Tree Roots

That lovely old tree in your front or backyard may be the cause of your basement flooding. Roots from trees located near the sewer line often grow through small cracks in the mortar around the tile joint. Once inside the tile, the roots continue to grow and form large masses which create an obstruction in the pipe.

As long as the sewer line is used regularly, the roots usually stop growing at a point which will still permit ordinary usage. Trouble occurs when a large object is flushed down the sewer and lodges against the roots or when there is an exceptionally heavy amount of rainfall and the roots prevent the water from flowing through the sewer as quickly as needed in order to prevent a backup.


This problem may be corrected by the following solutions:

  • Sewer Cleaning - In many cases, periodic rodding is all that is needed to control root growth and reduce the likelihood of sewer backup. Rodding maybe needed as often as every six months or as infrequently as every few years, depending upon how fast the tree roots grow.
  • Copper Sulfate Treatment - Many homeowners have had good results by flushing a small quantity of copper sulfate crystals down the sewer at regular intervals. The copper sulfate reduces the rate of growth without harming the tree. Although this treatment may not eliminate root growth, it often increases the interval between roddings.
  • Sewer Pipe Replacement - The most effective (and most expensive) method of eliminating tree roots is to dig up old sewer pipe where the obstruction is located and replace it with new pipe. The good news is the sewer pipe has joints with an extremely tight seal which virtually eliminates the possibility of tree roots growing into the sewer line in the future.
  • Tile Replacement - In a small number of cases, improper installation of sewer pipe or the settling of soil under the pipe may cause the tiles to break or separate. In cases where broken or separated tiles are the cause of basement flooding, the only choice is to dig up the affected section of pipe and make the necessary repairs.