Fun Facts: Tree roots extend out from the trunk of a tree 1.5 to 2.5 times the height of the tree. The roots on a 50-foot oak tree will extend out 75 to 100 feet!
Trees can badly damage foundations. Trees rarely lift foundations. Trees almost always cause foundations to sink. When expansive clay soils dry out, they shrink. When the soil under your foundation shrinks, the foundation sinks.
Trees use lots of water. A large tree can use 100’s of gallons of water every day. The larger a tree, the more water it uses. As trees suck water out of the soil, they dry the soil. As the soils dry, they shrink.
If you live in Texas and have a concrete floor slab on grade foundation, you do not need to worry about freezes affecting your foundation. If you have a pier and beam foundation, you can have problems.
In most of Texas (that is everywhere but the Panhandle), the ground rarely freezes. When it does stay cold enough to freeze the ground, only the top few inches are affected. Because a concrete floor slab foundation is usually dug one to three feet into the ground, the cold cannot get under the slab. The ground’s natural warmth and heat from the interior of a home protect a slab and the plumbing in the ground under a slab.
Fun Facts: In the US expansive soils cause over $2.3 billion dollars of damage every year
When water stands on the ground next to your foundation it can saturate the soils. This causes the soils to expand. Expanding soils can lift your home, possible many inches. Foundation Drainage is the key to keeping the soils around your home from getting saturated. Usually, if the water within 10 feet of your home drains away within an hour of rain stopping, your drainage is good. 99% of the time when a foundation moves it is because the soil under the foundation moved. 90% of the time the soil moves because the water content of the soil changes. Consequently, most foundation movement can be controlled by controlling the water in the ground. Proper foundation drainage is the best prevention from requiring foundation repair.
The easiest way to drain the soils around your home is to grade (shape) the surface so the ground slopes away from your home, dropping at least 2 inches in every 10 feet. (Engineers often recommend slopes of 1 to 2 inches per foot for 5 feet. Unfortunately, many lots are so flat that such slopes are not possible.)