Brick Tinting and Brick Weathering

July 9th 2019

Brick Tinting and Brick Weathering

When building an extension, or adding new bricks to any existing masonry structure, unmatched brickwork is a common problem.

While you may find bricks the same size, texture, or colour, sourcing bricks with all three properties can prove more challenging. Most houses in the UK are built from bricks that are no longer made, and even those that are still made could be rare. This can result in bricks that look out of place, reduces the visual appeal, and ultimately the value of your property. However, brick tinting and brick weathering can be the answer.

What is Brick Tinting?

Brick tinting involves altering the colour of a brick to match existing brickwork and improve the visual appeal. It's primarily used when building extensions or in situations where new bricks have been added (e.g. filling in a doorway, replacing damaged masonry etc.) resulting in a colour variation from the existing structure. Brick tinting is the solution when the original brick has been discontinued or simply can't be found in the required timescales for a project.

What is Brick Weathering?

Sometimes people need their bricks to have a more aged or weathered appearance. Brick weathering can help tone down the colour of new bricks and match them to century-old bricks. For instance, if you are undertaking renovations or remedial work on an older or historic building, you may want to darken the bricks and make them look like they have been exposed to the elements over many years (e.g. sooted look). This can even be the case for bricks that have been in situ for only 10 years; the newer ones can look markedly different.

Why You Need Brick Tinting and Brick Weathering

There is an increasing need for brick tinting and brick weathering within the UK. Most of the time, it comes down to the fact that you simply can't find the perfect match.

The brick industry has gone through a rapid change, primarily as a result of the 2008 global financial crisis. Small brick manufacturers that once serviced local areas have either been shut down or mothballed leaving the larger brick manufacturers to make up most of the industry. This means that for the majority of UK homes, bricks that were previously manufactured with smaller brickworks are no longer produced and simply not available anymore. Also, owners of masonry structures built before 1970 are overwhelmingly likely to be built from bricks with no specific name.

However, even if you do manage to find the same brick used on your original masonry structure, you will still have to battle production defects, batch colour variations, and even weathering (as your bricks have been outside and exposed to the elements).

The bottom line is that your new bricks will likely look different from any existing brickwork, which makes brick tinting and brick weathering essential parts of the process in order to get the perfect match on many properties.

How Brick Tinting Works

Every brick is different, and the same can be said for brick tinting projects. The mixture is carefully formulated on site and consists of water, various iron oxide colour dyes and a fixing agent (e.g. potassium silicate).

However, before any permanent tinting occurs, the solution is always tested on a small sample area beforehand to match the colour and get prior approval. There is no fixing agent applied to the sample, so the tint can easily be washed off and the colour corrected if needed.

Once there is a perfect colour match, a fixing agent is added to the mix, and the tinting solution is applied brick by brick. The process is completed by qualified technicians, who can generally complete approximately 15-20 square metres per day (although this will vary depending on the project). There are also other factors that can impact the duration such as the number of coats needed, the texture of the brick, level of access, and even weather conditions (brickwork needs to be dry to absorb the tint).

Nearly all types of bricks can be tinted, although more absorbent bricks perform better. Hard bricks (such as smooth facing or engineering bricks) are very dense and have a low water absorption rate, so they require a different type of tinting solution (acrylic based). In addition, bricks that have been sealed, painted, or treated with a waterproofing agent cannot be tinted. However, this will be identified and assessed before starting your project.

Will Brick Tinting Damage My Brickwork?

Brick tinting does not damage your brickwork in any shape or form. The tinting solution absorbs directly into the brick and dyes the surface, rather than coating the face of the brick, like paint. Therefore, your bricks will still retain their physical properties and technical characteristics as per the manufacturer.

Brick tinting is also a permanent solution and comes with a 40-year guarantee. It's recognised by the BDA (Brick Development Association) as a remedial process within the industry.

What Can You Expect to Pay?

Brick tinting pricing varies depending on the project. As a rough estimate, pricing can start at around £500 for small projects and £1500 for double storey extensions. However, there are lots of different factors that need to be considered such as the volume of bricks, difficulty of access (e.g. scaffold, ladder, cherry picker, etc.), level of colour change, and even the type of brick.

We offer 20% off these prices however through our tinting and weathering partners when you buy the bricks through Brickhunter.

Final Tips for Brick Tinting and Brick Weathering

To get the best results from your tinting or weathering, we recommend the following tips:

  • Tinting can also be done to the mortar, to make sure slightly different shades don't make the brickwork look different either.
  • We'll help you source bricks that are the right size and have a very similar texture to your existing brickwork.
  • We can find bricks that are close, but slightly lighter in colour, than your originals. It's much easier to tint bricks which are a darker colour.
  • We order new, clean clay bricks as they have much better porosity over second-hand or reclaimed bricks.
  • We'll make sure your bricks can be tinted effectively (e.g. not sealed, painted or waterproofed).

Find the Perfect Match With Brickhunter

If you need to match to existing brickwork, simply follow our process to take advantage of our fast and convenient brick matching service. We guarantee results in 24 hours, samples and guidance thereafter to get it right.

Where the services are required, we offer 20% off any brick tinting or brick weathering nationwide (using our nationwide specialist partner) when you purchase your bricks through Brickhunter. Don't settle, match bricks properly today.