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tree stump right next to foundation


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Hey guys, looking to buy a house and noticed a big tree stump about 2.5 feet diameter, about 2 feet from the crawl space. House is 20 years old so I'm not sure if the tree was there when it was built. Could a big tree growing that close to the foundation of the house have caused some problems with the footings, foundation below ground due to the growing roots? Thanks you!

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A live tree removes an enormous amount of water from the soil in it's vicinity while it's living. Soil elevations drop with reduced moisture content.

Soil elevations go up with the higher moisture content that results when the tree dies or is removed because it's no longer drawing water out.

Either action can cause undue stress upon the foundation, in some cases breaking the reinforcement and leaving the house with a foundation failure.

I've seen some foundation contractors try to isolate such influences between house and tree with moisture barriers that penetrate about 4 feet into the earth between the two of them but I don't know what the track record is on that.

I don't think the roots of even a very large tree will go deep enough to get under the footing unless the footing is uncommonly close to the surface. I've dug out a couple large stumps by hand and the roots tend to either branch out at shallow depths or go straight down (stem roots) deep in to the earth.

Now if this house is elevated on piers then it's much less of a concern because the elevation of the top of the piers is easily adjusted. You just have to check it once in a while. Houses with monolithic linear perimeter foundations are a different story.

Marc

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I don't suppose you could ID the species of tree?

Can you count the rings on the stump?

A tree that close to a 20 yr old home was probably planted there by an ignorant person. Have a home inspector check that area for cracks or uplifting.

Young trees can cause small bumps where their roots approach the surface, but not likely serious damage.

A stump grinder can be used to remove most of the stump.

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