Installation tips and advice for hand crafted brick tiles

These naturally produced,  building products, are like pieces of framing timber … where we expect there to be some subtle variation in density, shape and weight.

Measures are in place during the production of these items, to govern their size however, some size variation is to be expected and is a genuine attraction of the product.  It is part of the natural charm of colour variation which is so typical of clay.  Therefore, we expect, darker colours to be marginally smaller than lighter colours as we use temperature to create the surface colour & texture we require – that is because darker colours are fired at higher temperatures which can reduce their size.

1. Uneven substrates

  • Don’t commence work until the surface is even, perfectly aligned and free from dust
  • A Brick Tile dresses a smooth surface, so it appears to be brickwork, laid by hand
  • Do not apply Brick Tiles over exposed expansion joints i.e. express this detail

2. Primed surfaces

  • Does the adhesive you are using, require a primer to bond to this surface? Do not use adhesive materials that are not guaranteed to perform with the primer
  • Have you selected a water-based product that allows moisture to be present?

3. Curved brick tiles

  • Cut mis-shaped Brick Tiles in half and use them as 1/3 or ½ size pieces
  • Do not place Curved or irregular shapes next to each other in the bond pattern
  • Lay the tiles out and view them before you start applying your adhesive

4. Brick pattern

  • Create a string line every 5 rows to ensure the pattern is always horizontal
  • Commence at the top, not mid-way and keep checking alignment every 5 rows
  • Confirm the width of the space between each tile before you set-out the area

5. Corner application

  • Begin with placing Corners and set the horizontal body tiling from this edge
  • Align the centre of both vertical edges of the Corner, with your laser level
  • Pre-cut the longer edge of the Corner, not the smaller return edge, to avoid irregular sizing

6. Plan ahead

  • Open many packets to ensure irregularities are identified before starting to install
  • Do not cut Brick Tiles on their horizontal axis; adjust the mortar gap instead +/-!
  • Determine if you are cutting Brick Tiles before you commence working

7. Clean as you go

  • Allow the adhesive to set by exposing it to air, well before grout is applied.
  • Work in tight, manageable areas to ensure clean-up is easy to work into your daily routine.
  • Do not allow mortar to sit on the face of these Brick Tiles for more than 48 hours.  It will be very difficult and time-consuming to remove otherwise!

8. Check your levels

  • Ensure random checking of laser levels takes place during the installation
  • Adjust mortar dimensions by a few mm’s if alignment begins to slide ‘in or out’
  • Always have a level and string line by your side to enable accurate placement

9. Front or back

  • Clearly understand whether the Brick Tile has a front or back, before commencing.
  • Ask for Architectural guidance if this aspect is controversial or unclear.
  • Ask the supplier for samples to discuss with your site team before you start work.

10. Avoid brick ‘widows’

  • Do not apply Brick Tiles that are less then 80mm long i.e. avoid small pieces
  • Begin reducing the length of Brick Tiles, 500mm from the edge of the facade
  • Consider asking for detailed Architectural guidance if unsure of these dimensions

11. Internal corner alignment

  • Always leave a space at this internal junction to accommodate lateral movement
  • Apply a caulking product to prevent brick tile contact at this change in direction
  • Use a hard edge accessory to ensure both sides of this internal edge are straight i.e. create a true vertical edge

12. External corner set-out

  • Measure the internal dimension of Corners when determining their placement.
  • Avoid corner return dimensions less than 80mm to maintain brick authenticity.
  • Do not mitre & join on-site … consider a ‘bird beak’ junction or use a moulding/trim.

The key to success is to treat these Brick Tiles as if they are Bricks, not Tiles and select products from 2 or more pallets (or boxes) to avoid irregular patches of colour on your facades.

Finally, to ensure your Brick Tiling is a success; do not start the tile saw or pick up your notch trowel, until you have pre-planned and measured the substrate you are about to work on.