional problems. 

Waterproof Your Crawl Space 

Of course, it’s never a bad idea to invest in home waterproofing measures. You can waterproof your crawl space and work to prevent the kind of sinkage and water damage that can compromise the overall value of your space. 

To tackle water at its source, you’ll want an interior drainage system and sump pump. The interior drainage system will intercept leaking water and then direct it to a sump pump so it can be safely removed. For a comprehensive system, pair these systems with a dehumidifier, vapor barrier, and insulation. 

When waterproofing a crawl space, you’ll also want to consider the benefits of a full encapsulation. Encapsulations allow you to use vapor barriers to keep water and most gases out. With this sort of barrier in place, you’ll be able to keep your crawl space dry even if tree roots go to work on the soil around your home. 

It’s also a good idea to discuss what kinds of waterproofing insulation may be available to you. You can install foam boards and other materials in your crawl space to limit the space’s overall moisture and lower your bills. 

Not sure where to begin when dealing with crawl space damage caused by tree roots? The foundation and crawl space repair professionals in your area can help find the best place to start. After a crawl space inspection from an expert from Ohio Basement Authority, you can look over a free quote together to determine what repairs or waterproofing measures best suit your crawl space.

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