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How Can I Hang Items on a Brick Wall?

Though brick is a very strong building material, it's porous and can crack, crumble, or break with improper handling.
When installing hooks, screws, and anchors into brick, it's critical to work slowly and carefully, and with the proper tools; an electric drill with a carbide masonry bit is required if you are using lead anchors.
Masonry drill bits are necessary to bore holes into brick walls.
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  • Written By: Lynne William
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 August 2014
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Though it's not a difficult process, specific materials are required to safely hang items on a brick wall. Brick is a very strong building material, but it's also very porous, and improper handling can cause it to easily crack, crumble, or break.

Picture hangers for concrete and brick are the best option for hanging most artwork. Also called brick hooks or brick clips, these specialized picture hangers typically come in sizes able to support up to 30 pounds (13.6 kg), 50 pounds (22.7 kg), and 100 pounds (45.4 kg). The hangers are easy to use and readily available at most home improvement superstores as well as smaller hardware stores.

A brick and concrete picture hanger consists of a small piece of gold-, silver-, or bronze-colored metal, with a hook-shaped bottom and a hole that penetrates the top. Also included with the hanger set is a brass-plated, unbendable nail that has an extremely sharp tip. Installation is quite easy: after positioning the hanger on the brick wall, simply insert the brass-plated nail into the hole on the hanger and gently tap it with a hammer. It's best to place the nail directly into the brick rather than into the surrounding mortar, as the mortar will probably be too fragile to support the weight of the item being hung.

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Concrete screws are another option to hang items on a brick wall, and depending on size, they can bear different weight loads. These screws are very hard so that they can be drilled into brick and concrete without damaging them. They are also specially threaded in order to dig into the surface of the brick wall and to grip securely once installed. An electric drill, with a low-speed setting and equipped with a carbide masonry bit, is necessary to install a concrete screw into a brick wall. A hole that is slightly smaller than the diameter of the screw is carefully drilled at a downward, 45° angle into the brick. Replacing the masonry bit with a standard screwdriver bit, the concrete screw should then be slowly drilled into the hole until it is tightened securely.

You can also use lead anchors. As with the concrete screws, an electric drill with a low speed setting and a carbide masonry bit are required. With the masonry bit, a hole just large enough to hold the anchor should be drilled at a 45° downward angle into the brick. The anchor should then be gently tapped into the hole with a hammer. The final step is to insert the screw that comes packaged with the anchor. The sides of the anchor will expand and flare out inside the hole as the screw is inserted. Either a hand screwdriver or the electric drill on slow speed and fitted with a standard screwdriver bit can be used to install the screw into the anchor.

When installing hooks, screws, and anchors into brick, it's important to remember to work slowly and carefully, and to use the proper materials and tools. It's not difficult to hang items on a brick wall, but rushing or using the wrong tools or materials to attach the hardware can cause damage to the brick that can be quite costly to repair.

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anon949909
Post 7

I did not use anchors when I put my cement screws in a solid cement wall.

anon329885
Post 5

If it is just a picture or a mirror, I use plastic dowels. First, I use a small masonry drill bit (like 4mm) with the impact drill, then a larger, and possibly another, larger one until I get the hole and depth for the dowel. Then fit the dowel and screw in the screw. Done.

Just make sure the hole is longer than the dowel, and the dowel fits the intended screw. You want to have a real tight fit. Make sure the drill bit is centered and only makes a hole as big as the diameter of the drill bit.

If you drill through bathroom tiles, do not use the impact drill on the tiles. Go through the tiles with the non-impact drill and when you hit the brick or concrete, switch to impact. And for drilling through the tiles, make sure to cool the drill bit often.

gravois
Post 4

Do I need to be concerned about breaking up the bricks if I drill into them? I live in a very old home and some of the bricks are not in the best shape. I don't want to collapse a wall just because I am hanging a picture.

Ivan83
Post 3

I looked up how to hang a shelf on a brick wall and it sounds like I am going to need more tools than I own, or at least a drill.

Is there someplace where I can rent that kind of stuff? What about hand tools? I think I can figure everything out once I get all the tools and materials, but I don't have the tools.

Belted
Post 2

Hanging things on brick can be a real pain in the neck. One alternative you might consider is to hang things from the ceiling on long cords, strings or cables instead. This can be tricky too, but not as hard as trying to screw into brick or use intense adhesives.

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