Ivy Roots: Remove Vegetation From The Facade

Self-climbers adhere firmly to facades. Your adhesive roots or feet can attack paint and plaster. Here you can find out how to remove the growth and loosen stubborn residue.

Heavy growth with self-clinging such as ivy or wild vines can damage the paint layer on facades or even cause cracks and peeling of the plaster. While the adhesive feet of the wild wine can usually be removed easily, the adhesive roots of ivy actively penetrate the facade paint. Water can get into the resulting cracks and attack the plaster.

With increasing growth, the roots thicken and in the medium term cause the plaster to flake off. Even if the shoots grow into the roof underlay or attack the insulation, it is time to act.

After the relatively effortless detachment of the larger shoots, you will see that the remains of the adhesive roots are not only ugly, but also extremely stubborn.

Removing adhesive roots from the facade: What are the options?

The rougher the facade, the more difficult it is to remove the adhesive roots. If brushing, sanding and even the use of the high-pressure cleaner do not bring the desired result, specialist companies offer treatment with dry ice or flaming – including the necessary safety precautions.

Before painting the facade again, it is important to check the condition of the substrate. How you prepare the surface for painting depends on this result. Because it is important to choose the right primer and facade color to match the composition of the plaster.

Remove vegetation: cut off branches and roots

So that the climbing plants do not grow back later and want to climb the newly renovated facade again in the coming year, the roots must be completely removed. To do this, cut the branches at the foot of the facade. Dig up the roots from the soil and eliminate the entire root system as best as possible.

Let the above-ground branches on the facade dry out for three to four weeks. You can then remove them from the facade better and more gently.

Detach branches from the wall

To detach the branches and twigs of the climbing plants from the plaster, you can pull them away by hand. But if you find that the paint or plaster comes off the wall with it, proceed differently. Then, using a spatula or a sharp knife, gradually loosen the shoots from the wall.

Remove the remaining roots or feet in the next step (see list). But if the plaster is loose and comes off flat, there is no other option than to knock it off the wall.

Removing sticky roots: Different methods

Which method is most suitable in your individual case to remove adhering plant residues depends on the nature of the facade and the size of the area.

  • Soaking the adhesions: the roots become soft with water. Then you can better remove them from the facade with a brush, sanding attachment or high-pressure cleaner. Acetic or hydrochloric acid work even better than water. Using them in large quantities is, however, not environmentally friendly and only recommended occasionally! Mineral substrates must not be treated in this way anyway, as the acid will dissolve and attack them.
  • Mechanical sanding: With a wire brush attachment for a drill or for an angle grinder, the plant residues can also be removed from 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: When sanding, the house cleaning is sanded and fine dust is whirled up. You should therefore always wear a face mask and protective goggles when working.
  • Wire or root brush: Manual work with a wire or root brush is recommended because of the high effort required where either particularly gentle work is required so as not to damage the facade, or when smaller areas need to be reworked.
  • High-pressure cleaner: With a high-pressure cleaner, you can remove soaked residues on the facade in a time-saving manner, even on larger surfaces. Wear protective goggles when working! You should not set the pressure too high in order not to unnecessarily damage the facade. It is best to first test on a small area. If there is any residue, rework these areas with a brush.
  • Gas burner: You can also work on larger areas efficiently by burning them with a propane gas burner. Flaming works best on lime plaster. After burning, remove the remains with a wire brush. Caution: This method is not suitable for walls with external insulation. The flame from the burner can damage the insulation. There is an actual fire hazard when working with the flame. Provide extinguishing agents!
  • Dry ice: time-saving and gentle method, but only feasible by companies and therefore expensive. The facade is not damaged by steel brushes, heat or high water pressure.

Repainting the facade: paint and primer

In order to properly renovate the existing paintwork, you need to choose a suitable paint and primer.

  • Silicone resin paint offers a high level of protection against rain and an equally high degree of diffusion openness. It is well suited for plaster, old coatings, natural stone and bricks as well as for thermally insulated facades.
  • Silicate paint, on the other hand, is mainly used on mineral and porous substrates, clinker, bricks or fiber cement. Unlike emulsion paint, it forms an indissoluble bond with the mineral substrate. It is strongly alkaline, so paint it with caution!
  • Polymer resin paint does not contain water as a solvent, but acrylic resins. It adheres very strongly to surfaces such as plaster, brick walls or concrete and solidifies them.

For every facade paint system there is a primer tailored to the properties of the substrate: for example acrylic or silicate primer. It binds dust, reduces the absorbency of the substrate and allows the later coating to adhere better.

If you have not been able to remove the roots or feet completely, paint over the wall with barrier and insulating primer. This prevents later bleeding and shining through after the repainting.

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