I have recently had the misfortune of removing
about 3 tons of ivy from painted brick walls
on a large home here in Wichita, Kansas.
After trying all ideas, my best results came from
using a flat nosed shovel or, better yet, one of
those long handled, flat bladed, ice choppers.
Get in behind the ivy and scrape along the brick
to loosen it from the brick surface. If it is as
thick and nasty as mine was you may be able to pull
off large squares of it after scrapeing behind it.
I am now at the most impossible stage of the removal
and I am at my wits end to finds a method of
removing all the hairs and tendrils (little suckers)
left on the brick. I have tried a weed eater with
the sharp edged string - no luck, I have tried
power washing with a 2500 psi washer - this method
brings minor results unless you hold the end of
the washer a half inch from the surface (or closer)
and it is a slow brick by brick process - like a 10
foot high by 15 foot long wall may take the best
part of the day. Using a high speed power grinder
with a wire brush attached also work and takes about
as long and makes your forearms feel like Popeye
in 10 minutes - it is exhausting - nearly impossible.
Also have attached a circular wire brush to the end
of the weed eater - a bit lighter and easier to use
but still it would take one to two weeks to do a large
house. Tried straight muriatic acid(same as hydrochloric)
on the little hairs, tendrils, suckers etc, - no effect.
My only recourse is to use a 3500 psi washer and
work for a week or two to get it off - and there is
a few you always miss.
There must be something out there that will dissolve
or soften the remains of removed ivy - but I have yet
to find it. The problem is that the remaining stuff
is slightly soft - it has a small amout of give to
it..... and trying to remove something with a small
amout of give is like trying to shoot a hole through
a bedsheet with a BB gun that is hanging on the
clothesline - the fabric just gives and dissapates the
energy of the BB - if you were to shoot a pane of glass
you would have good results in busting up the glass
because it is brittle. I suspect a sandblaster would
give the same results.... things that are flexible
don't remove well using power washers or sandblasters.
It has been suggested that using a torch and then
scrape off the residue - but this brick
is painted and I want to repaint the brick - if I were
to torch it I would have a badly burned and blackened
nasty surface to contend with - as bad as the ivy.
As Thomas Edison once said in his struggle to perfect
the light bulb " I know 4,000 things that don't work".
So what does work? Please tell me because I badly need
to make a living as a painter and this ivy is driving
me up the wall!!!