tree roots in drains

How to Deal With Tree Roots in a Drain

Tree root damage in drains doesn’t get the same kind of attention as fatbergs, or blocked sinks, but it’s one of the biggest reasons why blockages occur. Tree roots don’t actually cause cracks in pipes, rather they’re attracted by moisture escaping from existing leaks. Once a root enters and widens these cracks, the environment is perfect for rapid growth around and inside the pipe. Before too long it can start to create significant damage for a drainage system.

Preventive Steps to Avoid Tree Root Ingress

The risks associated with tree root ingress are unpleasant and costly, which is why it makes sense to take steps to avoid the problem where possible. The Drainflow team would suggest:

  • Homebuyers’ Pre-Purchase Drain Survey. Most surveyors will recommend a drain inspection if they are in danger of root ingress. This allows for preventive repairs to take place, if necessary, coupled with the removal of roots that could pose a danger.
  • Plan Your Planting. When planting trees with vigorous root growth, keep them well away from your drainage systems. We would recommend particular care when planting poplar, maple, willow, plane, oaks or beeches.
  • Invest in a CCTV Survey. Many of our clients are managing risks caused by a legacy planting in their garden. This is perfectly manageable so long as there’s regular maintenance in place. A CCTV survey will traverse your pipework and send back a real-time report on the state of your pipes.
  • Regular Water Jetting. High pressure water jetting will keep pipe systems clear of silt, and flush out water pooling. This eradicates some of the conditions that can prove attractive to nearby roots.

Repairing Root Damaged Drains

If your drains have been damaged by tree roots, the Drainflow team will start by finding out what kind of damage has been caused. A CCTV survey will allow us to see whether there has been significant displacement to the system joints. If this is the case, we would normally need to excavate in order to make repairs. Where the joints are still intact, we would root cut the system and, where possible, use a structural liner to make good the pipework.

Solutions and Maintenance for Drain Blockages

Managing the effects of a drain blockage is unpleasant, and can cause a good deal of anxiety for households or businesses. That’s why the Drainflow team always respond promptly to enquiries of this nature. Our drain specialists will diagnose the problem, and make immediate repairs where possible. The vast majority of drain clearance services from Drainflow don’t require excavation.

Many of our clients invest in regular maintenance of their drain systems. These are carefully tailored to their needs, and are designed to minimise the risk of drain blockage. We recommend regular CCTV surveys, and water jetting to keep your drains in good condition. Where we detect fractures or corrosion, we can catch the problem early before major repairs become necessary.


How to deal with tree roots in a drain. Drainflow is a drain clearance specialist with experience in detecting and repairing root damaged pipework. Call us on 01525 718500