Why Ivy Is Damaging Your Chimney
By Doug Hetsch
September 8, 2015
You may want to be careful about growing ivy on your masonry chimney, especially if your home was built before 1930. According toToday’s Homeowner, climbing vines can cause devastating damage to the bricks and mortar of the chimney. Before 1930, masons did not mix Portland cement into the mortar they used, and this older mortar is much less durable and can easily deteriorate. Unfortunately, ivy and other climbing vines can speed the deterioration process along by growing into cracks in the masonry materials and making them worse. Of course, All American Chimney Service, LLC understands that some of our customers like the look of ivy growing on their chimneys, and we would like to tell you more about what you can do if you wish to grow climbing vines against your masonry chimney.
How can ivy and other climbing vines damage my chimney?
If there are any cracks or eroded places on your masonry chimney, aggressively growing vines such as English ivy will attach themselves into these spaces. With your chimney covered in ivy, it can be difficult to spot spalling and erosion damage on the exterior. You could have an area of missing bricks and mortar in your chimney and not even know it until the structure collapses. And, if you were to try to pull the ivy away from the chimney to check for damage, you could end up pulling down your chimney.
What should I do if I wish to grow climbing vines on my masonry chimney?
If you love the look of ivy or other vines against your brick chimney, have your chimney inspected by the expert masons at All American Chimney Service, LLC. We will know if the mortar used to build your chimney was made with Portland cement, and we can recommend any repairs that will be necessary to perform before you begin growing vines. These types of vines generally do not damage well-built masonry work, so we can get your masonry chimney in the best condition possible to be able to support ivy and other climbing vines.
Are there certain types of ivy and other climbing vines I should consider?
All American Chimney Service, LLC recommends staying away from aggressive climbing vines like English ivy and planting vines such as Boston ivy and Virginia creeper. which are less likely to cause damage to an older masonry chimney. We also suggest that you consider installing wire, lattice, or trellis around your chimney to support non-attaching climbing vines like jasmine, clematis, roses, and wisteria. These attractive and colorful flowering vines will grow along the support that you installed, and this keeps the vines from possibly growing into the masonry materials. You will also be able to remove the support from the chimney when your chimney needs to be inspected or repaired.
You can trust All American Chimney Service, LLC to help you protect your older masonry chimney.Contactus for all of your fireplace and chimney needs.