Reclaimed Bricks – are they actually reclaimed?

Many People love the look of reclaimed bricks. They definitely add character and a rustic feel to any wall, kitchen or bathroom. Traditionally they were as they are called; reclaimed from previous buildings, unwanted from a demolition project sometimes even given away. That was until they became extremely fashionable. That classic look will now cost you more than a new standard brick for you to build your ideal country cottage, and although everyone enjoys the non symmetry associated with reclaimed bricks, you still want them to be slightly uniformed – at least a similar colour and size – which makes completing large projects difficult as you battle to find continuity of supply and not break the bank doing so.

So what are the options? Most reclaimed bricks sold by manufacturers go through the standard process of brick making but with an added process at the end. What is this process? Tumbling. We ourselves use tumbled bricks in our reclaimed range of slips, but what exactly are tumbled bricks?

“Tumbled bricks are specialized construction materials that undergo a deliberate aging process to achieve a rustic, weathered appearance”

Characteristics of Tumbled Bricks

Tumbled bricks possess distinct characteristics that set them apart from conventional bricks. The primary feature of tumbled bricks is their weathered and antique appearance. Through a mechanical tumbling process, these bricks acquire rounded edges, chipped corners, and a roughened surface. These attributes simulate the natural weathering and aging process, providing a time-worn charm. Tumbled bricks are available in a variety of colours, textures, and sizes, allowing for flexibility in design and aesthetic choices.

Manufacturing Process of Tumbled Bricks

The manufacturing process of tumbled bricks involves several steps to achieve the desired appearance. Initially, high-quality clay or concrete bricks are produced through standard methods. Once the bricks have been cured and dried, they are carefully selected for tumbling. They are then placed inside a specialized tumbling machine, which subjects them to a series of rotational movements and abrasion techniques.

The tumbling machine consists of a large drum with protrusions, which causes the bricks to collide with one another and the drum’s surface. Additionally, abrasive materials like stones, sand, or chemicals may be added to expedite the aging process and enhance the weathered effect. The duration and intensity of tumbling can be adjusted based on the desired level of distressing.

Applications of Tumbled Bricks

Tumbled bricks find a wide range of applications in construction and landscaping due to their distinctive appearance. Some common uses include:

  1. Interior Applications: Tumbled bricks can be employed indoors to create distinctive accent walls, fireplaces, or feature elements. Their aged look brings warmth and character to living spaces, restaurants, or commercial settings. They can be cut into brick slips to make the installation process even easier.
  2. Facades and Walls: Tumbled bricks add character and charm to building exteriors. They are often employed in the construction of facades, accent walls, and architectural features to create a vintage or traditional look.
  3. Pathways and Driveways: Tumbled bricks are ideal for creating visually appealing pathways, walkways, and driveways. Their roughened surface offers enhanced grip and durability while complementing outdoor surroundings.
  4. Patios and Outdoor Living Spaces: Tumbled bricks are popular choices for constructing outdoor patios, courtyards, and gathering areas. Their weathered aesthetic blends seamlessly with natural surroundings, providing a relaxed and timeless atmosphere.
  5. Retaining Walls and Borders: Tumbled bricks can be used to construct retaining walls, garden borders, and raised flower beds. Their weathered appearance adds a touch of elegance and creates a harmonious integration with the surrounding landscape.
  6. Restoration Projects: Tumbled bricks are favoured for historical restoration projects. They can help replicate the appearance of original antique bricks, maintaining the historical integrity of buildings.


Tumbled bricks are specialised construction materials that undergo a mechanical aging process to achieve a weathered and antique appearance. Their unique characteristics make them versatile and appealing for a wide range of applications, including facades, pathways, outdoor living spaces, and restoration projects. By understanding the manufacturing process and the various applications of tumbled bricks, architects, builders, and homeowners can effectively incorporate these materials into their construction and landscaping projects, adding a touch of timeless beauty and charm to their designs.

To find out more about our range of brick slips please follow our social media for updates on new products and recent projects.

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