Heavy growth from climbers such as ivy or wild wine can lead to damage to the paint layer or even to cracks and detachments of the plaster on facades. While the sticky roots of the wild wine can usually be easily removed, the sticky roots of ivy actively penetrate into the facade color. Water can enter the resulting cracks and attack the plaster. This is how to remove ivy vines from a wall easily.
As the growth progresses, the roots thicken and cause the brick or plaster to burst in the medium term. And with the danger that the shoots can grow into the roof or attack the insulation, it is time to act as soon as possible.
After the relatively effortless removal of the larger shoots, you will find that the remains of the sticky roots are not only unsightly, but also extraordinarily stubborn to remove.
Remove ivy vines from a wall easily: the steps
The rougher the facade, the more difficult it is to remove the adhesive roots. If brushing, grinding and the use of the high-pressure cleaner do not achieve the desired success, specialist companies offer treatment with dry ice or flaming – including necessary safety precautions.
Before the new facade painting, it is important to check the surface for its texture. This result will determine how you prepare the surface for the paint. This is because it is important to select the appropriate primer and facade colour to match the composition of the plaster.
1. Cut branches and roots
In order to prevent the climbing plants from re-growing later on and to climb the newly renovated facade again next year, it is important to remove the roots completely. To do this, cut the branches at the foot of the facade. Dig the roots out of the ground and eliminate the entire root system as much as possible.
The above-ground branches you should allow to dry on the facade for three to four weeks. After that, you can remove them from the facade better and more gently.
2. Loosen remaining growth from the wall
To remove the trunks and branches of the climbing plants from the plaster, you can pull them away by hand. However, if you notice that the paint or plaster is detached from the wall, take a different view. Then gradually remove the shoots from the wall with a spatula or a sharp knife.
Remove the remaining clinging roots or feet in the next step (see list). But if the plaster is loose and loosens flat, there is nothing left but to knock it off the wall.
3. Remove ivy vines from a wall easily: the final methods
Which method is best suited in your individual case to replace sticky plant residues depends on the nature of the facade and the size of the area.
- Soaking the adhesions: With water, the adhesive roots become soft. After that, it is easier to remove them from the facade with a brush, grinding attachment or high-pressure cleaner. Vinegar or hydrochloric acid work even better than water. Using them in large quantities is not environmentally friendly and only recommended on a point-by-point basis! Mineral substrates should not be treated in this way anyway, as the acid dissolves them and attacks them.
- Machine grinding: With a wire brush attachment for a drill or for an angle grinder, the plant residues can also be removed on coarse, uneven plaster. This method usually works well and is cheap, but labor intensive and therefore tedious. Therefore, it is more suitable for smaller areas. Tip: During grinding, the house plaster is also sanded and fine dust is stirred up. So you should definitely wear mouthguards and goggles when working.
- Wire or root brush: Manual work with a wire or root brush is recommended because of the high effort where either particularly gentle work is required in order not to damage the facade, or when smaller areas are reworked should be used.
- High-pressure cleaner: With a high-pressure cleaner, you can remove soaked residues on the facade in a time-saving way even on larger surfaces. Wear goggles when working! Do not set the pressure too high to not damage the facade unnecessarily. It is best to test in a small place. If residues remain, rework these areas with a brush.
- Gas burners: Even by burning with a propane gas burner, larger areas can be efficiently processed. The flame-burning works best on lime plaster. After burning, remove the remaining remains with a wire brush. Caution: This method is not suitable for walls with external insulation. The flame of the burner can damage the insulation. When working with the flame there is a risk of fire. Provide extinguishing agents!
- Dry ice: Time-saving and gentle method, but only feasible by professional companies and therefore expensive. The facade is not damaged by steel brushes, heat or high water pressure.
Repainting the facade: colour and primer
To be able to renovate the existing surface correctly, you have to choose a suitable new paint and primer.
- Silicone resin paint, for example, offers a high rain protection and an equally high diffusion openness. It is well suited for plaster, old paint, natural stone and brick as well as for thermally insulated facades.
- Silicate paint, on the other hand, is mainly used on mineral and porous substrates, clinker, bricks or fibre cement. Unlike dispersion paint, it forms an insoluble connection with the mineral substrate. It is highly alkaline, therefore brush with caution!
- Polymeric resin paint does not contain water as a solvent, but acrylic resins. It adheres very strongly to substrates such as plastering, brick walls or concrete and solidifies them.
For each facade colour system, there is a primer adapted to the properties of the substrate: for example, acrylic or silicate primer. It binds dust, reduces the absorbency of the substrate and thus makes the later coating adhere better.
If you could not remove the stick roots or feet completely, coat the wall with sealing and insulating ground. This prevents later bleeding after the repainting.
Gerhardt Richter is a writer and a trainer at trade technical colleges, specializing in carpentry, plumbing, mechanics and construction.