Why Ivy Is Damaging Your Chimney


Rarely does fantasy live up to the facts associated with reality. One of the strongest fantasy verses reality buzz-kills is associated with picturesque ivy covered stone and brick buildings. From an aesthetic point of view, nothing is more quaint and dignified as ivy covered buildings and fences. However, ask property owners who battle this invasive predatory, albeit beautiful, vine and its beauty becomes insignificant. Chief Chimney Services, Inc. in Long Island know that growing ivy is a wakeup call that structural damage is being done.

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Ivy spreads quickly and homeowners need to have the ivy removed from your chimneys and other stone and brick structures before its roots and vines can work their way into your masonry and be the catalyst for a whole host of problems. Once the ivy is removed it is important to have a thorough inspection done to find and repair any cracks, crevices, and gaps in the masonry caused by the invading green leafy pest. The roots are so invasive and embedded that damage can even be done to masonry and shingles during the ivy removal process.

Your chimney is built from masonry. Masonry is a naturally porous material and holds water. Bricks are held together with mortar that can become damaged over time due to weather exposure, freezing and thawing, age, and pressure. Once masonry starts leaking, water starts seeping in to your chimney, down your fireplace, between your gutters and roof, and along the foundation of your home. Water damage rots wood, erodes masonry and soil, causes mold, and can be a breeding ground for unwanted germs, insects, animals, birds, and rodents. Introduce a robust and resilient vine like ivy that works its way into the nooks and crannies of masonry and the water and vine damage begins a downward spiral of maintenance and repairs.

It is important that during your annual inspection, your CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) certified chimney inspector and technician look for the early signs of ivy growth and remove it before it takes root. Ivy growing on one part of your home or in your trees will quickly invade everything around it.

On the website Ask Metafilter.com readers gave their responses to a potential homeowner who asked about the ivy growing on a house he was interested in purchasing:

  • Ivy is the devil’s plant. I have spent the summer helping my mom removed it from a neglected house she bought. It was choking out and killing BIG trees. Any vegetation growing against a house will hold moisture and decaying matter (against) the building a (drastically) shorten the lifespan of the exterior of the house if not the whole structure.
  • It will destroy chimneys, trim, and woodwork; it will weasel its way into your home through your windows, if you let it; it will vex you by sprouting from every corner of your garden no matter how many sprigs you pull; it will turn neighbor against neighbor. (Truly. Just ask anyone who has lived next to a house with ivy.)

Don’t put yourself and your neighbors through the aggravation of dealing with ivy. Make sure you have a professional immediately eradicate any existing ivy growth and do a complete inspection of your chimney, fire box, and their surrounding area to identify, repair (and prevent any future) damage. There are plenty of ways to improve the curb appeal of your home without ivy…Don’t get tangled in the illusion of its beauty. Be pro-active in your efforts to work closely with a chimney professional to avoid ivy’s potential damage.



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