When most people think of ivy-covered houses, images of sprawling English mansions and magical forest cottages spring to mind. In cases where the ivy has had years or even decades to grow, the lush greenery takes root in the bricks and crevices of a house, creeping up the sides to blanket the entire property. Though this picturesque greenery is often brought forth as an attractive selling point when prospective buyers are looking at homes for sale, there are a few considerations to be made before you take the final plunge for a house covered in these clinging vines.
Con: Potentially Weakened Structure
Loose bricks, cracked mortar, and other imperfections can be easily penetrated by climbing ivy. Buyers should be particularly wary of brick houses that were built before 1930, as the lime-based mortar used in the brickwork is not as sturdy as modern mortar. The invading ivy can widen any existing cracks while allowing moisture into the opening made by the vine. While some amount of moisture in a home’s structure is considered normal, dense blankets of ivy can cover a wall and trap moisture inside, which can result in rotten wood and deteriorating masonry. In addition, the leafy covering makes the damage difficult to see, so prospective buyers should be sure to have a thorough inspection done on any homes for sale that are covered with clinging ivy.
Pro: The Greenhouse Effect
According to a recent study done by Oxford University, thick ivy protects the walls of buildings by acting as a thermal shield. Extreme temperatures and fluctuating moisture levels can wreak havoc on the walls of a home, but an ivy covering can insulate the walls from some of these effects while also protecting against damage from pollution. In addition, the study found that ivy acted as something of a thermal blanket: in the winter, it warmed walls by up to 15 percent, and in the summer, it cooled them by an average of 36 percent. For homeowners seeking a cost-effective and literally green residence, homes for sale that are covered in ivy may be the best bet.
Con: Invasive Pests
While the ivy protects your home, it also offers protection for all kinds of invasive pests and insects. Bugs may swarm to the ivy for protection from the elements and from predators, or they may choose the leaves as a food source. Whatever the case, these insects may have the tendency to worm their way into the home through cracked doors and windows at much higher rates than they would on a home not covered in plant life. It is important that prospective homeowners consider the pest control that will be needed to eradicate unwanted guests.
Pro: Low-Maintenance Curb Appeal
At the end of the day, the gorgeous greenery makes ivy-covered homes extremely attractive to look at, and flowering varieties can add an extra, seasonal burst of color. The plant requires no special watering once it has begun to take root, though it may require regular pruning should you want to keep it away from your wood trim or to prevent it from climbing on the roof or other walls.
When maintained properly, ivy-covered homes can be attractive and even cost-effective. However, it’s important to note that extra effort will be needed for pest control, regular structural inspections, and pruning. Weigh the pros and cons to decide whether a verdant green home is right for you.
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Source by Alfred Ardis
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