Most homeowners know that having a large tree too close to the house can be bad on several different fronts. But what are the ramifications of felling one with respect to the foundation? Adam explains how felling trees around a house can affect the foundations of nearby homes.
Narrator: The topic of today's podcast: How can cutting trees down around the house affect its foundation? So Adam, I think most homeowners know that having a large tree too close to the house can be bad on several different fronts. What are the ramifications of cutting one down with respect to the foundation?
Adam: Yeah. So obviously, if you think about having a tree too close to the house, you’ll think that the root structure is going to be there, you can have overhang over your roof, and these are all real reasons to not have your trees that close to your house. The biggest issue that we have recently is when people are doing tree work and the ground is frozen. In this area, it's very common to have white pines and white pines are somewhere between 80 to 100 ft. tall, sometimes they can get taller with a 30 in. diameter base. Now, these trees themselves can weigh upwards of 20,000 lbs. from top to bottom. But what happens when these trees are cut? They can actually cause issues with the foundation. We had a case in Acton, Massachusetts just the other day where the neighbor was getting some tree work done and they were felling some of these large 100 ft. pines, and the way this particular arborist works is they limbed the entire tree and then they would cut off about 15-20 ft. sections of the main trunk. And those 15-20 ft. sections can weigh between 3 and 5,000 lbs. a piece. And when they're cutting them, they basically will drop them to the ground and then they'll allow that last tall section to kind of just fall over and hit the ground. Now, obviously, that was very safely done, they're all insured, everything was done properly and there were no bad arbor techniques being used here. But when they start doing this in the wintertime, it actually causes a lot of vibration in the soil. And so when this 5,000 pound piece of lumber hits the ground, it doesn't necessarily cause a foundation to crack. But if you had an existing foundation crack there, it can cause it to vibrate slightly. And when this happens, it happens to open up or remove any of the dirt, or debris, or whatever it might be packed in there. And so this particular customer, they knew they had a foundation crack, they had it there for 25 years, it never leaked at all. They had the tree work done, nothing to concern, no issues other than a couple of big booms and a little bit of rattles when the tree was falling over. But the next two days later, we had a big rainstorm and all of a sudden water started coming in. So they had to try to figure out why after 25 years was this all of a sudden happening? And what we found out was while they had all that tree work done, all of that kind of vibration caused it. So we talked about a few times in the past that this happens with blasting. If you have blasting nearby, it can actually cause the bedrock to vibrate quite a bit and cause these issues, sometimes it does crack the foundation. In this case, You have a one time event where it lands and it causes that really close proximity vibration. Not an issue was a structural issue, it was more of just getting that dirt that was stuck in there for 25 years to dislodge and it caused water to come in. Easy fix, we're in and out in less than two hours for warranty repair. But it's just one of those things that you never realize how these auxiliary work around the house can affect our house's foundation. In this case, it did just so slightly, but it was an easy fix and able to have that problem resolved really quick.
Narrator: Thanks Adam, for explaining how felling trees around the house can affect its foundation.
Narrator: If you have a basement water problem and think you need a professional, or, if you’d like more information on foundation crack repair and basement waterproofing topics, please visit A1FoundationCrackRepair.com or call Adam at (866) 929-3171. Or you can email Adam at email@example.com. Thanks for listening and keep that basement dry.