I have a big Sycamore tree in my front yard and the roots are growing towards the foundation of my house. One of the roots is about a foot from the foundation. My husband is not able to do the work, so I will have to try and cut the roots myself. We can't afford to hire someone to do the work. A Sycamore tree has large roots. I've tried using a hand saw and a hatchet, but it takes a long time. What would be the easiest tools to use to cut the roots? I'm 73 years old, but I'm pretty strong.
If you are comfortable using power tools a Sawz-all also called a reciprocating saw will do the job. You will want a coarse blade with less than 14 teeth per inch. They are available in battery powered models if you don't have an outlet nearby. If you have never used anything like it before ask the salesperson if they can show you how to use it safely. Ask if they have a piece of scrap wood so you can make a cut to see if you are comfortable using it.
If you're not comfortable using power tools, and the roots are not too large (less than about 2 inches). A Ratcheting Lopper should handle the job.
I am a petite Asian elder female, 68 yrs old. I was able to cut a few roots of over 2 inches. I digged a hole deep enough for the hand saw movement, wet the cutting section and kept it at least damp during the cutting work, used the root cutting hand saw that can be folded and adjusted to different angles so that I can cut in different directions around the root, and used a regular hand saw additionally when it is possible
I will echo a previous reply about the sawzall. you can rent one, just don't tell them what for! I own one, and keep a few sacrificial blades JUST for root cutting. You do need to dig around the root enough to get the saw in there, but a sawzall, IMHO, is faster and cheaper then renting a root-witch or a chainsaw.
Use a sawzall or reciprocating saw same thing. You don't even have to dig, it will cut right thru the dirt and root. I use this method all the time by laying a 2x6 on the grond and running the saw through the dirt for many feet on both sides with a 12 inch blade. It sure makes laying electrical conduit or using it with a 2x4 wide for sprinklers systems a breeze. And the dirt comes up in nice cubes.