Robert Lamoureux | Help fending off the Attack of the Roots

Robert Lamoureux
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Question: I read your articles every weekend. I have a question: My home was built in 1960 with slab floors and cast-iron sewer pipe. It appears I have root problems. Do you recommend pipe liner spraying or another type of fix? What prevents the roots from penetrating the liner? Do you have a recommendation on a plumber?  

Thanks, Red. 

Answer: Red, thank you for being a loyal Signal reader. If you are only having a root issue, I’d just have a plumber come out and try to snake them out — if the root isn’t too large and aggressive, it should work well. If the line is leaking, then you could go to a Line Ex system. The Line Ex will coat the pipe with an epoxy.  

The only way to prevent roots from getting into this pipe (or any other), is to remove the trees that are the source. Any other trees in the vicinity should be removed also, to prevent further penetrations. There should never be large trees or trees/bushes with aggressive roots anywhere near water or sewer pipes, for this very reason. When choosing new landscaping, always research the mature size and the type of roots before buying.  

Often the sight of a small tree or bush looks inviting to have in your yard, but ultimately, as they thrive and grow, they can become your worst nightmare. Best of luck. 

Robert Lamoureux has more than 40 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected]   

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