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How do you report on roots passing under foundations thru crawlspaces?

I found a six inch diameter root from a tree about eight feet away from the house that passed under the foundation and then ran a good ways thru the crawlspace. I could see no adverse affect on the foundation but can image stuff happening.

How much concern do you give roots big and small in a crawlspace?

What is the recommendation? Remove them? remove the tree? Install a root block/barrier? consult with an arborist?

Chris, Oregon

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although removal might not be an option, I would definitely recommend monitoring it, to ensure it doesn't get worse, and just so the homeowner knows it's there.

I would think a root that size has been there for years, and if there's no damage around it, it probably won't get much bigger.

just my two cents

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Hi,

Well, what WJ says is true. However, it can go the other way too. See this thread from last year and read my comments. By the way, the offending tree was cut down last fall right after that hellatious windstorm we had. He still hasn't replaced the Woodruf cover and it's been like 9 - 10 years now, but that's another story altogether.

https://www.inspectorsjournal.com/forum ... erms=roots

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Read both WJ's & Hausdok's response, and there's the answer.

In odd instances, roots can damage foundations, as in Hausdok's scenario; effect & damage readily visible & apparent.

In most cases, it's the WJ scenario; roots not hurting anything, and if they were, it would be obvious.

There's no hard answer, but I've never in my entire career found tree roots to mess w/a foundation.

I've seen problems from dessicated soil (trees absorb all water in the soil, soil subsides, house settles), but none where the roots were mashing the house.

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I am with the people above. In my experience, I have only seen damage twice. Trees are smart, smarter than the folks that plant them next to foundations. Roots through crawlspaces are quite uncommon here in Mich, so I likely would report them as being present and approx size.

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O.K., O.K. I will get serious. I was looking for an investment and one of the houses I really, really wanted had a large tulip tree on one side that had a root system pushing in the stone foundation. The foundation was at least 12" bowed at the base of the tree. I did not buy. Another person did, they had the tree cut down and when they were "stump grinding" the bow in the foundation decided to give it up. Substantial damage and large cost of repair.

During all the years I inspected I always made note of trees close, root systems close and bows in foundations that were near large trees on the exterior. I don't see how you can not comment to some degree about the potential damage a large tree can cause.

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Thanks to bretheren. I guess I should have searched better. I had only searched the foundation directory before I posted.

I wonder why the roots don't do much harm to crawlspace foundations when you see them mangle walks and driveways? Is it the added resistance due to the weight of the foundation? I have seen tree roots damage shallow block foundations but then just about anything will mess those up if theres no rebar or the cells aren't grouted.

Chris, Oregon

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That's pretty good.

My take is roots aren't really looking for concrete. They want water. Tap roots go down, not sideways through concrete or compacted soil. To a lesser degree, branch roots go sideways, but usually aren't the big foundation mashers.

I think it's isolated instances where, for whatever reason, there's a tree so close that it has no where to go, and it has to push in a stone foundation, or heave a box off it's base to get where it needs to go.

I think those instances are obvious; at base, it's a judgment call.

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