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What are 'Brick Slip Systems'

There are many ways to install brick slips ranging from direct application through to glued and mechanically fixed installations.

Installing brick slips can be time consuming and whilst relatively simple the finished appearance of the installation can be affected by many subtle but important issues.

Brick slip systems are designed to simplify the installation process and mitigate some of these issues.

The ‘Pros’

Simpler installation
The ribs on tracking sheets perform two important roles; keeping the horizontal courses straight and supporting the slip while the glues cures.
In direct application the installer would need to be mindful of the accuracy of their laying of the tiles and may be limited in how many courses they can lay before ‘floating’ occurs (sliding down the wall due to slips being unsupported).
Coursing heights
Not all bricks are exactly 65mm high and as a result the coursing can be affected as your installation progresses. The ribs on the tracking sheets keep the coursing levels and heights consistent even if the brick are not perfect.
Overcladding poor substrates
If the substrate is uneven and/or has friable material it can be simpler to use the system as a way of avoiding making good the substrate.

The ‘Cons’

Generally systems add expense but there are good reasons to use them. If you are on a tight budget however direct application will work but as the job size increases the speed versus cost argument becomes more important.

Substrates that can accomodate these systems

Brick slip systems can be installed onto virtually any substrate be it brick or breezeblock, steel or timber frame buildings with the main change being the type of washers and fixings used.

In general brick or breezeblock uses masonry fixings whereas framed buildings would usually be a screw and washer.

External installations should use external grade materials (stainless screws, cement based boards) in order to improve the longevity of the installation where as internal installs can use lower grade building materials as they would not be subject to the harsher external environmental conditions.

Movement in buildings and expansion due to temperature

Timber is by its very nature subject to dimensional change during settlement of a structure and is something a building engineer should have taken into account. The specification of the materials and the application of them should also be adhered to by site contractors to allow for this by the inclusion of movement joints.

The position and quantity of movement joints can and will vary according to building use, position, size and the materials used and professional advice should be sought from a qualified structural engineer who can run the calculations necessary to give the best chance of settlement and expansion/contraction of materials not creating failure.

Certification of systems can be confusing so a short explanation can only cover the very basics of this quite complex subject.

Accredited versus Non-accredited systems

All of our system components are non-accredited and you must satisfy yourself that what you build with them is built correctly. We can supply 3rd Party accredited systems on request but the cost for accredited systems is almost always higher than non-accredited components.

An ‘accredited’ system is a set of components that has been tested by a 3rd party test house and, if installed according to the installation procedure should, in the event of failure be covered under the warranty.

New Build

Generally if your project is a new-build and you are borrowing i.e. the banks money to do so then the lender will usually want to see accreditation certificates for certain ‘unusual’ building products being used to make sure that what is being built is going to stand the test of time.

Well known and widely accepted accreditations are British Board of Agrement (BBA), NHBC, KIWA to name some common test bodies.

Our components are not certificated but we can source 3rd Party accredited systems if you do require the accreditation for use with our brick slips.

Feature Walls and Extensions

Generally extensions, feature walls and internal installations will not require any form of accredited system so are an ideal candidate for our components.

A SIPS Orangery extension project built using non-accredited system

Almost any type of brick can be used in a system, be they cut brick slips or purpose made slips, but you should make sure that the slip to be used is of the correct coursing height to suit the system.

It is also wise, if using an accredited system, to check with the supplier that the intended brick slip type and thickness is allowed to be used. There are cases where certain types are not covered by the accreditation (usually due to water absorbtion or weight).

Certain types of brick can also have very high variability (handmades and reclaims most notably) and this should be considered before buying the system to make sure the system can tolerate the variation.

Mechanical and non-mechanically fixed systems

Matclad tracking boards are mechanically fixed to the substrate but the brick slips are not – the brick slips are bonded using a very strong epoxy adhesive.

This is usually not a problem on low-level installations as, in the event of a failure, the risk of the brick slip hurting someone below is very low.

Mechanically fixed systems use a locking mechanism to hold the brick slip in place (sometimes with additional glue as ‘belt and braces’) so that the slip is not reliant on just an epoxy to hold it in place.

What we offer

We supply a range of brick slip cladding system components which are designed to speed up installation. We can offer guidance based on our experience of supplying these systems, but we cannot undertake design services.

We can offer all of the components from our own supply and the components are all supplied with technical data sheets, but we are not able to offer a system with BBA accreditation. Where a customer needs to use a BBA accredited system, we can source this from 3rd party companies who are able to offer an accredited system.

Whilst we provide support and advice in good faith, customers need to satisfy themselves with their professional advisers (eg Architects) of the suitability of a given system for the intended application.

The information provided by Matclad Limited ("we", "us", "our") on (the "Site") is for general informational purposes only. All information on the Site is provided in good faith, however we make no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability or completeness of any information on the Site.

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