Tag Archives: EWI system

How to achieve a brick-like finish on your EWI system: Brick slips

Are you fascinated by all the environmental benefits of external wall insulation, such as improved thermal performance, reduced energy bills and increased façade durability, but having doubts because you don’t want to let go of that beautiful brick aesthetic on your home? Then, brick slips are the product for you. While silicone render is available in several different grain sizes and thousands of different colours to allow you to create a personalised finish, you can instead choose brick slips as the final stage of your external wall insulation system – which are also available in various colours – to receive all the benefits of a system whilst enjoying the traditional aesthetic of exposed brickwork. If this sounds more like you, and you want to know more about brick slips, keep reading!

What are brick slips?

Brick slips are thin, acrylic tiles that are predominantly manufactured and cut from real reclaimed bricks. Much like a brick wall which is created by building brick upon brick, brick slips are applied to the wall one by one atop the adhesive to mimic real brickwork. They are highly flexible, meaning they can bend around corners to recreate the edges of bricks, and available in various natural colours and textures, again much like real brick. Brick slips can be applied both internally and externally but have grown in popularity as the final stage of an external wall insulation system to receive the benefits of external wall insulation without letting go of the traditional brick aesthetic.

Brick slips provide further benefits to an external wall insulation system if you live in an area where there is a high risk of mechanical impact such as on a busy road. Due to their brick-like nature, they have a great ability to withstand damage from mechanical impact and are very hard-wearing. They are also weatherproof and UV-resistant, meaning their colour won’t fade over time. So, if your current brickwork is looking a little tired, brick slips – along with the added benefits of external wall insulation – are the way to go.

How are brick slips installed?

Our brick slips are extremely simple to install. We offer a special adhesive that comes in five different colours and is specifically designed for use with the brick slips to create a long-lasting, reliable bond between the brick slips and the substrate. The adhesive is the most important part of the installation process as it will ensure the solidity of the installation.

When installing brick slips on top of an external wall insulation system, you must first install the basecoat and mesh on top of the insulation boards. Then, the special brick slip adhesive must be applied using a notched trowel. Following this, the brick slips can be applied to the adhesive in the form of a standard brick pattern, staggering the bricks and leaving a space of around 10mm between each brick both vertically and horizontally. As mentioned earlier, the bricks can be bent around corners owing to their flexibility, or you can cut them to your desired shapes.

What are the different types of brick slips?

Here at EWI Store, we offer several types of brick slips to cater to every taste:

  • Bavarian Castle. Our Bavarian Castle brick slips are of a beautifully clean and modern light grey colour which offer a noticeably fantastic facelift to any home. Their colour also offers an excellent contrast to wooden doors and window frames for a modern look with a traditional touch.
  • Cedar Hill. Our Cedar Hill brick slips offer a more conventional aesthetic, combining hints of dark red and brown, as you would imagine real brickwork to look. The Cedar Hill brick slips are perfect if you are seeking to achieve a traditional look whilst updating the look of your home.
  • Charcoal. Bold and modern, our Charcoal brick slips are the perfect solution if you are looking to make your house stand out from the crowd. The Charcoal brick slips will look fantastic when combined with white windows and doors.
  • Yellow Stock. If you are looking to brighten the façade of your home in an understated fashion, Yellow Stock brick slips are the ones for you. These brick slips look excellent all year round and remain timeless.
  • Siberian White. Bright and modern, our Siberian White brick slips are a fantastic option if you are seeking a complete refresh of the façade of your home. White will work with any colour of doors and window frames; white for a clean finish, and black or any other colour to create a contrast.
  • Wentworth Mixture. Similarly to Cedar Hill, our Wentworth Mixture brick slips mimic the appearance of traditional bricks owing to their natural red-brown colour. Whether you already looking to update your current brickwork or are for an understated look, Wentworth is for you.
  • Westminster. Our Westminster brick slips offer a bright, natural aesthetic with their neutral stone-like colour adorned with hints of red and black. Like Yellow Stock, Westminster provides a timeless look whilst giving your whole home a facelift.

So, if brickwork is to your taste and external wall insulation sounds like an excellent solution for you, then brick slips are the option for you! As you can see, our range of brick slips means that we can cater to every taste, allowing you to achieve your desired brick-look finish. If you have any questions about our brick slips and how they work with external wall insulation, please do not hesitate to contact our talented Sales Team who will be happy to help!


Repointing mortar or External Wall Insulation: Which do I need?

Mortar refers to the substance that ‘glues’ bricks together and helps to protect walls from water ingress and heat loss. It has a long and successful history, with the earliest record from Israel which is thought to date back as far as 10,000 years, and many other examples of age-old mortar still exist today. For instance, if your house was built pre-1930, it’s likely that it was built with lime mortar; alternatively, if your house is a new build, it was probably built with Portland cement. Needless to say, mortar can eventually begin to crack, meaning it needs to be either ‘repointed’ – that is, filled in or repaired – or you should have external wall insulation installed on your home.

Here at EWI Store, we’re often asked lots of questions about mortar, with the most common being “what is mortar made of?”, “is mortar the same as cement?” and “is mortar waterproof?”. In today’s blog, we’re going to answer all these questions by explaining how mortar is made, the main types of mortar and how to tell whether it’s time to repoint your property or have external wall insulation installed.

What is mortar made of?

Mortar is comprised of materials such as cement, sand and water, and sometimes lime, to create a high-quality substance to seal bricks together. It is either mixed on-site using a concrete mixer or manufactured in a factory off-site by expert suppliers.

What’s the difference between lime mortar and Portland cement?

Lime mortar is generally produced by burning calcium-based raw materials; in the UK and Ireland, chalk and limestone are most commonly used. When these materials are heated to about 850oC, the heat removes the carbon dioxide, leaving calcium oxide or ‘quicklime’. The quicklime is then submerged into the water for weeks or months to create a lime putty, or ‘slaked lime’, which is then mixed with sand and water to create the lime mortar.

Portland cement was invented around the 1820s by heating limestone with clay, mixing it to create a slurry, then heating it again. This formula achieved quick drying times, which helped it gain its commercial recognition and become the favoured additive to residential and commercial lime mortars.

Is mortar the same as cement?

Understandably, the name “Portland cement” can cause confusion in that it sounds like… well, cement. However, cement is a binding powder that is never used alone; it is a component of both concrete and mortar, as well as tile grout and thin-set adhesive. Therefore, cement is an element of mortar, so mortar and cement are not synonymous with one another. To break it down even further, here are the differences between cement, concrete and mortar:


  • Binding component of both concrete and mortar
  • Comprises limestone, clay, shells and silica sand
  • Hardens and gains strength when mixed with water


  • Used for building foundations, slabs and masonry
  • Comprises cement, sand and gravel
  • Forms into a flexible mould


  • Substance that ‘glues’ bricks and blocks together
  • Comprises sand, cement, water and sometimes limestone
  • Not used as a sole building material

Is mortar waterproof?

When rain comes into contact with exposed walls, the water can freeze in the bricks and the surrounding mortar which expands the mortar, thereby causing damage. Not only does this freeze-thaw weathering look unappealing but, the longer it’s ignored, the more likely it’ll lead to a cold and damp house. Therefore, if you can see cracks in your mortar, you might want to consider repointing your property.

How much does repointing mortar cost?

Repointing generally costs between £20-£40 per metre squared depending on the condition of the brickwork. In addition, scaffolding may add to the cost. Working out the square meterage of your external walls is easy: you just need to go outside and measure the length and height of the wall, then multiply the two numbers together.

The alternative to repointing mortar: External wall insulation

If you’re considering investing in repointing, it would be extremely worthwhile to go that bit further and consider having external wall insulation installed onto your home. Both external wall insulation and thin-coat renders will provide a weather-tight seal on your external walls, as well as enhance their appearance, increase thermal qualities and reduce energy costs. It might be more expensive but think of all the long-term benefits! If your property is a cavity wall property, learn more about why you should have external wall insulation installed on your cavity walls here.

Is mortar needed in External Wall Insulation?

If your property has uneven substrates and you’re considering having external wall insulation installed, Levelling Mortar is the perfect product for preparing an even substrate before applying an external wall insulation system. Levelling Mortar is a polymer-modified sand and cement mixture which can be used for repairing and filling cavities and walls, making for an easy installation and application of external wall insulation and render. Read more about the stages of an external wall insulation system here.

We hope this blog was useful in clarifying the purpose of mortar, the difference between lime mortar and Portland cement, the permeability of mortar and whether you need to repoint your mortar or go for external wall insulation. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to comment below or ask our lovely Sales Associates!

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    Installing External Wall Insulation

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