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large trees with massive root system deep underground

Tree roots can cause serious structural damage to your home and plumbing. Often, root systems extend much further than the tree’s immediate surroundings, and they can grow great distances in search of water dripping from a ruptured pipe or a weakened foundation. Here’s what you need to know about how tree roots can damage your property, how to prevent that damage and how to fix it if it occurs.

Types of Problems Caused by Tree Roots

Tree roots can cause two main types of damage to your property: sewer line damage and foundation damage.

  • Sewer line issues. Root infiltration is a common plumbing issue. This happens when a damaged pipe releases water into the soil. The leak doesn’t need to be large. Even a small amount of water is enough for tree roots to seek it out. When they do, they eventually push their way into the pipe, slowly making the crack bigger and eventually blocking the pipe entirely.

  • Foundation issues. Tree roots don’t usually directly damage a home’s foundation, but they can exert powerful pressure on the soil, causing it to shift and compact. Over time, the soil becomes displaced enough that whatever’s on top of it is displaced too, causing foundations to crack or voids to form under them. This leaves your home much more vulnerable to a host of issues, including basement flooding.

Each issue is equally serious. In a worst-case scenario, both problems may occur simultaneously.

Preventing Tree Root Problems

There isn’t much you can do to stop a tree from growing, but planting trees and shrubs that don’t tend to develop aggressive or extensive root systems could reduce the risk of structural damage. Typically, planting them at least 15 metres away from all structures is recommended, but there’s still no guarantee the roots won’t end up causing problems. Many plumbers offer scheduled maintenance contracts, which can be an effective way to prevent problems. Catching leaks early and replacing at-risk pipes will lower the risk of a leak, thus reducing the probability tree roots will seek out your pipes.

Fixing Tree Root Problems

Unfortunately, tree roots can sometimes cause significant damage, even if you’ve taken every precaution. In such cases, a specialist will need to conduct a thorough inspection to find out what’s causing the problem and help you determine the best way to fix it. Pitton Plumbing & Heating Inc. provides inspections as well as blockage removal services. We can also replace any damaged pipes.

Call Us to Find a Certified Plumber in Hamilton

We’re pleased to provide a full range of plumbing services to our clients in Hamilton and throughout Southern Ontario. If you think tree roots may be causing problems on your property, contact us today.


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