Ivy McGyver
February 22, 2014 1:56 PM   Subscribe

How the hell do I get this dead ivy off my house?

So, we stupidly killed the ivy before tearing it off the house first. (Yes, we are a living, breathing example of how not to own a home.)

I think we thought that killing it would make it easier to tear down, because it's dead, but now the vines are totally desiccated and are too fragile to support the tension needed to separate the vines from the house.

I've picked off what I could, but picking it off a centimeter at a time is just... no. There has to be a better way. I was thinking of using a scraper of some sort, but I'd like to preserve the paint as best I can. Also, it's a pretty big area, and pretty far off the ground.

Any other ideas?
posted by thinkingwoman to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Rent a pressure washer from your local mega home improvement store.

Or get a big ladder, a brush and some soapy water and start scrubbing.
posted by carsonb at 2:11 PM on February 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Is this a brick house? I'd be worried that the ivy has worked its way into the mortar and caused lots of little fissures. Tuckpointers hate ivy. Pressure washing might increase the damage in this case.
posted by JoeZydeco at 2:17 PM on February 22, 2014

One time when I was working construction/home remodeling the entire crew went to a house to use scrapers to remove the dead ivy from a house. We didn't finish in one day.

I have no better thoughts on removing this aside from hiring people to do it for you.
posted by efalk at 2:33 PM on February 22, 2014

The home I grew up in had ivy originating from a main stem on one of the backyard walls. My parents were able to get rid of the ivy when it was destroyed.
posted by brujita at 2:44 PM on February 22, 2014

This Old House did a segment on this awhile ago:


They're working w/ live vines but they use a palm sander to remove the remaining roots. I think a combination scaper/sander would be maybe the only option. You're probably looking at another coat of paint.
posted by pilibeen at 4:13 PM on February 22, 2014

I was thinking of using a scraper of some sort, but I'd like to preserve the paint as best I can.

Why? You're almost certainly going to have to completely repaint once you've removed the ivy, anyway. It's not going to leave the paint in any presentable state (I've removed both living and dead ivy from painted walls, and the root pattern is very persistent). You might even need to re-render the walls.

It was a false economy of labour that got you here in the first place. Get the ivy off efficiently, but without needless damage, make a realistic assessment of what damage has been done, and then fix it. It you can't do this yourself, you need to pay a professional. Letting your house fall into disrepair is a way of wasting money, not saving it.
posted by howfar at 1:12 AM on February 23, 2014

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