When I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago on how to make some simple planter boxes you were all quite pleased with that, but what you REALLY wanted to know was how I got my planter box brackets attached to my brick house.




That was your question.  So today … I’m gonna teach you.  I could have taken this question answering opportunity to answer the very popular question “Karen … how many burritos can you eat in one sitting?” but I’m gonna go with drilling into brick.



To screw into brick there are only two things you need.  Anchor screws ( Walldog, concrete screw, screw anchor) and a masonry drill bit.

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 with a special tip on the end.  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 spade-like tip on it … that’s a masonry bit.

Technically they work best with a hammer drill but it doesn’t matter.  It’ll work fine with a regular drill too, it’ll just take a tiny bit longer to drill through the cement or brick.




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.

You need to use a drill bit that’s a size or two smaller than your anchor screw, otherwise your hole will be too big and your screw will just slide right in.

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




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

Need a video tutorial?  Here you go.



  1. I have a solid brass Baldwin doorbell I want to install. The holes are sized for #2 screws. The solid brass screws provided by Baldwin were too short (and for wood). I purchased #2-56 1″ Slotted Drive Round Head Brass Machine screws.

    I tried finding anchors for mortar but came up empty-handed.

    I’m having my mason drill two holes.

    Will I need anchors for cement? Or will the machine screws work in newly applied mortar?

    Please advise.

  2. Randolph Williams says:

    So, the 1/4″x 1-3/4″ screws pulled right out of the mortar after drilling with the 3/16″ bit, as recommended by Tapcon for use with 1/4″ anchors. This combination did not work at all and has left me with two 1/4″ holes in the wall.


    • Karen says:

      Hi Randolph. The only way I could see that this wouldn’t work is if you weren’t steady with your drill. If you move at all while drilling it can increase the size of your hole. Or if you went in and out a couple of times for instance. Otherwise, if your tapcons are indeed 1/4″ and the drill bit you used was definitely 3/16ths, they shouldn’t be any slippage. If you have 1/4″ holes in your walls, the obvious solution is to get some slightly larger than 1/4″ Tapcons to use. Good luck. ~ karen!

  3. Michael says:

    We want to hang a wreath from the brick above our fireplace. We had a large, metal command hook for a few years but it eventually came off and took some things with it. I am afraid to use something less secure than drilling. That being said, is it advisable to get some kind of hook that the anchor can be put through or is the screw alone perfectly fine to hold up to a few pounds?

  4. Babs says:

    Excellent explanation! However, I disagree with your advice that one can drill into the mortar or the brick. Yes, it is possible, but not advisable to drill holes in brick on outdoor surfaces. If water seeps into the brick where is has been damaged, a freeze/thaw cycle can crack the brick further. The mortar is replaceable but the bricks are meant to last.

  5. I find its better to go into the break unless the bricks are older and fragile then they can shatter but a good condition break is stronger and can hold more any day of the week!

    Good article though.

  6. Todd says:

    Problem for me with drilling into brick is that old brick (which is what I have) can crack and crumble….after all it is just clay.
    Problem with drilling into Mortar is that my brick wall has the brick sticking out farther than the mortar by a good 3/4″ so there is a gap that will be present when the item is drilled to the mortar and the screw will not be be able to be drilled all the way in.

  7. Douglas says:

    Great job

  8. NICK says:

    Thanks, it was helpful for me.

  9. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    So…if mediums = 2 tacos each & larges = 3 tacos each…you must eat a hell of a lot of tacos…oh and thanks for this post cause I want to hang some cool stuff on the side of my concrete block shed….

  10. Lynne Burns says:

    Finally. I know what to buy to hang the ‘welcome to the circus’ sign next to my front door.

  11. Jackie says:

    Karen – Something happened…… I didn’t get these last 2 blog posts – And I missed them something awful. I was beginning to think something had happened to you & you quit posting. I signed up again so maybe I’ll get tomorrow’s post – at least I hope so. I don’t want to miss any of them. They used to just pop up in my email & then I had to start opening them in my browser – never did figure out why. But I definitely want to keep getting them. I love what you do & how you write.

    • Rebecca says:

      This happened to me too!?

      I saw this one in my Pinterest feed otherwise I would have missed it, they don’t pop up in my email anymore 🙁

      • Karen says:

        Thanks so much for letting me know Jackie and Rebecca! I’ve checked and you’re both subscribed and my email sender (Mailchimp) sent you both the emails. Could you check your spam/trash/junk folders? I’ll contact Mailchimp and see if there’s some reason my emails might be disappearing after they’ve been sent! Again, thanks! ~ karen

        • Rebecca says:

          I checked my junk mail – no posts hiding there.

          But it looks like it is resolved on my end – got your grocery shopping post this morning no problem 🙂

          I’ll just chalk it up to gremlins – but at least you know that your subscribers are actively following your blog to such an extent that Jackie and I were concerned when we didn’t get our usual emails!!

          That’s proof of your awesomeness 🙂

        • Jackie says:

          Just checked – not in junk email. Also – I did not get today’s post either. I don’t want to miss any of them.

        • Karen says:

          Hi Jackie! Do you happen to have a security spam blocker on your computer called Barracuda? It seems for some bizarre reason Barracuda has blacklisted my emails from people. I have no idea why and have contacted them and haven’t had a response as of yet. Lemme know! ~ karen!

        • Jackie says:

          No – I have nothing like that – never even heard of it. I hope this is fixed soon because I don’t want to miss any of your posts. Thanks for helping.

        • Karen says:

          Hi Jackie! No idea what’s going on. I’ll look into it further. In the meantime do you have another email address I can subscribe you with to see if that works? ~ karen!

        • Jackie says:

          No I only have the one email address.

  12. j says:

    Got a super-Karen-tastic recipe for the buritto? [can’t spell, yet!]

    • Karen says:

      Hmm. My favourite right now is the Thug Kitchen’s roasted broccoli and chick pea burrito, but anything you put in a burrito is good as long as you have the right toppings and finish it properly. You need avocado, cilantro, salsa, and a bit of lime juice with a chicken burrito and finish it by pan frying it in about a tablespoon of oil after it’s all wrapped up. THAT’S the trick. 🙂 ~ karen!

  13. Jennie Lee says:

    Karen, can I assume these instructions apply to drilling concrete/cinder blocks as well? Thanks.

  14. Linda in Illinois says:

    I love that video, thank you for making it seems simple for us non math majors, the chicks are so cute, a swing? hummm – I want your screwdriver too, what is it called and where do I get one?

  15. Maryanne says:

    Love your videos Karen! You do everything so well 🙂

    My problem with drill holes into concrete/brick is the patching that needs to happen if something goes wrong/needs to be changed. I’m more that a little paranoid about causing cracks in my foundation (my husband says not to worry, but I can’t help myself). Our basement is under renovation and hubs is willing to drill willy nilly to put up shelves, but I can’t bring myself to do it. Any inspiring words of confidence? Or tips on how to fill concrete/brick holes?

    Can’t wait to see the chicken swing in action!

  16. KariMcD says:

    Thank you for this! Was perusing Pinterest for shelving ideas to go on a concrete wall. Now I know I might actually be able to do it!

  17. Jennie says:

    Since you need a vacation and you can’t get there, treat yourself to a hammer drill. I drill into brick and mortar allot, it’s a nice girl tool to have. My hammer drill has two settings, one for hammer drilling and one for regular drilling.
    I knew what you meant about the 5/32 drill bit.
    Here in the states, your tapcon cement screws include the right drill bit right IN the box with ’em.
    Easy peasy!

    • Karen says:

      We do that in Canada too, lol. It just depends on what you buy. (a package with the drill bit or not). I have a hammer drill … or maybe it’s an impact driver, lol. I don’t know … I never use it. They are handy though. ~ karen!

  18. Ann says:

    I have a chicken swing. And obviously chicken chickens. Out of all of them, only 1 will ever get on it and that is rare and for just a few minutes at best. But the guineas love it. love to pick at the ropes that is…

    Hope your littles are all still doing well. My 1 little is still growing and happy living life with it’s 3 mothers

  19. Diane R. says:

    Great info Karen and I love the swing for the chicks. You’re the best chick Mommy!

  20. Susan says:

    Small words, short sentences, and the crucial info that no-one ever tells you – use a drill bit that is two sizes smaller than the screw! I swear Karen, you could teach me to do anything. So now I know why I always have such a hard time hanging stuff. I’ve been matching the drill bit size to the size of the screw. Although, now that I think about it, it makes perfect sense. Here’s a confession. I did have to read it twice before understanding that 5/32 is smaller than 3/16. The numbers are bigger, how can it be smaller? Gosh I hate math, or anything to do with numbers really. But if I had a whole set of drill bits in front of me and moved down two in size that would be obvious I guess. Still Karen, thanks for dumbing it down without condescending! When you do something you’ve never done before any little part of it can trip you up. Hi chickens!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Susan! A lot of people have trouble hanging things on walls, brick or otherwise. With drywall you only need to go down one size, not two. And you should always do a discrete test spot because it really depends on the screw or anchor you’re using. ~ karen!

  21. Ev Wilcox says:

    You put up a swing for your chickens? Awww, what a nice chicken mama! Thanks for the hanging post-will be fun to see how they do with it!

  22. Mark says:

    Nice video Karen! My only gripe with the Tapcons is that they use the awful Phillips head. :/

    • bill keiser says:

      I agree. Phillips screws are horrible. You need a good screwdriver of the right size and a lot of force against it or it will slip. Torx(aka star) heads are better. Tapcons also come in hex heads that you can use a socket on if you have room, but not torx. (Their Phillips head screws will go in flush, but the hex heads don’t.)

      • Cred says:

        Agreed, Mark and Bill! I hate Phillips head screws. Not much to add just had to commiserate about Phillips screws- they often produce a lot of bad language in my shop. The issue with force is my problem when I’m reaching above shoulder height, I don’t have the upper body strength to do it myself- I don’t like to rely on hubby (I need him to save his strength for opening pickle jars)
        I’m a fan of Robertson head (Canadian design) so may not be available in the States.
        I use the hex head tapcons, too.

  23. maria-to says:

    omg you crack me up! i was not expecting a chicken swing — can’t wait to see the swinging chicks!!

  24. Judy DeLacy says:

    Yay, the swing is up. Can’t wait to see if the chickens like it. ♥

  25. Wendi Miller says:

    A chicken swing, eh? Well that sounds like all kinds of fun! Looking forward to that video :o)

  26. Ardith says:

    Great video and can’t wait to see the chickens try out their new swing. Cheers, Ardith

  27. Denise Leavens says:

    Karen, just how many burritos CAN you eat in one sitting?

    • Karen says:

      Three large or 2 medium. But I feel sick. So really just one. But never just one. ~ karen!

      • Denise Leavens says:

        Yes. Well. I guess it’s hard to make an entire blog post about one, but never just one burrito in one sitting.

        But with the sick bit, you could stretch the post out a bit more.

        Actually, you being Karen and all, you would be able to make a blog post about the burrito thing no problem!

      • Karen says:

        LOL. I said that backwards. 3 medium or two large! The rest of my previous comment is completely accurate. 🙂 ~ karen!

  28. Stephanie Hobson says:

    Karen, you left an incomplete sentence in this post. “For example, I used a 3/16th screw with a…” You must’ve been distracted by something very important, like a burrito. lol

    • Karen says:

      I think I might have been distracted by the need for a vacation, lol. 2 sizes down from the 3/16th is the 5/32 drill bit. 🙂 ~ karen!

  29. sara easton says:

    You “used a 3/16th screw with a” …. WHAT DID YOU USE IT WITH??? Don’t leave us hanging!

    • Karen says:

      LOL. Sorry ’bout that Sara … with a 5/32 drill bit. 🙂 ~ karen! But it all depends on what you’re hanging and the size of your anchor screw. Just make sure it’s 2 sizes down and do a test hole to make sure it works. ~ karen!

  30. Ana says:

    Agh! This is great! It’s so hard to get anything on brick, it’s always crumbled on me when I’ve tried any other way, or the screw just gets stripped. Thanks Karen!

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