Brick slips are a popular alternative to traditional brickwork.

They provide the same classic look of brick, with the added benefits of easy installation and lightweight construction.

Now that brick slips are becoming so widely used, there are countless considerations when it comes to design.

Before specifying brick slips for your building, it’s important that you research the key challenges of brick slip specification.

For example, is the aesthetic you require available on your preferred brick slips system?

Here are seven design considerations to make when using brick slips to help you avoid major hold-ups further down the project timeline.


1.      Project Design And Location Considerations


Project location creates the foundations of all architectural work.

Quite often, architectural design will be inspired by the surroundings of the building. The colours, shapes, landscape and climate around the structure will determine what type of design will suit the project.

For example, if an architect is specifying a building in the city centre that is surrounded by other high-rise buildings, this will impact their design options. In order meet local planning and to homogenise, this building’s design would need to be tailored to pair well with the nearby buildings. For example, local restrictions might be in place to stop any major design changes to the area, such as in conservation areas.

Similarly, coastal buildings and the climate around them will have to be considered when choosing to specify brick slips. For example, if there is salt and moisture in the air, corrosion could be caused  Furthermore, high winds can cause damage to buildings that are prone to material uplifts. This can affect the brick slip system you choose.

Of course, architects often want to create something unique. Something that stands out from the crowd. But ultimately, the building’s aesthetic must go hand in hand with the location of the project that can be affected by weather, surrounding buildings and material access.

For example, the type of brick might not be accessible if you need something locally sourced. Many issues can arise such as problems surrounding importing and sourcing.


2.      Project Size And How It Affects Brick Slip Design


The size of your project will majorly affect the type of system you want to use, which in turn has an impact on the aesthetic choices.

Project scope will have varying build times, equipment needed and cost implications.

For example, if a project is over 6 storeys high, you would usually need a different building system to the one used for a smaller structure like modular houses.

In the case of a high-rise building, using Ash and Lacy’s Natural X mechanically fixed brick cladding system may provide the lightweight construction and quick to install building system that you need. As high-rise buildings are often in built-up areas, using streamlined building processes is crucial to a successful project.

In this instance, Raires Montrieux make a full range of slips for this system allowing glazed brick slips to sit next to other brick finishes.

It’s important to know which system will work best for your project size, so that you can make informed decisions on the brick slips you’re able to use.

This way, you can avoid wasting time and money on brick designs that won’t match your specific build.


tall building with brick slips with windows and sky at the top


3.      Project Complexity


When considering your design, are there any elements that will make your build more complex?

It could be possible that your building design involves a certain colour or texture of brick that only certain suppliers will provide. Alternatively, a bespoke shape of brick might be needed alongside your glazed brick slips to create a specific pattern design.

For example, if your project has a complex window design using glazed bricks with multiple special shaped requirements or curved areas, your options will be limited.  Using precast panel and slips with a dovetail key, along with purpose made brick specials, could be the best solution and only a few manufacturers can achieve this.

Therefore, early engagement with an expert is critical.

By failing to plan the more complex parts of your brick slip project, you could have to compromise elements of design further down the project timeline.



4.      Brick Slip System Choice


Considering the design of your project is only possible once you have a firm understanding of the structural building system and how it works with brick slips.

Is the system predetermined by your client, developer, or contractor?

It could be possible that existing relationships or supply chains determine the system that you are specifying. This means that only certain aesthetics would be available.

For example, precast concrete systems can be useful when complex geometric patterns are being created. It is also possible that certain structures, such as modular housing, are looking for cost effective solutions that will determine the materials you can use.

In order to avoid disappointment and changes later in your brick slip project, it’s crucial to understand the boundaries of the system you are working with, before considering certain design features.


brick slip cladding being fitted by man in hard hat



5.      Colour Of Brick Slip Design


We have previously discussed the importance of colour in your designs.

As previously mentioned, not all manufacturers will offer a large range of options. This is why it’s crucial to make your decisions early in order to find a manufacturer that can provide your desired material.

Researching the colour ranges of brick slips via product pages and case study inspiration is the first step to creating your vision. Once you know the colour you are looking for, you can start to shape a design.

The colour of your building is often what makes it stand out from surrounding architecture at first glance, so choose this wisely and make sure to do your research into the supplier you are looking to use.


6.      Brick Slip Size And Laying Pattern


It requires early decision making to know exactly what size brick slip you need to bring your project to life.

Up and coming trends, such as the use of long-format bricks for a façade, can completely change the look of a building, so this will need to be considered and only certain systems will accommodate this.  Using multiple slip sizes on a project will also add cost and complexity, which is worth noting when considering project cost.

Changing the laying pattern can also have a dramatic effect on the feel of a façade. For example, if you are looking for clean lines when stack bonding (stacking bricks on top of one another), it’s better to use an extruded brick slip with a good size tolerance.

Another popular recent trend has been brick slips laid vertically which can be done at little extra cost when the right system is chosen.

Make sure to consider these upcoming trends when planning your project, so that your design stands the test of time.



7.      Choosing The Right Brick Slip Shape


Sometimes, brick designs are tailored around a specific shape of brick that is used to create certain patterns and texture – which is a new trend for 2023.

Many architects are using brick slips, quite often glazed slips, to create depth in their projects. This can be achieved by using design features such as projecting headers.

Creating popular designs on building façades by using various shaped bricks, such as sawtooth, triangular or wave bricks, is only possible with varying shaped bricks being available. And as fewer manufacturers make specialised products you need to know where to look. Modern shapes such as hexagons are being used on façades to create stand-out projects, so make sure to consider this.

Of course, this is only accessible depending on the products available. Thinking about your design goals, and matching them to the system you’re working with, is a key design consideration.


triangle brick slip


The Key Design Considerations For Your Brick Slip Project


It’s crucial to explore the design considerations each project needs to be successful.

By considering the foundations of your architecture, such as the location of your building and the system it’s specifying, you can have a strong idea in mind for the design features available to you.

Once these key considerations have been decided, design features such as colour, size and shape of the brick slip you are using can be explored.

The earlier these decisions are made, the sooner you can get your vision from paper to project.

If you have a project in mind and are considering using brick slips, Creative Brick Solutions can offer expert advice on the right brick choice for you.

Having expert knowledge on a wide range of colours, sizes and shapes, the team can help you to create your brick slip vision.

Make sure to contact us today to gain an insight into the products on offer, or for a helpful chat about what you have in mind.