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Can Trees Damage Your Crawl Space?

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

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As a homeowner, you want to do what you can to protect your home. This includes your crawl space. The more steps you take to prevent crawl space damage, the more likely it is that you can retain your home’s value over time. 

That said, protecting your crawl space can feel like a challenge if you’re not sure what to expect. Tree roots, for example, pose more of a threat to your home’s crawl space than you may think. While tree roots don’t work maliciously against your home, they can cause the soil beneath and around your crawl space to shift as a tree grows taller. In doing so, they can destabilize your crawl space and allow more hydrostatic pressure to build up outside of your home. 

tree damage on crawl spaces

Keeping Tree Roots Away from Your Foundation 

Hydrostatic pressure and invasive tree roots can make it seem as though protecting – or even reclaiming – your crawl space is an impossible task. If you want to improve your overall quality of life or even just restore the value of a home, you must rise to the challenge. 

Luckily, you don’t have to try and do so on your own. When you work with the professionals in your area, you can take the necessary steps to protect your home. These can include: 

Planning Your Landscaping with Care 

As you’re bringing together your ideal yard, you may find yourself interested in trees that can put your crawl space’s health at risk. These trees aren’t going to work against your home with malicious intent. Instead, their roots can grow at a rate that can compromise your crawl space’s structural integrity much more rapidly than other trees, even those of similar species. 

It’s with that potential in mind that you may want to communicate your landscaping ambitions with the professionals in your area. A representative from your local nursery, for example, can help you determine what trees and plants will best suit your yard without putting your crawl space at risk. 

If you do want to make a point of crafting your landscaping plan from the ground up, you can still make a point of avoiding those trees with invasive roots, including:  

  • 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  

Transplanting Trees That Are Too Close to Your Home 

If you’re moving into a home with landscaping that has already been established, don’t worry. You can still work to reclaim your yard and protect your crawl space from invasive root systems. 

Even if the trees in your yard aren’t of a particularly invasive species, they can still cause problems for your crawl space if they have been planted too close to your home. If at all possible, you will want to try and keep all trees at least 20 feet away from your home. You can transplant trees that are too close to your home or have them removed entirely. 

Tree transplants, compared to overall removals, are difficult. However, they allow you to retain the beauty of a tree’s growth while also protecting your home. If you do choose to transplant a tree to another location in your yard, you’ll want to first work with professionals to ease the process. After you have finished, you should consider using diluted root killer on the roots you may have failed to remove so as to keep those roots from sprouting saplings later down the line. 

Waterproofing Your Crawl Space 

Finally, it is never a bad idea to waterproof your crawl space. While some of the most effective waterproofing measures – including interior drains, sump pumps, and vapor barriers for crawl space encapsulation – won’t drive roots away from the space, they can help prevent water damage. In doing so, these tools can help you retain your home’s overall value while keeping your crawl space usable for other purposes. 

If you want to explore what waterproofing solutions may best suit your crawl space, you can reach out to the contractors serving the Indianapolis, IN, area. With the help of an expert from Indiana Foundation Service, you can inspect your home for damage and for weak points that may let excess moisture into your home. Then, with a free quote on potentially necessary services in hand, you can determine what repairs or installations may help you protect your home.