What Are Brick Slips?
A question we get asked by our customers frequently is "What Are Brick Slips", so here is the simple answer.
Brick Slips are sometimes referred to as a brick effect tile however, we believe these to be slightly different. A brick slip is a tile that is either cut from a purpose made brick to usually a 15-20mm thickness to make them workable, sometimes brick slips are purpose made and manufactured using the same process as you would with bricks but just thinner.
Brick Slips can be made from various materials, for example clay, concrete, recycled materials and sometimes porcelain
Brick Effect Tiles on the other hand are usually ceramic or porcelain and start as a manufactured bit of material and then have a brick design printed on them. Some, like in the image below, are brick effect panels that are actually one tile which has been printed to show a particular pattern. This actually makes it much quicker to install and more cost effective.
Are Brick Slips Frost Resistant?
The brick slips we offer are frost resistant and are suitable to be used as an external brick slip. Our bricks slips conform to BS EN 771-1 F2, which means they have been tested and have achieved British Standard Certification.
Whats most important when considering installing brick slips externally is the surface preparation and the correct materials used. We offer the correct fixing adhesive and frost resistant pointing materials for brick slips. Its very important that the correct materials are used as using the wrong materials can significantly decrease the life span of your brick slips, causing them to become weathered or damaged.
Can Brick Slips Be Used As A Fire Surround?
Of Course! Most of our customers use our brick slips to create a fire surround or to tile a chimney breast, so we ensure that our brick slips meet and exceed building standards. Our brick slips are A rated; this means that they are non-combustible and will not catch fire should they be exposed to an open flame.
Are Brick Slips Easy To Install?
Providing you have the correct materials, tools and patience, our brick slips can be installed DIY. However, we would always recommend getting a tiler with experience of brick slips to ensure a professional finish.
The most important thing to consider when installing brick slips is the preparation of the surface that the brick slips will be stuck to.
Below we have some further information on this:
Installing Brick Slips On Plasterboard
One of the most important things to consider when fixing brick slips to plasterboard, is the board used. In general terms, plasterboard can hold up to 20kg per m2 (most brick slips weigh 25kg per m2). If you wish to install these on to a plasterboard wall, our first bit of advice would be to overboard the plasterboard with a product called cement board. This is a cementitious based board which can withstand up to 60kg per m2, it also provides a rigid fix and waterproofing properties.
If your builder has installed purpose used plasterboard to withstand the weight then, we recommend once plastered that the area is primed using an acrylic primer twice to create a tacky surface that will not absorb the water from the adhesive.
Make sure all the boards are fixed properly and that there is no movement; if their is movement then it could result in your newly installed brick slips becoming unattached to the wall.
Installing Brick Slips On Brick Wall
If the brick wall is exposed then its important to first wash the wall to ensure their is no loose debris as the adhesive will fix to this rather then the brick itself, which could result in brick slips becoming damaged. Once all dust and debris is removed from the wall, this can then be primed with an acrylic based primer twice and then tiled. Although, as bricks have a rough and uneven texture, we would advise having this plastered or rendered first to provide a smooth surface for the brick slips to attach to.
Installing Brick Slips On To Wood
We would never advise installing brick slips directly to wood, we believe it is a poor substrate and would always suggest that this is boarded with a cement board to ensure a perfectly finished brick effect wall.
What Tools Do You Need To Install Brick Slips
Below are a list of tools and materials that we believe are required to install brick slips to a high quality, these tools can be used on all brick slips regardless of the material.
1. Tape Measure - This is incredibly important to allow you to cut the tiles to the right length and to set out on the floor and wall to make sure you have even cuts and enough brick slips.
2. Level - You will need a level to ensure that when installing the brick slips, you are installing them correctly and that each course is level. This should be checked on each court to ensure their is no gradient (for aesthetic purposes)
3. Trowels - You will need a bucket trowel to mix the adhesive that will be used to fix the brick slips to the wall. You will also need an 8mm Notched Trowel; this will be used to spread the dehire on the wall to ensure 100% coverage and a level fixing.
4. 2 Buckets - We think the best buckets to get are flexible buckets. You will need one bucket for which you will pour your adhesive and water in to to mix together (bear in mind if using a rapid setting adhesive for brick slips only mix up enough for 30 minutes work) you will need a second bucket of water to keep the tools clean between applications.
5. Pencil - A pencil is an essential bit of kit and will be used for marking out your starting point and marking brick slips to be cut. A pencil is a much better option then markers or pens as it can easily be washed off.
6. Adhesive - As per the above make sure you are using the correct adhesive based on where you plan on installing the brick slips. Our best all rounder can be found here. This will be mixed together with water as per the directions on the reverse of the packet. The general rule is that one pack of adhesive will cover 5m2 of brick slips however, always discuss with your tiler first to ensure the correct adhesive is purchased.
7. Wet Saw/Angle Grinder - To cut the brick slips you will need a power tool. We prefer the use of a wet tile cutter as these have guides on them to ensure an even cut. They also cause less dust and are safer to use. Alternatively some people use angle grinders which can be used just as well with a skilled hand. When using power tools we would always advise wearing protective equipment such as safety glasses, steel capped boots, heavy duty gloves and ear protection.
8. Spacers - Spacers are open for debate as to which size to go for, we believe when using brick slips its very important to ensure that you keep it within keeping of standard brick work therefore a 5-10mm spacer is the best option.
9. Sponge - A sponge is one of the most important items we can think of having with you when installing brick slips. This is because it is very easy to get adhesive on the face of the tiles and if left to set it can be almost impossible to remove. Keeping a sponge in clean water and wiping as you go will ensure your tiles stay clean and fresh. It will also be used to wipe any excess grout off the brick slips;
10. Pointing Towel - Unlike normal tiles, brick slips require pointing rather than grouting, this means investing in a pointing trowel and finisher to ensure a perfect running grout line. Again, the instructions for mixing the pointing mortar will be on the back of he packet and usage is dependant on joint width.
11. Pointing Mortar - Pointing Mortar is used once the brick slips have set and spacers have been removed, this will fill in all the joints and ensure the brick slip is watertight.
How Do Brick Slips Fix To The Wall?
Brick slips fix to the wall by using a powder based adhesive that, when mixed with water, creates a liquid adhesive that offers extremely high bonding properties to ensure a lasting finish. It is important that the correct method is used, which is why we advise using an 8mm notched trowel and spreading the adhesive on the wall rather then the back of the brick slip.
How To Space Brick Slips Consistently?
First of all, he most popular pattern to install is the standard brick bond pattern, that can actually be found used in your home, and is actually used to provide great structural support. However, with brick slips, you are unrestricted in what pattern you install them. You can go for the brick bond and then use anything that is 5mm or 10mm thick (depending on your preference to ensure a consistent finish). We would always advise using plastic spacers and removing as soon as the slips have set.
Another pattern option is to install the brick slips directly on top of one another, which can be done both using them horizontally or vertical.
Lastly there is the herringbone pattern; this is very popular with brick effect tiles but not so much with brick sips. We have a few examples below but really its for you to decide!
How To Cut Brick Slips?
There are 3 methods to correctly cut brick slips which we have listed below in the following order (best finished results first):
1. Wet Cutter - This is the best method to cut brick slips! Wet cutters can be hired from many places locally or brought from the large chain trade shops, and are relatively easy to use. Once you have marked your brick slip, fill the tray within the wet cutter with water. The machine simply needs turning on and the guide setting to cut the right amount off, and then push the brick slip through.
2. Angle Grinder - This is an old school method that we wouldn't advise as it requires a steady hand/a solid base for the brick slip to be cut on such as thick wood and creates a lot of dust. However some people prefer this method.
3. Hammer And Bolster - This is a traditional way of cutting bricks and the same method can be used on brick slips, its important to remember that when using this on brick slips it can cause the slips to break at various different points.
Cleaning And Maintaining Brick Slips
Brick Slip walls can make an incredible feature and focal point within the home, business or commercial setting, however, over time and with constant use and with everyday messy fingers (children), your new brick slip wall can become a bit grubby.
The main reasons brick slips can become dusty or dirty is because they are textured exactly like real bricks, this texture includes imperfections, crevasses and lumps which naturally attract dust and dirt and lock it in. Its important that once you've created your brick wall to maintain it and keeping it looking its best.
One of the things you can do to prevent your brick slips getting water marks when used externally or in wet area such as shower room is to use a sealer, we think the best one on the market it Still Extreme Power (we will soon be adding this to our site) this can be purchased in many hardware stores and across the internet. This is a brilliant product to provide a water tight seal but please do read the instructions carefully.
Cleaning internally used brick slips is really easy and once you have done it once you will need forget the process. This method has been used by many of our customers and has proven a success and can prolong the life and the original "new" look of your brick slips.
Below are a list of tools that we believe essential to keep your new brick slips clean:
- Hoover with a brush fitting
- Hard Wire Brush
- Washing Up Liquid
Thats all you need! no fancy chemicals!
- The most important thing to do when cleaning your brick slips is to hoover them to ensure you get all the dust out of them, first hoover them then using a cloth or duster go over them again to get the difficult to reach dust out.
- Using the bucket that you have already prepared we are now going to mix the home cleaning solution to clean the tiles. Its important that this solution contains all of the ingredients in equal measures. 1 part washing up liquid and 1 Part Salt mixed with warm/hot water until you get a dense consistency similar to paste.
- Now, using the sponge put it in the bucket and spread it over your brick slips, try and get in to all the crevices remember your not trying to wash it just yet, you just want to make sure the brick slips are covered in this solution. Once you have covered all the brick slips in your solution then get the wire brush and brush it in to the brick slips. Once you are satisfied that the slips are fully covered in the solution and you have brushed the solution in leave it to set for 10 - 20 Minutes.
- Rinse the sponge you just used or, use a new sponge and a clean bucket of warm water (depending on the size of the area you may want to change the bucket of water every so often to ensure your washing away with just water. Then clean over all of the tiles to remove and residue making sure that the end result is a clean brick slip free of any dirt and the homemade solution. Its important to repeat this process every 2-3 months (or as required) to maintain the beauty of your brick slips.