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What Are Brick Slips?

What Are Brick Slips?

Ryan Bibby |

In many cases, shortcuts when building something aren’t a good idea. But there are exceptions to the rule and one of those is bricks slips. These are a clever and ultra-quick way to clad a new home, an extension or even to tidy up an existing area of wall. But what are brick slips and how do you use them?

What are brick slips?
There are two main ways that a brick slip is made. The first is similar to the process for making a normal brick. Clay is taken through the brick making process but rather than the normal brick creation, a slimline profile is used to create brick slips. Then there are kiln-fired in the normal way. They are sometimes called ‘preformed’ slips as they are a set size.

The other option is to cut a section of the brick to the required dimensions. This was how brick slips were made before modern manufacturing processes come along. It is still an option now if you need particular thicknesses or size that the standard preformed brick slips don’t offer. They do tend to be a lot more expensive though as the work is entirely manual.

Standard brick slip sizes
With the standard preformed brick slips, they are created to mimic the look of masonry and therefore use the standard dimensions of a brick. This is normally 215mm wide by 65mm tall although different manufacturers will offer different sizes.
Then there are the various thicknesses. Standard options include 15mm, 20mm, 25mm, 30mm, 40mm and 50mm although again, specialist sizes may be available. There are also corner units for stretcher-bond effects.

How to apply brick slips
The idea with brick slips is that they are supplied as individual units that are fitted to a backing board on site. When looking at how to fit brick slips, the process is a bit like tiling.

You lay out the horizontal lines to create a grid for positioning then use a special adhesive to stick them in place. When it comes to how to stick brick slips, the manufacturer will often include instructions for their own product just to be sure on how to do it.

The system being used will dictate how to put brick slips on the wall. You might need to manually gauge the mortar lines used spacer units. Or a backing board may already be prepared for it such as with galvanised steel sections. There are even some brick slips where wet-brushing and other adhesive systems are used.
There are also options such as cladding panels that already have the brick slips in place. These are great for cutting down the work involved, and the time taken. Look for interlocking prefabricated boards to ensure they all align perfectly.

Brick slips for insulation
Brick slips are most commonly see as a finish for insulated external walls. These are either bonded to the substrate or used in pre-insulated cladding panels. Both work equally well and are perfect to upgrade existing properties as well as for use in new ones.

These panels are also popular where other constructions methods are used but a brick look is desired. If you build with a timber frame, a concrete formwork or even a solid wall, these cladding panels can be added outside to create that classic brickwork appearance.

Where are brick slips used?
There’s no shortage of places or ways that brick slips can be used. But a few common examples include:

  1. Fireplaces – around the fire to create a brick effect without losing too much space
  2. Kitchens – as an alternative to tiles, splashbacks or on a wall behind a cooker
  3. Feature walls – create that industrial vibe with a wall of brick slips
  4. Wall cladding – ideal to clad the outside of a building to make an interesting feature even if they aren’t needed for insulation purposes

Easy to use solution
Brick slips are an easy to use solution that offer aesthetic benefits and is also practical ways to finish areas of wall. They can be used in lots of different ways and are easy to work with and long-lasting.



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