Trees planted around a home give a house curb appeal and make the property “homey”.  I personally love a tree lined street like the one I live on in Chicago’s North Shore.  I also understand that there is a price to having those big trees close around my home.  There are positives and negatives in all items of a home.  This is exactly what I informed my clients that hired me to do a home inspection in Buffalo Grove, Illinois on a vintage tree lined home with tons of curb appeal.

Lets talk about the positives first because they are self-evident.

  •   Trees deliver curb appeal that make people want the home that you own.
  •  Trees deliver shade in the summer and they supply wind breaks in areas that do not have properties close by.
  • Aid in helping the topsoil from eroding around the property.

The negatives to having trees around your home goes hand in hand with these type of trees primarily:

  • Willow
  • Silver Maple 
  • Ash 
  • Box Elder 
  • Sweetgum 
  • Poplar 
  • Sycamore 

All of these trees when grown to full capacity and within 50 feet of a homes foundation, water supply, and or sewer waste system need to be monitored.  Why?  All of these type of trees are known to seek out water from weak areas of a water supply system and waste water system.  When homes have been left for long periods of time havoc can be done on a sewer system by the roots of these trees.  The home inspection in Buffalo Grove had Willow trees around the home.   Luckily, for the owners of this home there wasn’t any evidence of sewer damage.

Sewer waste systems, french drains, septic fields and water supply systems can be compromised by these trees.  Tree roots find areas that are weak and access the area where water is active to feed.  If this happens to your property, you have a couple options to eliminate the problem.

  1. Rod the sewer ~ The sewer may need to be roded and inspected with a sewer camera to decide how much damage has been done to the waste system by the roots of these trees.
  2. Replace all or part of the sewer main ~ If you find through a sewer inspection camera that your sewer system has areas that are cracked or a collapsing due to the roots gaining entry you might have to either dig up the sewer and replace it or install a sewer liner.
  • Replacement of sewers can be done, but are costly and timely and can be very messy.  Sewer repair prices start at $2000.00.  You can see  more repair  prices at sewer repair prices.
  • Sewer lining can be done for up to 50% cheaper than replacing sewer lines. Lining of a sewer can be done generally in a day. There is only 1 hole dug for the installation of the liner.  The hole is dug at the city side of the sewer main and then pulled through into the main of the home.

Homes with trees close to the foundation are suggested to have chemicals installed into the sewer on a regular basis to prevent possible damages and costly repairs.  As you probably know, I’m a licensed plumber and always used  copper chloride as a root killer after a roding of a sewer.  This is not good for return calls for plumbers, but it makes for a happy customer.

So if your buying a new home or already own your dream home and aren’t sure what your looking for you  are more than welcome to contact me at The Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and be safe.

Jim Kolke

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