Conifer/tree roots blocking my toilet

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Location: Bedfordshire

Conifer/tree roots blocking my toilet

Post by littlewren » Mon May 30, 2011 8:43 pm


I have 5 wide & very high conifers at the side of my house and a large tree in the front garden. My downstairs toilet started blocking up about 2 years ago and I had Dyno Rod out a couple of times through my British Gas drains & plumbing cover and they cleared the blockage and went on their way - they didn't mention anything about tree/conifer roots during this time. Then last week, it blocked up again so out they came again and I assumed they were going to tell me they'd solved the problem again but this time they put a CCTV camera down the drain and showed me a picture (which I couldn't really make out) and which they said were tree roots, either caused by the conifers or the tree. They therefore couldn't do anything and left a form with me to complete & send back to them, allowing them to repair/remove the roots via my insurance and seal them off. (I send Dyno Rod the excess and they clear it with the insurers if it is approved).

I have now sent off the form, but I am wondering where I stand with my insurers regarding removal of the conifers? It can't be proven whether it is the conifers or tree roots that have got into the drain unless they send the roots off for analysis apparently - and this will cost me more. (The excess is already £150). Do insurers pay for removal of conifers if the roots have got into the drains causing problems? If so, should I have tied in the claim with Dyno Rod sorting out the roots in the drain?

Many thanks in advance for your help.


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Re: Conifer/tree roots blocking my toilet

Post by littlewren » Wed Jun 01, 2011 5:14 pm

Anybody please?

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Re: Conifer/tree roots blocking my toilet

Post by FrTed » Fri Jun 03, 2011 5:51 pm

Personally, if the trees were mine and they were causing drain problems I would lop them down.

Lets look at this from the insurance companies perspective:-

You have trees causing damage to your property. The insurance company usually cover the cost of damage, but once the cause is known unless it is rectified they will not cover any further damage. Now this in years to come may cover subsidance of the property (anything to get out paying out thousands of pounds).
The company may pay to have the trees removed, they may suggest that you have them removed and say that tree removal is not covered under the terms of the policy (as it seems to be a drainage policy you have I would suspect it unlikely) - the usual method of lining a drain pipe will prevent further root ingress unless the pipe shifts and the liner cracks - then you start all over again.

But of course, you now have a "known" problem (AKA the trees planted on or near the drain) and unless the problem is rectified any further repairs will likely not be covered under this or any future policy.
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Re: Conifer/tree roots blocking my toilet

Post by muergo » Sat Sep 10, 2011 7:21 am

I think you may have a difficulty in claiming for your neighbours tree roots invading your drain as the roots cannot be said to be powerful enough to break into the pipes or joints unless they were cracked or faulty, even the smallest crack can let them penetrate and they then grow and expand opening the crack more.

It sounds as if you have ceramic glazed pottery pipes, these are prone to cracking by ground movement if they were not bedded properly in the first place.
The cemented joints may also have cracked mortar.

I had a similar problem some years ago and the only solution was to replace that section with PVC sewage pipe (Orange colour) with double gasketted joints.
These pipes tolerate small amounts of movement and the joints are completely root proof.

To avoid having to replace the whole length of the pipe run you can fit adapters to join on to the ceramic pipes at each end, these also have synthetic rubber double gaskets but suggest they are well away from the roots.

Lastly, is this pipe run serving only your house, otherwise any other houses feeding into this sewer will be liable for a proportion of the costs even if it is under your land.

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Re: Conifer/tree roots blocking my toilet

Post by Treeman » Sat Sep 10, 2011 8:05 am

Will the insurers pay for the removal of the conifers?

In my experience, no, they will pay for damage but not the removal of the trees

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