Tree Roots Cause Drain Pain
While a sprawling tree or landscaped lawn might look stunning above ground, their root systems might be causing serious problems underground. One of the main causes of blocked drains, pipes and sewer systems are tree roots. A blocked or damaged drain or pipe can not only affect drainage on your property, but it can also lead to more serious issues. Blocked drainage systems can lead to overflowing manholes and contribute to subsistence or foundation problems on a property. Getting a drain fixed quickly can help homeowners save money in the long run and avoid even costlier fixes.
What do roots do to drains?
Roots grow close to the surface as they search for nutrients in soil, including water and oxygen. Moisture from drains and pipes are attractive areas for these roots looking for nourishment. The ground around pipes has often been disturbed, making it easier for roots to grow and travel along trenches dug for pipes and drains when compared to undisturbed earth. The ground underneath driveways and patios are also porous and granular, which makes it easier for root systems to thrive underneath hard surfaces. As they grow under a driveway or patio, the pressure roots place under the surface can cause cracks to develop.
There are several points along a drainage system where roots can get in and cause problems. In many cases, roots only enter drains or pipes when they are already damaged or leaking. Over time, cracks and leaks can form from ordinary wear and tear. Extreme weather that might cause strain on drainage systems due to, for example, heavy rainfall, can also cause damage.
A tree root can enter a drain or pipe along joints. Most drainage systems use sand and cement as joints, which offer minimal resistance to growing roots. Even rubber sealed couplings found on newer drainage systems can be compromised. Tree roots can also gain access through fractures or cracks that form on the surface of a pipe, causing them to get larger as the root grows. Regardless of where a root gains access, once in a drainage system a growing root can lead to blockages, leaks and even ruptured or burst pipes.
How to repair drains damaged by roots
Early signs that may indicate you have a problem with roots include cracks on a drive or slowly flowing drains. You may have a serious problem, such as a blockage, if water stops flowing from drains or toilets.
While most root damage is superficial, repairs and other works are often needed if the damage is serious and to prevent additional damage from occurring. Roots will continue to grow and expand, which will cause pressure on pipes. Eventually pipes will break or collapse. There are a wide range of options to deal with damage caused by tree roots, including repairing cracks, clearing blockages or replacing existing drainage systems with ones that are designed to accommodate roots.
Other options include repairing the lining of pipes and drains, and replacing or repairing joints. Pipe relining is often favoured as it is a non-destructive method of repair and requires no excavation making it a quick and cost effective solution. It simply means that a new lining is fitted to the inside if the drain, which binds with the pipe to restore the integrity of the sewer. Although, pipes may need to be replaced when there is severe root intrusion or if piping has been structurally damaged.
Alternative actions include pruning roots and removing problematic trees, shrubs or hedges to minimise growth and the chance of ingress. However, simply removing the roots does not always solve the problem, since the damaged pipe or drain remains and can continue to leak. A damaged pipe is also a welcoming target for root systems of other plants, even if a problematic tree is removed. In addition to causing potential foundation damage, a leaking pipe also means you are not using water efficiently. As a result, repairing a damaged drainage system will result in long-term cost savings.
What kind of drain repair do I need?
A professional drainage company can help you determine the best possible drain repair for your damaged or blocked drainage system. They can also carry out surveys of a property to identify existing or potential problems. A surveyor has the eye and experience to find existing problems with a drainage system, such as cracked or leaking pipes. They can also help identify potential problems that might arise with root systems from trees, shrubs and hedges close to drains and underground pipes. A drainage company can also provide regular drain cleaning services to keep pipes and drains clear.