My biggest mission with my new build was how could I make it my own whilst being concious that with a new build you’re perhaps replacing things which are in essence, fine. It feels wasteful but you should consider adding value to your home (remember to understand the upper limit your house will ever sell for so you don’t spend beyond this point).
So brickslips – I wanted to create an industrial/loft feel and I loved the idea of having an exposed brick wall. Unfortunately with a new build this isn’t possible as it would be breeze blocks (it doesn’t quite have the same effect). So I researched brick slips, in particular for a 7m2 wall space (you can see the before photo of my living room below).
Brickslips are essentially slim versions of bricks that you can build up/tile onto a wall to create an exposed brick wall. It’s real brick and you can get different types, whether you’re going for a stone cottage look, farm yard, industrial, loft type vibe. I went for an Empire Red Flat Brick (after ordering some samples) from a company I found online called Slim Brick. I’ve linked them here. They’re sold in half meter squared boxes, I went with 14 boxes to make sure I had enough. The delivery cost was £47 (remember they are heavy) and the bricks cost £187 The bricks I went for you can see in the mood board below (top left)
Total cost so far: £234 Next it came to putting them up. The thing about brick slips is they need to be placed onto the wall like a tile, and then they need pointing. Pointing is filling the joints inbetween the brick work with mortar (a cemement mix). On an outside wall it would protect it from the weather but inside it helps to improve the appears and make it look realistic.
The bricks go on exactly the same as tiles, so if you’re confident tiling and have a tiler cutter then you can go for it yourself. I used a tiler to fit mine, which cost around £180 and took him 3 hours. I then did the pointing myself. Remember when you’re deciding how big the gaps should be inbetween that you will need to point them too!
I initially went and bought the following tools from Wickes to point (it cost me around £45) • 1 bucket (you can use one you’ve already got but remember it may be ruined when you’re finished). • 2 bags of Hanson Sand Cement Motar • 1 Dual Sized Brick Pointing Trowel • 1 Pointing Trowel • 1 Roughneck Pointing Tool You’ll also need a large jug filled with water (the mortar starts to set within 30 minutes so I only made up a little each time) and a brush to brush the bricks as you go. Make sure you protect your flooring as it is very messy.
Now, lets start with the Roughneck – This was the most expensive piece and cost around £25. I’m not an experienced DIY-er. It doesn’t come with instructions which led to watching Youtube videos and finding online manuals to get it set up I spent about 2 hours on this, and eventually abandoned it as I found the mortar set too quickly in it and I wasn’t strong enough to use it. If you’re more experienced with DIY you may have better luck. When you’re pointing you need to fill between the bricks with the mortar and then smooth out the edges, remember that if you get extra mortar on the bricks you cannot wipe them clean like tiles due to the rough texture, so you need to be very careful doing this.
I started off by using the pointing trowel to hold the mortar and then the Dual Sized Trowel (the zig-zaggy one) to push the mortar in and smooth it out. This is very time consuming and by day two (FYI, it took me two days around around 14 hours to point the 7m2 brick wall). I decided to just use my bare hands, this gave a better finish, a lot smoother. If you decide to do this, please wear gloves as it literally cut my hands doing it and remember you’re dealing with moisture continuously.
When you’re finished take up your protective flooring (I used bin bags taped down with masking tape and old sheets), sweep and hoover the flooring before mopping. If you’re doing it across a few days try and clean up at the end of each day. Remember to brush the bricks and any excess as you go, and again when it has dried to take off any loose cement and if you have any gaps when it dries remember you can go back and refill it.
If you need to put anything on it (frames, mirrors, shelves) remember you will need a masonary drill bit to go through the brick. A few people have recommended putting the mortar into the icing bags to help fill the joints quicker. Here’s my finished brick wall!
Overall Cost: £459 If you have any questions feel free to comment below and if you want to see more images please head to my instagram feed and to see some videos on the progress.