How to Hang Something from a Brick Wall.

There is only 1 thing more terrifying to a homeowner than drilling into brick: drilling into drywall. Hanging something on brick shouldn't give you a stress twitch - you have two options, and both of them are easy.

If you're looking for how to hang something on drywall you should read this post. Concrete Screws With Anchors

One of the scariest things for homeowners is drilling into things: drywall, studs, cupboards doors, teeth.

If you have something you want to hang on brick you're going to have to get over this phobia and just do it. If you're worried about putting holes in your drywall because you think they're there forever, they aren't. Here's how to easily fix holes in drywall. And you can patch holes in brick as well.

Honestly hanging stuff off of brick is not a big deal. You CAN hang that flatscreen tv mount over your fireplace (if you have a real wood burning fireplace like I do, you also have a real brick chimney above the fireplace.) Dealing with hiding the cable is another story.

Take a deep breath and calm the hell down. You can do this. Remember that time you made it through the worst stomach flu ever where you had to sit on the toilet AND hold a trash can in front of you? You made it through that, you'll make it through this.

So today ... I'm gonna teach you how to drill into brick even if all you have is something little like my battery operated Ryobi.

You can hang something on a brick wall in about 39 seconds as long as you have a masonry bit, an anchor screw and a drill.

You're not pulling your own teeth here, you're just drilling a hole. You'll be fine.

Need a video tutorial for some convincing?  Here you go. It's stars me and my chickens from a few years ago.

Slightly off topic, but since getting chickens 10 years ago I've spent a lot of time developing a really good DIY fly trap that actually works. So if have fly issues click on that link and learn how to make a homemade trap, what kind of bait to use etc. etc.

I have a lot of brick walls in my house. It's a red brick Ontario cottage complete with English cottage garden that's been added onto several times over the years, most recently in about 1910. That means a lot of my interior walls are brick because they used to be the exterior walls.

Therefore - I'm loaded up with inside and outside brick wall experience and the problems they pose.

I painted some of my interior brick walls and that took a lot more courage on my part than drilling into them ever has. Mainly because sandblasting an interior brick wall to get rid of the paint is a more terrifying nightmare than filling a little drill hole.

If that's a fear of yours then you should read about restoring original brick without sandblasting or stripping. They used this technique on a big heritage building in my town and it was amazing.

To screw into brick there are only two things you need. Screw anchors for concrete ( Walldog, Tapcon, concrete screw, or screw anchors are all types of masonry screws) and a masonry drill bit. Those are the absolute basics.

The anchor screw looks like a regular screw, and it is ... but it also has an extra set of raised threads that help it cut and grip into very hard material like brick or concrete.

A masonry drill bit is a regular old drill bit that's made of steel with a special tip on the end that's made of tungsten carbide.  If you're at home and you don't know if what you have is a masonry drill bit just look at the end of it.  If it has a a sharp arrow like tip on it ... that's a masonry bit.

Technically they work best with a hammer drill but if you only have a regular drill it'll work fine, it'll just take a tiny bit longer to drill through the concrete or brick.

Into the brick or the mortar?

It's easier to drill into the mortar than it is into the brick because the mortar is softer, but sometimes the grout just isn't where you need your hole.  

So you can drill straight into brick too, it will just take you a bit longer and dull your bit quicker.

If you're going to hang something heavy plan on drilling into the brick because it's stronger and more dense.

Old (pre 1900 or so) mortar is soft and not as strong by design. Historic homes in particular have red clay brick that was fired in a coal oven. This type of brick is generally soft and expands, contracts, absorbs and releases moisture throughout the seasons, which means the mortar has to be even softer to allow for the bricks' movement and moisture release.

Before you drill make sure there isn't a chance of electrical wires or obstacles in the way. For instance, get rid of any livestock that might be wandering around. Like chickens. Chickens are notoriously sneaky obstacles.

Take a look at the brick you're drilling into. You want new brick that's in good condition or old brick in the same condition. Don't drill into a brick that's showing signs of distress in case you crack it or it crumbles.

A standard drill like you have at home is all you'll need if you're hanging a television over your fireplace or attaching a hammock to the outside wall of your house. If you're using a masonry bit it will penetrate brick or mortar.

A hammer drill is what's necessary if your job requires drilling bigger holes or into very hard materials like natural stone and some concrete.

For most jobs you can just use a regular drill like you have at home. Corded or battery is fine. It's only when you get into very hard materials like stone that you could burn out the motor on your home drill and might need to upgrade to a strong industrial drill (you can rent a drill like this by the hour or day.) Renting a drill will cost you about $50 a day but you can rent them for half a day as well.

A hammer driver is a drill that doesn't only spin, like a regular drill does, it also bangs up and down like a hammer. So you get twice as much force with a hammer drill because the drill is working in two separate ways to drill: by rotating and by pounding.

There are two types of hammering drills: rotary and standard.

Standard hammering drill are used for drilling ½" holes or less.

Rotary hammer drills are needed if your holes are going to be bigger than ½".

If you're going to buy a hammer drill, but you didn't even know what one was until you just read about it in the blurb up there, don't go out and buy a $200 hammer drill. You're not going to need it and chances are it'll be really heavy to hold. Just get a cute little one like this and it'll do what you need.

A screwdriver can come in handy if you need to tighten or loosen just a tiny bit. For women a large drill, especially if you're holding it up high, can get heavy. If that's the case, ditch the drill once you have your pilot hole drilled and just use the screwdriver for screwing in the anchor/screw.

For example, I used a 3/16th screw with a 5/32 drill bit, which is 2 sizes down in a standard bit kit.

So REMEMBER to drill your pilot hole smaller than the anchor or screw you are using.

You can get all of this stuff from regular hardware stores, it may seem like weird stuff but it's actually pretty regular.

2. If your anchor is going to be quite big, requiring a big hole, then drill an initial pilot hole first. This hole will act as a guide for your larger drill bit making it easier to drill straight in and stop it from taking off on an angle.

A Special Announcement about Torque

Firstly, what the hell is torque?

Torque is a measurement of force. On a drill, a low number means low force. A high number means high force. For drilling small things you only need low force. For drilling larger things you need high force.

Think of torque like muscles or strength.

Every drill has a dial around the muzzle of it with numbers on it. This dial can be spun around to adjust the drill's clutch (torque.) As far as I can tell only 5 people in the world actually understand how to use this torque dial. So here's the deal in a nutshell ...

If it took you a few shots to get your anchor in the right place you'll need to fill the holes left behind. If you don't, water can build up and when it freezes the water will expand, cracking the brick.

To patch or seal a hole you'll need some putty and a few other things.

2. If your bit *does* get stuck while you're drilling in, reverse the drill out.

Choose the right anchor (if using one)

Nobody thinks an eye patch is sexy. Wear safety glasses or even better safety goggles (goggles don't allow anything to come in contact with your eyes, whereas with glasses fragments can make their way into your eye area from the top or sides.)

Drilling into brick and concrete can release silica. It's a natural material found in everything from rocks to concrete. It's also in bricks and mortar.

Silica particles as small as 0.5 mm and as large as 5mm won't expel from your lungs. They just build up over time which can eventually lead to fibrosis of the lungs and silicosis disease.

Drilling once in an open area without a mask probably isn't going to damage your lungs. But doing so repeatedly will.

So wear your mask/respirator when you're drilling.

Gloves are hard to work in sometimes, I know. But if you have a pair you can work in, wear them.

The drill bit can get hot after all that spinning and friction. Hot enough to burn your hands if you try to remove them right after drilling. So when removing the bit either wait for the bit to cool down or wear gloves and say a prayer. And have Aloe handy.

It's loud. Wear ear protection.

You can also use brick clips for hanging lightweight objects on a brick wall.

How much weight you can hang from them will depend on how well they fit your bricks. If they fit well and are nice and tight you can hang up to 25 lbs from one.

I've bullied these into place on my almost 200 year old brick. I wouldn't want to hang anything heavy off of them but they'd be perfectly fine for hanging a wreath or something like that.

But remember, that brick hangers work best on newer, symmetrical, standard bricks.

You absolutely can. A regular drill will drill through brick just fine. A hammer drill will make the job easier, but a regular drill will and can get the job done.

You bet you can. You just need to use a masonry screw and drill an initial hole with a masonry bit first.

Drilling a pilot hole and not drilling too deep will help prevent cracking.

For brick and mortar a hammer drill isn't necessary. It helps, yes, but you can absolutely drill into either of those materials with a regular drill.

Nope. If you're hanging something less than 650 pounds a Tapcon should work just fine. To use a Tapcon you simply drill a hole 1 size smaller than the Tapcon screw and then screw it directly into the hole.

It all depends on the screw or anchor you use. Check the packaging to see the load your anchor can handle. It's probably more than you think. A small Tapcon inserted 1" into brick can hold 650 lbs.

An impact driver is a bit of a weirdo in the drill family. An impact driver doesn't rotate like a regular drill and it doesn't hammer up and down like a hammer drill.  So how does it work to drive things into hard surfaces? It uses concussive force to pound from the side. Because an impact driver works with side force, it isn't a good choice for drilling holes into anything. The side force of the pounding creates oblong holes, not round ones. This means any screws or anchors you try to set into the hole won't work properly. An impact driver *is* a good choice for driving long screws into wood, it just isn't a good choice for this project of drilling into brick.  

Honestly. Don't worry about it and go ahead and try. It's just a brick wall, not a molar. It won't hurt a bit.

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Tapcon makes a new and improved screw now, and it can save you a huge amount of time. It has gussets (braces, Folks) underneath the head for strengthening, and Man, do they ever work. It matters a LOT when you use a hammering setting with a power drill; regular Tapcon screws will snap off at the head over and over and over. These don't. And you don't have to drill a pilot hole first with the gusseted Tapcons. That's very important when you have to drill a lot of holes in masonry of any kind, though it doesn't matter much if you only need to drill a few. I'm sorry I don't have the exact model to show you at the moment, but they have that same blue coating as the one shown here, and The Home Depot has them.

Oh, yeah. Forgot to mention that I hammerdrilled right into the hard brick with those gusseted Tapco bits, not into the soft, easy-to-drill mortar. No pilot holes needed,either. I used 3"-long bits (for a different, lower-strength purpose, not the loadbearing purpose shown in this article by Karen). I drilled 200 three-inch deep holes that way. I didn't use any super-powerful, gigantic drill, just a Costco-sold DeWalt cordless 3/8" drill that has a switch to go back and forth between smooth drilling and hammerdrilling. It was easy.

Ahrrrg. Should have typed '3-inch-long screws", not 3" bits; you don't need or use drill bits with the gusseted-head Tapcons. I'm actually going to shut up now. Sorry.

This is a superb article. Answered questions on things (like why an impact driver isnt great for drill holes) I have tried to find elsewhere to no avail. This is A+ stuff - thanks!

Great tip! Perfect timing! I really needed this!!!!♥

To find the right sized drill bit to use for pre-drilling, I've been using this trick for decades (not sure where I picked it up from). Hold the screw directly behind the drill bit - both horizontal or vertical will work. If you can see some of the screw's threads behind the drill bit, then you know you're going to have enough 'teeth' in the screw to properly grab your material.

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My name is Karen Bertelsen and I was a television host. In Canada. Which means in terms of notoriety and wealth, I was somewhere on par with the manager of a Sunset Tan in Wisconsin.

I quit television to start a blog with the goal that I could make my living through blogging and never have to host a television show again. And it’s worked out. I’m making a living blogging. If you’re curious, this is how I do that.

So I’m doing this in reverse basically. I’m the only blogger who is trying to NOT get a TV show.

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