Crumbling mortar, cracks, and loose bricks can be invaded by ivy roots, which can widen existing cracks and allow moisture to penetrate.
The quality of mortar has improved over the years, so the older the building, the greater the risk of weakened mortar. Structures built before 1930 need particular caution, as older, lime-based mortar is softer than modern, cement-based mortar.
In addition to the problems ivy can create on a brick building, there are several other types of finishes that should be kept ivy-free:
Wooden surfaces: Ivy can easily work its way between boards, opening the joints and damaging the structure. The roots can also penetrate small weaknesses and cracks in the wood grain, increasing the risk of rot. And, if that’s not enough, ivy can harbor wood destroying insects and other pests.
Siding: Any siding or shakes with seams are vulnerable to penetration by ivy roots, which can cause damage both as the ivy’s growing and when it’s pulled off.
Stucco: The main problem with stucco comes when the ivy is pulled off, because it can pull off paint or even chunks of stucco, and the tiny roots can permanently discolor the surface.
Painted Surfaces: As with stucco, the ivy roots may damage the paint when pulled off.
Unsound Structures: Ivy is very heavy, and it can pull down weakened or improperly-built structures.
For these reasons, we suggest that all ivy and climbing plants remain trimmed back, away from exterior walls. Premier clients, ff your building has any plantings climbing up the walls of your buildings, please contact us right away.