Home>Discussions>YARD & GARDEN>Decks, Patios, & Porches>patio deck being destroyed by tree roots
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manuel
patio deck being destroyed by tree roots
manuel

I live in Southern California and my small backyard is mostly paved with saltillo tiles ( except for the driveway to the Garage). There is a large and growing tree whose roots are lifting up the patio and cracking it badly over time.
The tree is beautiful and cast much needed shade so I want to save it and hopefully repair the patio and underlying concrete slab about 3 inches thick. My gardener believes he can cut the large root and remove it from under the deck without killing the tree. Then replace the damaged tiles and slab before more damage is done.
The house is on a slab and the deck goes right up to the back patio doors so a raised deck is not an option.
The gardener is not a tree expert but he does say that to guarantee no future problems, I have to take the tree out.
Then I could plant another shade tree whose roots go down instead of out. The cost of removing the tree alone is about $600.00 and the repair of the deck another $ 1,500.00 more or less.
I would prefer to keep the tree and wonder what other options there are to the deck besides grass ( not an option due to the drought).
thanks!

dj1
Re: patio deck being destroyed by tree roots
dj1

If you want to have the tree (I know why), you have to live with the consequences.

So what are the options?

- Do as your gardener suggests, let him remove that one root and take a chance that the tree survives.

- Don't do anything to the tree, remove the slab, pour a new one and hope to get a few good years.

- Build a new deck on posts, beams and joists - with the same height finished grade as the old deck.

The third option will be the costliest.

A. Spruce
Re: patio deck being destroyed by tree roots
A. Spruce

You have to be careful about cutting tree roots, any root large enough to lift and break a slab is going to be a major root, cutting it can weaken or kill the tree, and it will certainly weaken the tree's ability to stay upright in a storm. As long as this is not an invasive tree, then I'd go with DJ's suggestion of an elevated deck, which actually is possible, even though your house is on slab. You create a small space outside the door at ground level, then you build your deck that you step up onto. This will save the tree and prevent further damage to your patio, assuming that the deck footings are kept away from large roots.

If the tree is invasive, or even if it's too close to the house, and that offending root is headed for the house, it can also split your house foundation and slab, so you will have to decide which is more important, your house or the tree.

Fencepost
Re: patio deck being destroyed by tree roots
Fencepost

A raised deck that you step up onto is the only solution I see that will avoid damaging the tree.

If your two options are cut the root or cut down the tree, go ahead and cut the root. Worst case, in a couple of years you'd have to cut the tree down anyway.

After cutting the root, or if you replace the tree, dig a narrow trench a couple of feet deep at the edge of the patio. Install root barrier panels. This will force future roots downward instead of outward.

Example product: http://www.ndspro.com/overview-root-barriers/

Whatever you use as a root barrier must be completely sealed. Roots will find their way through any holes in the material.

manuel
Re: patio deck being destroyed by tree roots
manuel
dj1 wrote:

If you want to have the tree (I know why), you have to live with the consequences.

So what are the options?

- Do as your gardener suggests, let him remove that one root and take a chance that the tree survives.

- Don't do anything to the tree, remove the slab, pour a new one and hope to get a few good years.

- Build a new deck on posts, beams and joists - with the same height finished grade as the old deck.

The third option will be the costliest.

Thanks for the suggestions. I have a lot to consider. The new deck has to be higher than the existing for drainage when and if it ever rains.

manuel
Re: patio deck being destroyed by tree roots
manuel
A. Spruce wrote:

You have to be careful about cutting tree roots, any root large enough to lift and break a slab is going to be a major root, cutting it can weaken or kill the tree, and it will certainly weaken the tree's ability to stay upright in a storm. As long as this is not an invasive tree, then I'd go with DJ's suggestion of an elevated deck, which actually is possible, even though your house is on slab. You create a small space outside the door at ground level, then you build your deck that you step up onto. This will save the tree and prevent further damage to your patio, assuming that the deck footings are kept away from large roots.

If the tree is invasive, or even if it's too close to the house, and that offending root is headed for the house, it can also split your house foundation and slab, so you will have to decide which is more important, your house or the tree.

Thanks for your ideas. I will consult with a landscape architect or designer who may know more about the tree.

manuel
Re: patio deck being destroyed by tree roots
manuel
Fencepost wrote:

A raised deck that you step up onto is the only solution I see that will avoid damaging the tree.

If your two options are cut the root or cut down the tree, go ahead and cut the root. Worst case, in a couple of years you'd have to cut the tree down anyway.

After cutting the root, or if you replace the tree, dig a narrow trench a couple of feet deep at the edge of the patio. Install root barrier panels. This will force future roots downward instead of outward.

Example product: http://www.ndspro.com/overview-root-barriers/

Whatever you use as a root barrier must be completely sealed. Roots will find their way through any holes in the material.

Thank you for your advice. I have learned a lot from everyone who replied. Wish me luck!

ed21
Re: patio deck being destroyed by tree roots
ed21

A better bet would be to consult an arborist about cutting roots.

manuel
Re: patio deck being destroyed by tree roots
manuel
ed21 wrote:

A better bet would be to consult an arborist about cutting roots.

I have a company coming out Thursday who have an arbourist on staff. Thanks

Re: patio deck being destroyed by tree roots

Oh so sad. I suggest you to hire professional architecture for repairing this.

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