Brick slips are a popular and growing trend within the UK for internal and external uses. They're easy to maintain but should you seal brick slips?
They're a durable tile so are perfect for use in high traffic areas where wear and tear might be an issue. They're also great at hiding imperfections on the wall (especially uneven surfaces) due to the way they are installed.
Brick slips also offer a traditional and rustic brick wall look which can't be matched with any other product on the market (other than an actual brick - but that involves a whole construction project to build a wall!).
Sealing Brick Slips
There's nothing wrong with leaving the brick slips in their natural state - that's why you originally bought them!
However, to ensure their longevity and surface protection it is best to use an appropriate brick sealant to seal the brick slip surface.
Even though a brick slip is hard wearing and durable, leaving them unsealed can lead to them getting dirty quickly (due to the porous surface) and make them harder to clean.
An untreated brick tile can absorb liquid fairly easily. If the brick slip is coloured, this can cause stains and even discolouration.
With this in mind, we'll move on to how to seal brick slips.
Clean The Tiles First
It's easy to clean brick slips if you know how and we've written an entire post about it. Always take your time and follow the advice to make sure you clean them correctly and safely.
If you've installed your brick slips already, make sure it's been up and and finished for at least 6 weeks before attempting to clean the surface. This gives the adhesive and mortar enough time to fully cure and to see if salts or efflorescence are present.
This step is important as any stains or impurities that are present on the wall before sealing will be locked into the surface of the brick slips once sealed. Ensure that the wall looks exactly as you want it before starting the sealing procedure.
You'll also want to make sure you've removed and dried adhesive or mortar on the brick slips - this is easily done with a wire brush.
Stains on the brick tile surfaces can be removed with a mild washing up liquid and rinsed with water afterwards.
If cleaning the wall indoors, avoid using any products containing acid (we don't recommend these anyway) as these require a lot of ventilation and rinsing.
Seal The Brick Slips
If you've cleaned the wall, ensure that it is fully dry before starting to seal it.
When choosing a brick sealant, there's plenty of choice within the UK. Most of them have different properties for different applications so ensure that you read the data sheets and confirm that the product is fit to use with the tiles.
We offer general sealing advice and the manufacturers instructions should be followed too.
Matt Brick Sealant
A matt brick sealant will leave a matt finish on the brick slips.
This type of sealant fixes itself to the surface of the tile to protect it against stains (including oil and water based). It will make the least difference to the original colour of the brick.
Gloss Brick Sealant
A gloss brick sealant will give a gloss type finish to the bricks (shiny).
This type of sealant fixes itself to the surface of the brick to protect it against stains (including oil and water based). It will give a deeper colour to the brick slip which enhances the natural colours.
It really comes down to personal preference as to whether you seal your brick slips or not. Just bare in mind that high traffic areas and areas prone to getting dirty will benefit from being sealed.
Remember that brick slips are hardwearing in nature so sealing them isn't a necessity.