Your foundation and thirsty trees are a bad mix. A mature oak, for instance, can soak up to 50 gallons of water per day. As trees soak up all that moisture from the soil, your foundation starts moving. That movement, called settlement, stresses out your foundation which leads to expensive repair. Stop trees from damaging your foundation by installing root barriers.
How root barriers work
As a tree grows, the more moisture it needs to survive. As soils dry out and the clay shrinks, you foundation moves with it. The idea behind a root barrier is to prevent the tree from stealing moisture, or robbing the moisture from underneath the foundation.
Root barriers are put into trenches about 36-inches deep. The polyethylene barrier prevents tree roots form growing toward and under the house.
When not to use a root barrier
You wouldn’t put a root barrier on a home where the tree is older than the house. That’s because the soil in the area where the home was built is accustomed to that tree drawing moisture out. If root barrier is installed, soils will accumulate moisture and swell higher and actually lift the house.