The cool thing about ivy is that it can be trained.
Well, in truth, it can be “let go” so that it covers everything in sight. Ivy League schools are only beginning to see the damage that the “ivy look” can do to their brick structures and are removing it from buildings kicking and screaming because people like the look so much. Some schools would be almost unrecognizable without their ivy.
Regardless of how cool it looks—-Ivy should never be allowed to climb on buildings. I have seen it crawl under clapboard siding and fill up attic spaces where it turns an eerie albino color due to lack of light. I have seen it go through brick chimneys and come out the fireplace opening. Although the ivy is not the “poison” kind, it is usually poison to most structures.
In some cases, as with this chimney, it has gotten to the point where it not only is likely destroying the chimney but it is also likely holding it together—-which only complicates the repair.
When it gets this bad (and this one is actually more picturesque in getting my point across than it is bad) it may be more than a matter of just removing the ivy and fixing the chimney, it may mean that the two have to be removed together to prevent the chimney from falling apart.
Those of you that have been following me for a while will remember Oscar the Grouch who was in fact holding the chimney together to the point that the whole chimney had to be re-built.
Is your house ivy-league—or in a league of its own?
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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