Think differently about your walls with brick slips

Thursday 16th Nov 2023 |

If you’re looking for something different to bring a room in your house to life, as opposed to paint and wallpaper- you should consider brick slips.

What are brick slips?

Brick slips is a term from the brick industry, meaning ‘a slip of a brick’, to put it into plain terms, a brick cut into tiles.

Most bricks have the same kind of look on either side, meaning you can effectively cut 2 tiles from one brick, it also means that you can cut a ‘corner tile’ from the whole brick to go around external edges.

Are they new?

Brick slips have actually been around for quite a while. You may have noticed them over the last 5 years or so in restaurants and bars, popping up in fashionable places in the retail environment. Over the existence of brick slips, the style has evolved- from cutting the bricks that were used on housing projects, which tend to go out of style, to a more timeless approach that is becoming the norm.

Reclaimed style brick slips give a pre-existing aged look, and therefore not only remain timeless but bring extra character.

What is it that they bring to interior design?

Because brick is a 3D material, it brings a texture that traditional wall coverings just can’t achieve. With that comes extra impact, and a wow factor. The other aspect is the unique colourings that real clay bricks have (as opposed to concrete or even ceramic imitations). As the popular bricks are clay that is thrown into molds, and then fired – they have a unique colouring and texture that is very hard to replicate. With the addition of weathering techniques too, it means each individual brick slip is virtually unique given the shaping, colour, and texture.

How are they installed?

As tiles cut from bricks, they are simply tiled on. The only difference from ceramic tiling (other than coping with the slightly irregular shaping), is the pointing. Pointing is where you pipe mortar into the gaps to complete your wall, as opposed to grouting ceramic tiles. You can do this a a DIYer, or find a bricklayer or tiler with brick slip experience, or willing to learn from guides on how to install brick slips. You can install directly onto plasterboard, masonry (such as breeze blocks) or cement board, but not onto wooden surfaces such as OSB, plywood or MDF.

Can I use them in my kitchen?

The short answer to this is yes, as the place we think about the most when it comes to design, it’s a very popular location for slips. The one consideration here is that brick will soak in moisture, meaning it could be a pain to clean, as you’ll need to soak cleaning products in too. However, there is a simple solution, brick slip sealant. This is a product that you simply paint on to the wall (once it’s completely dry), and it soaks into the brick to stop anything else from permeating. It takes a week or so to fully dry, but by then it’s completely invisible so doesn’t affect the look.

Can I use them outside?

As they are cut from full bricks, they are perfectly suited for external use, where brick is a much more familiar fixture. The application methods are the same, the only consideration is the substrate- as rain will soak into the brick, so it needs to be a waterproof backing like cement board, or an existing masonry wall that will drain and evaporate as usual.

Can I use them as flooring?

There is no technical reason why brick slips can’t be used as flooring, although they are made for walling specifications. It would be advisable to seal them with a brick sealant to help with cleaning. The only drawbacks here to having a beautiful brick floor are the hardness, dropping a mug would likely be the end for it, and the uneven nature of the texture- you could get wobbly chair or table legs.

Brick slips are a wonderful way to bring extra style to your home or business, with textures and colours that are not possible with any other material.