The Dark Side of Ivy

Home Inspector with The House Whisperer

Chimney Ivy

Ivy can look beautiful on house walls and brick chimneys, if maintained.

The thick, green texture gives your home a woodsy feel. It can provide a canopy over a trellis or pergola.

There is a dark side to ivy, though. As the ivy tendrils (a slender, whiplike or threadlike plant strand specialized to anchor and support vines) dig deep into brick; it can actually grow through the brick and mortar, damaging your home and chimney.

Ivy had fully engulfed this chimney. From the roof, the home inspector could barely make out the spark arrestor/raincap assembly on top; and could not see the brick. It appears the ivy was removed only as high as the gardener could reach with a small ladder before the house was put on the market.

Once the dead ivy is removed, the chimney in this picture may have to be tuck-pointed (repairing or replacing the mortar between bricks) because the ivy may have grown between the bricks damaging and weakening the chimney.

Count on the certified and experienced inspectors at Pacific Coast Inspections to identify this condition and recommend further review by a licensed chimney mason.

Comments (6)

MichelleCherie Carr Crowe .Just Call. 408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

Thanks for the info on The Dark Side of Ivy.

Mar 07, 2012 11:24 AM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Better tell Jay-Z an Beyonce haha!


I kid!


Love and light,


Mar 07, 2012 11:25 AM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Love your blog name as well!

Mar 07, 2012 11:25 AM
Winston Heverly
Winston Realty, Inc. - Atlantis, FL

Yea, I don't know anyone that would let their place go like that, with a potential fire hazard too.

Mar 07, 2012 11:26 AM
Fred Griffin Florida Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

Glenn, I have known about Ivy (or any climber) potentially damaging the mortar and the structure itself.

    With total respect and absolute seriousness, what about historic buildings such as "Ivy League Universities" where they intentionally let the Ivy grow on the buildings?   Do they maintain it, or treat it?  

   I have never given this any thought until I read your Blog!

Mar 07, 2012 11:34 AM
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


I am constantly battling with the English ivy that loves the brick facade on our house.  Every time I pull the ivy away from the brick I lose a little mortar.  But I don't know how to get rid of it without using weed killer and sometimes that only works for a short time.

Mar 07, 2012 12:03 PM