INSTALLATION OF BRICK FACINGS/BRICK TILES
Also referred to as brick slips, brick tiles, thin bricks or brick cladding, our brick facings can be applied directly to pre-existing masonry or compressed cement sheeting using flexible based tile glues. The adhesive chosen must meet or exceed ANSI 118.4 and ANSI 118.11 adhesion standards. The substrate must be engineered to support 40kg per square metre.
Just like a tile, brick facings are spaced using spacers, the actual spacing used is determined by the look you may be after but can vary from no gap to about 10mm for that traditional brick wall look.
Once the facings are stuck, spacers are removed and the joints are mortared using a mortaring gun. If stuck with no gap, no mortaring is required. Brick facings have a wide range of applications including interior feature walls, kitchen or bathroom backsplashes and cladding exterior walls including walls built from Besser or Hebel blocks.
As with all building work, if you are unsure of the appropriate method of construction, advice should be sought from a qualified builder or building engineer to ensure all work complies with relevant building standards.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
Dust down the prepared surface and remove any grease or dirt. Seal the surface with a suitable primer or waterproofing if required. Mark out level lines using a spirit level on the blank wall surface. The surface must be able to support 40kg per square metre.
Mix the tile adhesive to the desired consistency following manufacturer’s instructions. You can either apply the glue to the wall or alternatively butter the backs of the brick tiles. The adhesive chosen must meet or exceed ANSI 118.4 and ANSI 118.11 adhesion standards. Commonly used adhesives include Monoflex or Ardex X17.
Apply the first course of brick facings to the surface in the desired pattern, cutting in where necessary. Use spacers to space the brick tiles to the desired spacing. Note, brick facings do not need to be spaced, a dry stack look can be achieved by butting the brick facings up against each other.
Once all of the tiling is complete, the adhesive has dried and the facings are completely dry, brush down to remove all excess dust with a stiff brush. Do not rush this step, take the time to get the bricks completely dry and brush thoroughly from top to bottom.
Step 5. (Optional)
While many of our brick facings come with white scumming by default, for many it can be applied as an option. If adding a mineral white wash to your brick facings do so at this stage.
Step 6. (Optional)
You may wish to add a first coat of sealant to protect the brick facings (this is optional – but recommended in kitchen areas to avoid any grease splashes or marks). Please see section below for more information on sealing.
Following the manufacturer’s instructions, mix the pointing mortar or premade grout to the desired consistency and colour. Add mortar into the pointing gun and apply the mortar into the joints, then strike off the excess using a jointing tool to the desired finish. Please note there is a difference between pointing and grouting. We advise pointing unless you are after a very rustic finish. More information on mortar choice can be found below.
Step 8. (Optional)
Once the area is pointed and dry, ensure the slips are clean, dry and free of dust. If sealing (optional), apply a final coat of sealer to protect the surface of the brickwork.
IMPORTANT: RECLAMATION STYLES
Our reclamation style brick facings, which can be identified by the white scumming on the brick surface (and the use of the term reclamation in their name), should not be wet sponged. During pointing, the excess mortar should be cut off with a trowel. Mortar dags and smears on the work face should be removed by dry brushing within 1-2 days. We advise that only white mortars should be used with our reclamation styles, this allows the mortar to match the colour of the white scumming on the brick facings.
Please also be aware that as our brick facings are cut from genuine handmade brick when you get them they may be still wet or damp. The final colour will not become apparent until they have dried. The difference between a wet and dry brick facing can be seen below.
TOOLS REQUIRED OR HANDY TO HAVE
Brick facings of your choice
Flexible tile adhesive
Mortar - typically a sand cement mix
Brick Jointing Tool
Pointing mortar gun or piping bag (highly recommended)
Sealant (Optional - Matt or Gloss depending on what look you want)
Angle grinder with masonry wheel
Wet vs. Dry
An example of the difference between a wet (top) and a fully dried (bottom) brick facing, here shown with our Turkish Red brick facing. Before brushing down your brick facings or sealing them, the brick facings should be fully dried.
RECLAMATION STYLE VS. WHITE WASHED STYLE
You may notice that we offer 2 styles that have a white scumming on the surface of the brick facing. These 2 styles are "Reclamation" and "White Wash". With "Reclamation" styles the white scumming is pre-applied to the brick facings and is composed of Portland calcium oxide. In contrast, with "White Wash" styles the white scumming, which is composed on white clays, micas and silicates, is applied during installation (Step 5 above). Importantly, the level of white washing (from intense to translucent) is controlled by you. This allows the level of scumming to be adjusted depending on the look you are after. With white washed styles we provide helpful advice of how to apply it to achieve the look you may be after.
You may wish to add a sealant to protect the brick facings (this is optional – but recommended in kitchen areas to avoid any grease splashes or marks). Ensure the brick facings are clean, dry and free of dust before the sealant is applied. You can use either a gloss "wet" look sealant or a matt sealant. Sealing will change modify the colour of the brick facings, especially wet look sealants (less so for matt sealants). We recommend you trial sealants on some spare brick facings before sealing the entire wall.
The following section deals with making a sand cement mortar. If you don't want to make your own mortar, you can use premixed grouts in any colour you wish.
Choosing a mortar colour is really important. Broadly mortar colours can be divided into four broad types: dark grey/black, grey, yellow (buttery) and white (creamy).
Yellow or a buttery colour is the most common colour used and is produced by using a yellow brick sand combined with an off white cement, this will produce a buttery coloured mortar, the addition of hydrated lime will lighten this colour further.
For a creamy white mortar you use a white brick sand with a pure white cement.
This is the most simplest mortar colour to achieve and is just a simple mix of grey cement and yellow brick sand. Standard grey mortar can also be purchased premixed in most hardware stores.
Dark Grey to Black
For dark grey to black mortars a black oxide must be added to the standard grey cement. Black oxides can be purchased readily at most hardware stores.
Both sand, cements and coloured oxides are readily available from hardware stores (e.g. Bunnings). To stress the point, yellow and white mortar can not be produced with the standard grey cement and for a true white mortar you must use a pure white cement and white brick sand. Links to examples of these products can be found below:
If you want a very traditional white mortar you can also use hydraulic lime (not to be confused with hydrated lime), it is unlikely that you will find hydraulic lime in a normal hardware store but we are happy to supply it for you....just ask.
Mortaring can be done via a few methods but the easiest way for beginners is a mortaring gun, again we are happy to supply you with a mortaring gun.....just ask.
* As with all building work, advice should be sought from qualified professionals if you are unsure of any aspect of brick laying, cladding or paving.
Think Brick is the Australian clay brick and paver manufacturers association and they have a large range of instructional manuals available covering all aspects of brick masonry. These manuals are freely available and can be downloaded from their website.