To a homeowner, trees provide beauty, shade and privacy from neighbors. To a professional home inspector, however, trees necessitate careful consideration. Oftentimes tree branches overhang a roof, where they can abrade the shingles and possibly damage the siding. Tree branches can interfere with overhead power lines, cable connections and the like.
A tree’s root system more or less mirrors its branches. If there are tree branches overhanging a roof, it’s very possible its roots could damage the foundation. In many cases, we have found tree roots growing in crawl spaces and/or through foundation walls. When this happens, it can be both tricky and expensive to repair.
Tree roots can also wreak havoc on driveways and sidewalks. If there are driveways or sidewalks nearby, trees can cause considerable cracking and lifting, as well as a tripping hazard. And perhaps the most dreaded of all: Tree roots can obstruct sewer lines.
Most homeowners plant trees too close to the house. Trees are generally planted when they are small, and little consideration is given to what grief they might cause at maturity. A good rule of thumb for planting trees is the one-half rule: Whatever height the tree reaches at maturity, plant it one half that distance from the house.