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Are Climbing Vines Harmful to My Chimney?

vines growing on chimney in  richmond vaVines that cover walls can be visually stunning, but are they harmful to chimneys? In most cases, yes, chimneys can be seriously damaged by vines. An exception might be twining vines because rather than clinging to walls, they cling to wires or cords. If you have vines on your chimney that cling to the masonry, the risk of your chimney being damaged is greatly increased.

What Kind of Harm Does Ivy do to Chimneys?

The Structure is Weakened

Over time, the tendrils on ivy that latch onto the wall begin growing into the mortar and bricks. The plants develop very strong roots and literally grow deeper into the masonry materials, as they seek more light and moisture. As time goes on, the vines continue to grow into the structure walls and the chimney is structurally weakened.

Insects Find Access into Your Home

A sound chimney system helps to keep insects out of your home. When ivy begins to grow into the masonry, a pathway is created for such unwelcome pests as termites and carpenter ants. Obviously, termites are a scourge to any home. Carpenter ants don’t eat wood, but they are almost as bad, since they build their nests inside wood.

Leads to Moisture Damage

Because the ivy damages the masonry, moisture can get into the system more easily, which potentially creates huge problems. If there is excess moisture inside a chimney, for example, the moisture causes masonry to expand and contract during freezing and thawing cycles. This causes the brick face to break and pop off. If the problem continues to be neglected, the structure could begin to lean. Eventually, the chimney could collapse.

chesterfield va flue liner damage and chimney repair Causes Damage to the Flue Liner

As ivy plants invade the chimney structure, they can continue to push their way through the flue, causing the liner to break and crack. A fireplace should never be used if there is a crack in the flue liner. One danger it creates is that combustible parts of the home are exposed to extreme heat. This could result in a highly dangerous house fire. Another potentially deadly problem with a damaged flue liner is that toxic gases can enter your home instead of going up the chimney. Among the gases is carbon monoxide, which is known as the “Silent Killer.”  Carbon monoxide is odorless, tasteless, and invisible. If your home isn’t equipped with an operational carbon monoxide detector/ alarm, your family is put at tremendous risk.

Invasive Damage

English ivy is banned in many communities because it is a highly invasive plant. This type of ivy chokes out the nutrient supplies of other plants very quickly, and it is known to cause serious damage to masonry.

Contact Chimney Professionals for Ivy Removal

It is important to get help from chimney professionals, like the certified experts at Chimney Saver Solutions. The chimney damage caused by ivy can be complex. Removing tangles of tendrils that seem to be stuck like glue without harming the chimney is a difficult process.

Chimney damage is a serious matter. If beautiful ivy has grown on your chimney, there is a high likelihood of damage underneath the greenery. Contact Chimney Saver Solutions without delay at 804-440-5000.

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