"Understanding Your Home" by Building Inspector Mark Visser
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Vines on siding

Tendrils on stucco


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Vines on Masonry Walls
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Vines on masonry walls. Vine removal.

Vines is a group name for climbing plants that supports itself by climbing or creeping along a surface. The vine that does the most damage is English Ivy. It will attach itself to any surface be it brick, stone, aluminum soffits, vinyl siding, windows and roof shingles. Unchecked, English Ivy, Boston Ivy, Virginia Creeper and others will completely cover entire walls, chimneys and even roofs.
Vines on a masonry wall can trap moisture close to the brick and provide a hiding place for unwanted insects. The suction roots, also known as tendrils, can over time damage the mortar joints. Vines also will creep between siding panels and underneath asphalt shingles causing more damage. It may look pretty in the summer but removal is strongly recommended. Complete removal of the tendrils is difficult if not impossible.
Vine removal. Vines should be removed when the plant is still alive. It can be pulled off the wall in large sections. Once the job is finished the stem or stems can be cut at ground level. Don't cut the stem first and let the plant die because you will end up pulling off the plant a few inches at a time!!
After the vine has been removed the wall will be dotted with the suction roots. They will be quite visible on light coloured siding and soffits but less noticeable on masonry walls.
Vines can damage masonry walls. The tendril's roots will attached themselves easily to loose or crumbling mortar joints especially on older (pre 1900s) buildings.





Vines on masonry wall, chimney,
soffit, fascia, shingles



Mortar joints that have had moisture in them will be further damaged by freeze-thaw actions in northern climates. Should you decide to pull off the vines you may also remove part of the old or crumbling mortar joints. If this happens joints should be made good as soon as possible to prevent further freeze-thaw damage.