You might think that the ivy and other greenery that is growing up alongside your chimney looks nice and an added bonus is that it is hiding any blemishes on the bricks. However, did you know that all of the vines and ivy could actually be doing extensive damage to your chimney?
Types of Chimney Climbing Ivy
The two types of ivy that cause the most damage to chimneys are English Ivy and Boston Ivy. They have aerial roots and holdfast discs which allow them to attach easily and quickly. They attach quickly because they secrete a cement type of compound and that is what holds them in place.
How Ivy Grows on the Chimney
Once the ivy attaches to the chimney it can cause damage by working its way into any small cracks or crevices in the chimney. This will cause the bricks and the mortar to become even more damaged than it already was. If you try to just remove the roots from the chimney, you or they will most likely end up pulling the bricks out and this can lead to a chimney collapse.
Any ivy that is left to grow on a chimney is going to make it nearly impossible for a chimney expert to inspect the chimney for damage including cracks, missing pieces, and weakened brick structure. By not finding this damage soon enough, you would be increasing your risk of a chimney fire or chimney collapse.
Home that were built before 1930 are even more vulnerable, because lime based mortar was used on those homes and it is not as strong as the newer mortar. So if you’re in an older home with an older chimney, it’s imperative that you maintain the chimney and have it inspected yearly.
Safely Plant Ivy or other Vines for Your Chimney
If you really want ivy and vines climbing up your chimney, we recommend that you have a full chimney inspection before making a final decision. If a chimney expert states that your chimney is in excellent shape, we then recommend planting climbing vines like clematis or roses that do not attach themselves as well to the chimney. Another option is to use a trellis next to your chimney and grow these climbing vines there. The trellis can then be moved away from the chimney when it needs to be inspected.
Your main goal is to have a chimney that is sturdy, safe and looks nice and this can all be achieved when you work closely with a chimney expert. Give us a call at 610-626-2439 if you’re not sure whether you need to worry about ivy that is already growing on your chimney. One of the CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps here at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service can inspect your chimney to make sure it isn’t being damaged by the vines and that it’s properly serviced each year.