Can Tree Roots Cause Drywall Cracks?

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Published: February 13, 2018 Last Updated: February 10, 2020

  The Answer Is YES

One of the most common reasons that cracks develop in drywall ceilings and walls is due to movement of the structure. Movement that occurs because the foundation shifts or moves because of tree roots.

Tree transpiration and foundations


The stress put on drywall from this movement is tremendous and can cause a concrete foundation to crack, so it is easy to understand why it can cause drywall to crack.

When structural engineers observe cracks in a home’s drywall, one of the first things that comes to their mind is has the foundation moved or is it damaged.

What causes a foundation to move?

There are many reason for a home’s foundation to move and one of the top five is subsidence which is a little like settlement. Subsidence is usually caused when tree roots near or under a foundation draws moisture from the soil through a process called transpiration.

As the moisture in soil particles is withdrawn by the tree roots, they shrink; the soil consolidates and drops down.

Bottom line


  • Tree roots draw moisture out of the soil under the foundation

  • This causes the soil particles to become smaller or shrink

  • Thus, the foundation shifts or drops down a little

  • This movement then causes cracks in the drywall


So yes, trees can cause drywall to crack.

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