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Climbing vines such as ivy or wisteria have been used for years as a way to cover up unsightly exteriors or add a touch of whimsy to a home. While these vines may add curb appeal, they can also cause serious damage to your home’s exterior, especially if they are growing on or around your masonry chimney.
Many homeowners believe that ivy is no different from any plant growing in the garden. Unfortunately, while it can be a charming addition to the exterior of a home, it is can also cause significant damage. Below are three of the most common ways that ivy and climbing vines are bad for chimneys.
1. Ivy causes cracks
Climbing vines such as ivy do not grow vertically on their own; they need a structure to hold onto in order to climb. When this happens on your chimney, the roots and tendrils of the ivy snake their way into the bricks and mortar in order to continue climbing. This can create cracks and holes in the masonry; at the plant continues to grow, so too does the size of the damage.
Even chimney chases covered by siding or shingles can be affected. Just like with masonry, ivy on a chimney chase can also cause cracks and holes to form. Likewise, on these building materials tendrils from climbing vines can cause staining and discoloration that is difficult to remove without damaging the siding itself.
2. Ivy traps moisture
Ivy’s lush, green foliage can create a cover of shade that is difficult for the sun to penetrate. Because of this, water from rain, snow, morning dew, and even sprinklers can become trapped against the masonry. Over time, the combination of water and the holes and cracks created by the ivy’s roots can cause significant cracking and spalling.
In addition to damaging the masonry, trapped moisture can also encourage the growth of mold or mildew. Exterior mold and mildew growth can cause odor both inside and outside your home, as well as affecting your home’s air quality. This can be particularly harmful to those with breathing condition such as asthma or allergies.
3. Ivy invites insects
The same leafy coverage that prevents water from evaporating also provides the perfect home for all kinds of insects. Protection from predators and an abundant food source are just two of the reasons why climbing vines such as ivy can easily become host to insect infestations. Termites in particular have been known to take up residence in ivy; the network of branches, roots, and leaves often give these insects direct access to wood siding or trim around your home.
While ivy might add character or curb appeal to your home, it can also cause significant damage to the exterior. Chimneys, whether they are made of masonry or covered with a chimney chase, are particular susceptible to damage from climbing vines. If your home has ivy growing on the chimney structure, contact Lords Chimney today to learn more about removing the ivy and repairing the damage it may have caused.
Your chimney does more than just decorate your roofline; it protects your entire fireplace system and helps keep you and your family safe. While chimneys are built to last and to withstand the elements, they can deteriorate due to damage, poor construction, or age.
In order to keep your chimney working well and in good condition it is important to be able to spot the signs of masonry damage. By knowing when your chimney is damaged, you can quickly enlist the help of a chimney professional to get it repaired and back in good working condition.
Masonry is one of the strongest building materials available, which is what allows well-built fireplaces and chimneys to stand the test of time. However, even the most well maintained masonry structures need repairs over time. Below are some of the most common causes of masonry damage, as well as what repairs can fix them.
Water: Water and moisture from rain, ice, and snow can be some of the most damaging forces that affect your chimney. Because bricks are naturally porous, they may absorb small amounts of water. As the water absorbed by the bricks freezes, it expands and creates progressively larger and larger cracks and holes. This freeze-thaw can cause significant damage to the masonry in as little as one year, causing bricks to crack, chip, and spall.
In addition to affecting the bricks and mortar of the chimney, water can affect many other parts of your chimney system. The chimney cap and crown are also particularly susceptible to water damage due to their location; many chimney leaks are caused by damaged chimney caps and crowns. Chimney leaks can lead to damage to the flue and firebox, as well as damage to the walls and ceilings surrounding your chimney.
One of the best ways to prevent water damage is by having your masonry waterproofed. The waterproofing process involves coating bricks and mortar with a specially designed chimney sealant. Made for porous bricks, it keeps water out while still allowing gasses to pass through. Waterproofing products can also be applied to chimneys with existing water damage to slow or stop the deterioration process.
Settling: Over time, all homes are prone to settling. Settling can affect many different parts of your home, including your fireplace and chimney. Masonry fireplaces that are not built on proper bases may become damaged due to settling; this often shows up as cracks in the firebox or chimney.
Chimney or fireplace cracks caused by settling can be repaired using the detailed tuckpointing process. Tuckpointing involves the removal of the existing damaged mortar, replacing it with new mortar that matches the color and consistency of the original. This strengthens the masonry and prevents further damage.
Subpar materials: Sometimes, chimney damage can be caused by the wrong materials. If subpar materials were used in the construction of your fireplace or chimney, it may be more prone to damage. Likewise, mistakes made during installation can also affect your fireplace system. This is often seen in fireplaces or chimneys that are built by general contractors rather than skilled masons.
No matter what is causing your masonry damage, it is important to have it repaired as soon as possible. Contact Lords Chimney today to schedule your masonry repair appointment!
A fireplace is a beautiful addition to any home. However, if the masonry has become stained by smoke, ash, or soot, it can affect how you feel about and how often you use your fireplace.
While stained masonry does not affect your fireplace’s performance, it can make a big impact on the aesthetics of your home. A stained fireplace can make a home look dirty and uncared for, no matter how clean the rest of the house is. Likewise, staining on your chimney structure can affect the curb appeal of your home.
In the past, the only option to clean masonry was to paint it or spend days scrubbing with powerful cleaners. However, homeowners can now use the Chimney Saver Paint “N” Peel fireplace cleaner to restore the beauty of their original masonry without the use of harsh chemicals.
If your masonry has been damaged by years of smoke, soot, and ash buildup, you may have been told there were few ways to repair it. Likewise, many traditional methods of cleaning bricks are extremely time intensive or damaging.
Many interior cleaners, even those designed specifically for bricks, must be left on for several days or require extensive scrubbing to work. These products are also often made with harsh chemicals that require you to wear protective masks and may leave your home smelling like chemicals for days or weeks after. For exterior brick, using a power washer is one popular way to clean up dirty chimneys; however, the combination of high pressure with moisture can cause long term water damage to the bricks and mortar of the chimney structure.
Unlike these other products, Paint “N” Peel is easy to use, requires no difficult scrubbing, is environmentally friendly, and has no offensive odors.
Your fireplace professional will apply a thick coat of Paint “N” Peel using specially designed brushes. After the product is applied, it will dry for between 6-12 hours. During this time, there is no need to leave your home or avoid the hearth room; because Paint “N” Peel is environmentally friendly and leaves no odors behind, it will not affect the air quality in your home.
When the Paint “N” Peel has completely dried and cured, it will form a thick, non-hazardous film. This film can then be easily peeled away from the brick, taking with it years of staining from ash, smoke, and soot and leaving behind beautifully restored masonry. Because Paint “N” Peel is designed for both interior and exterior use, it can be applied to fireplaces, chimneys, and a variety of other masonry structures.
Spring is the perfect time to have your fireplace or chimney restored using Paint “N” Peel products. Because it can only be used when the temperature is between 45 and 95 degrees, the mild spring weather is an ideal time to use this product.
If you are ready to restore the finish of your interior or exterior masonry, contact Lord’s Chimney today. We are confident that the Paint “N” Peel chimney system can make the bricks in your home beautiful again!