How to Stop Tree Roots from Cracking the Driveway
LESLIE: Mike in Delaware, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
MIKE: Hi. Yes, I was wondering – I’ve got a maple tree that’s growing right near my concrete driveway. And it’s starting to actually crack the driveway. I like the tree. It provides a nice shade for the house and keeps it cool during the summertime, so I was just wondering if I have any other options besides taking it down.
TOM: Well, do you like the driveway?
MIKE: It’s cracked, so I’d like to repair it. And I guess another question would be: if I do repair it, then how much rebar or how thick should it be in order to prevent a cracking in the future?
TOM: Well, the options would be: take the tree down, which you don’t want to do; replace the driveway with one that can grow with the tree, like stone – like a stone driveway. Now, if you want to try to set up a scenario where it’s driveway versus tree then, yes, you would have to use some sort of reinforced concrete. But eventually, if that tree wants to lift it, it will lift even the reinforced concrete; it’ll lift the entire slab. It just won’t crack it.
Now, it could take many years for that to happen but I think those are your options: get rid of the tree; replace the driveway with something like stone, which is going to give you some room to grow, so to speak, with that tree; or if you do replace the driveway with concrete, you’re going to have to reinforce the heck out of it.
MIKE: Suggestion on the thickness of the concrete? How much?
TOM: Probably about 5 inches minimum – 5 to 6 inches, I would think – and with woven wire mesh throughout the entire thing.
MIKE: Alright. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.