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Photo of a cottage with ivy growing on it

Will ivy growing on the outside of a home cause any side effects?

Q: I love the look of ivy crawling up the wall like an old English castle, but I’m told this is bad for the home?

A: Unfortunately, this is highly destructive to the home. If you’ve ever tried pulling ivy off a home, fence or tree, you know it has a firm grip. Fine hair-like roots grow into small cracks and crevices and then grow and expand and actually grow ‘into’ the wall. Even in brick walls it will degrade and loosen mortar between bricks and you may experience mortar damage when pulling ivy off the home. If the home has wood siding, you will additionally have issue with moisture being trapped under the greenery. This will expedite wood rot and decay, and give pests easy access.

Nice as it looks, ivy growing up the home is going to significantly increase home maintenance and repair costs.