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Foundation Repair Guide: How To Stop Tree Roots From Damaging Your Foundation

Autumn rains can be a harbinger of things to come with your basement. If you find the water from the rain is suddenly getting into your basement, you'll want to have the problem repaired before the heavier rains and snow melt of springtime causes even more damage to your basement. Tree roots can be the source of sudden damage. Tree roots grow over the warmer seasons and can press against your foundation. The pressure can damage the concrete blocks and mortar in the foundation. Here is how to determine if tree roots are damaging your foundation and how you can install a tree root barrier to prevent further damage.

You Will Need:

  • Shovels (spade and pointed)
  • Pruning Shears
  • Loppers
  • Chainsaw
  • Root Barrier Material

Checking Roots

You have to dig down along the foundation to determine if tree roots pressing against your foundation are causing the damage. Mark the spot on the outside of the house where the damage is located in the basement. Normally, you only have to dig down a couple of feet to get to the roots, but you should be prepared to dig down to the bottom of the foundation if necessary.

Any roots pressing against the foundation have to be cut away from stop house any more damage from happening. Most of the roots can be trimmed with pruning shears and loppers, but you might have to use a chainsaw on thick roots. 

You should put in a tree root barrier while you have the ground opened up along the foundation to cut the tree roots. The barrier will prevent the roots from growing back and pressing against your foundation.

Installing A Tree Root Barrier

You can purchase tree root barriers at landscaping and major hardware stores. A barrier is usually made out of thick plastic that tree roots cannot penetrate.

  • Dig the trench a couple of feet further away from the house to make room for the barrier. As you expand the trench, make sure you also cut the roots back.
  • Make sure the wall closest to the tree is kept perpendicular to the foundation and has a smooth surface. Use a spade shovel to smooth the wall
  • Place the tree root barrier against the wall closest to the tree. Use your shovel to throw a pile of dirt at the bottom of the barrier to keep it in place.
  • Perform any necessary repairs you have to make to the exterior of the foundation, and then fill the trench up with dirt. Just make sure the barrier stays against the wall while you are refilling the trench.

You can now repair any damage to the foundation inside your home. For help with repairs and waterproofing, contact a professional like those at Safe-Guard Waterproofing.