Armstrong World Industries is widely known as a manufacturer of vinyl floor coverings. The Lancaster, Pa.-based firm has decided to expand into non-vinyl products in the Southern California, Las Vegas and Arizona markets with BrickWay brick flooring material.
Manufactured in Los Angeles by Maybrik (Dale Baldwin, Aug. 4, 1985), the thin bricks are one-quarter-inch thick, but are real kiln-fired clay bricks, according to Armstrong's Robert K. Marker.
BrickWay can be used inside the house or outside, he said. Six colors are available, three in the tan or beige category and three in brick red tones. Like thin bricks marketed by Maybrik, BrickWay has built-in spacing to provide a uniform grout line, a feature that I consider desirable.
One reason why the product is being introduced in the Southwest is that it's recommended for use over concrete subfloors only, according to Armstrong sources. Many Southwestern homes are constructed with concrete slabs on grade, so this limitation is meaningless unless you live in a house with a raised foundation.
"Brick floors are often admired, but rarely specified because of the weight of the bricks--almost three pounds for each brick--and the thickness," Marker said. "Until the introduction of thin bricks like BrickWay, the structure had to be designed for brick flooring.
"Now homeowners can install brick where carpeting or vinyl floor covering once was, often without even trimming the door bottoms for proper clearance."
Uses are limited only by the imagination of the homeowner, architect, designer or contractor. BrickWay thin bricks can be combined with thin wood strips for a particularly interesting effect. The bricks can be installed in basket weave and (illustrated) herringbone designs, among dozens of configurations.
The sample that Armstrong sent me has a dull finish, rather than a glazed one. Armstrong makes a protective finish called Brickmate that is recommended for interior floors, Marker said.
Other than periodic application of this product and the task of grout cleaning, all the maintenance required is an occasional mopping.
BrickWay can be installed by do-it-yourselfers or professionals. On average, a professional installation, including materials and labor, will run about $60 to $70 a square yard, Marker said.
A color brochure on BrickWay is available from Armstrong dealers (listed under "floor materials" in the consumer Yellow Pages) or from Armstrong World Industries Inc., P.O. Box 3001, Lancaster, Pa. 17604.