Tree Root Growing Beside Foundation

Old 04-21-21, 01:59 PM
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Tree Root Growing Beside Foundation

For several years we had a 50-square foot slab of concrete that had multiple cracks in it - cracks all the way through the slab. When we would get hard rains, we would get water in the downstairs den, just below the area of where these external cracks were in the slab. We assumed we were getting water in the downstairs den because of the cracks in that concrete slab, so we would plug the cracks (as best we could) with some kind of concrete caulking sealant every year or so to try and minimize the amount of water coming in to the downstairs den, and it seemed to help somewhat, but never completely prevented the issue. We've never had the money to have that slab removed and replaced until now. So today, the guys came to start the process. They removed the old slab, but we weren't home at the time. When we got home, we were looking at the area and noticed a huge tree root growing against the side of the house. Now we are wondering (ok, very fearful) that this root has damaged the foundation down below to the point that THAT'S the reason we get water in the downstairs den, and it really had nothing to do with the cracks in the slab. What should we do? What would you do? Is it worth having a "foundation expert" come take a look at this when we already know we don't have the money to pay for any kind of foundation repair, and honestly never will? What do we do then? Foreclose on the house and let it be condemned? I don't know what happens in situations like this. Need guidance. There are 2 pics below, one of the entire slab area and one is a close up of the root. I should also mention, if it matters, that this is coming from our 'silver maple' tree in the front yard, about 25-ish feet away from the side of our house.


Last edited by AngelaSteele; 04-21-21 at 02:02 PM. Reason: adding pertinent info
Old 04-21-21, 03:25 PM
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I'm no expert but I will offer this info. Cut the root out. It may very well kill the tree. But so what. After removing the root you may need to back fill with dirt to take up the loss in volume.

What does the inside of the den basement wall look like? Is it bowed or cracked?

This situation is not as bad as you might think. If you think the wall has been compromised then yes you could call in a service for a quote. But be careful. They want business and may tell you must have it fixed. Unless they or you can see actual damage that may cause a collapse of the wall you don't necessarily need to spend thousands to repair. The best repair is from the outside, but inside repairs can be made. It all depends on the condition of the wall. If it's just water leakage that is a common problem and can be fixed in several ways.
Condemning a house because of a wall leak is a drastic measure and I suspect you're reading too much into it.

More info will be needed from you to determine the extent of possible repair to "fix" the situation. You say it's a den. So I assume it's a finished room. Worse case scenario you might need to tear down the interior wall to correct a water seepage issue. Again it may not be as bad as all that.

You make it sound like you have no funds to make repairs. Maybe a home improvement loan might be a possible alternative. If this your home and you think it might be a long term living quarters then investing in you home and sacrificing in other areas would be wise thing to do. Remember it's your HOME!
Old 04-22-21, 04:55 AM
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I would consider removing the tree entirely. You have one large root visible right at the edge of the house. There are many more that you don't see and as long as the tree lives the roots will continue to grow.
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Old 06-05-21, 04:51 AM
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Start by cutting away the tree root parts within 24 inches of the foundation. Does not matter on whose land the tree trunk is. Do not hesitate every now and then, thinking to and asking yourself, "will this next cut harm the tree?".Excavate down a few inches more below where you made the last cut to get a better idea of whether the foundation got pushed in. If you see more tree roots, cut them too. Also excavate a few inches of undisturbed soil all along the foundation wall to see if there are more tree roots.

If you pour a new slab of concrete, that slab needs to slope away from the house. Do not create a dished bed fllled with gravel or mulch. That will harbor water and increase basement flooding problems.

Sometimes you can see evidence on the driveway surface of roots going underneath. Slice off these roots on the side where the trunk is but you do not have to start at the tree trunk. You might still have to excavate 12 to 24 inches wide next to the driveway to have room to manipulate your tools if the root goes down quite deep.

Last edited by AllanJ; 06-05-21 at 05:13 AM.

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