How to Hang Something from a Brick Wall.

There are only 2 things more terrifying to a homeowner than drilling into brick: drilling into drywall and realizing you did a load of laundry during peak hydro hours. Hanging something on brick shouldn’t give you a stress twitch – you have two options, and both of them are easy.

Curtain rod bracket attached to brick wall with concrete screws.

Hey Karen! How do you drill into brick? 

As a doer of stuff I get a lot of questions from friends, neighbours, readers and people I run into in the grocery store. The grocery store people’s question is normally “Do you always buy so many carbs?” And my answer is always “Why, yes! Yes I do.

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.

Honestly hanging stuff off of brick is not a big deal and you have a few ways to go about it.

So today … I’m gonna teach you how to drill into brick. 

By the way, 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.)

First a look at how you do it.

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.

 

 
 

Hanging Something Heavy

You’re going to need to drill into it if you want to hang anything heavy on a brick or concrete wall. There’s no way around it. 

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.

OPTION 1

Drilling into Brick or Concrete

To screw into brick there are only two things you need.  Anchor screws ( Walldog, Tapcon, concrete screw, or 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.

 

Blue anchor screws laid on wood.

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 if you only have a regular drill it’ll work fine, it’ll just take a tiny bit longer to drill through the cement, concrete or brick.

Do You Need a Hammer Drill?

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.

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.

Masonry bit with arrowhead end shown against the background of a brick wall.

Masonry drill bit

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 don’t drill your holes into mortar, drill into the brick because it’s much stronger.

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 get all of this stuff from regular hardware stores.

A tapcon screwed into the mortar of a brick wall.

 

 
 
Now you’re wondering about an impact driver aren’t you?  No? You don’t care about impact drivers? Too bad I’m going to tell you about them anyway because I just know some of you are going to pull out an impact driver for this job.
 
How to Hang Something from a Brick Wall.

How to Hang Something from a Brick Wall.

Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Estimated Cost: $5

Materials

  • 3/16th anchor screws
  • 5/32 masonry drill bit

Tools

  • Hammer drill
  • or
  • Regular drill

Instructions

  1. Mark the spot you're going to drill on the brick wall with a Sharpie.
  2. With your drill perfectly level, drill into the brick using the masonry bit. Keep the drill straight and don't wiggle it around so your hole is straight. If you wiggle the drill around while drilling your hole will be wider than it should be.
  3. Drill into the brick the same depth that the screw is. (1.5" screw needs a 1.5" drill hole)
  4. Screw your anchor screw or Tapcon into the hole using a regular drill.

Notes

Remember to keep your drill level while you're using it.

Recommended Products

I'm an Amazon affiliate some I get a few cents when you buy something I've linked to.

 

Do you Need An Impact Driver

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.  

O.K. so what if you don’t have a drill and don’t have it in you to drill a hole in your brick wall but you still want to hang something on it?
 
OPTION 2
Alternatives to Drilling.
 
The Brick Clip. These clips work the best on newer bricks that have sharp edges and are uniform in size. If you’re *lucky* you can get them to work on older hand formed bricks (like I have at my house) but they’re really meant for modern bricks.
 
Two different types of brick clips for hanging lightweight objects on brick.
 
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.
 
Brick clips attached to a 200 year old brick wall.
 
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.
 
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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How to Hang Something from a Brick Wall.

66 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. Douglas says:

    Great job

  3. NICK says:

    Thanks, it was helpful for me.

  4. 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….

  5. Lynne Burns says:

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. Jennie Lee says:

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

  9. 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?

  10. 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!

  11. 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!

  12. 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!

  13. 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

  14. Diane R. says:

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

  15. 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!

  16. 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!

  17. 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.

  18. maria-to says:

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

  19. Judy DeLacy says:

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

  20. Wendi Miller says:

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

  21. Ardith says:

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

  22. 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!

      • Brenda says:

        I really liked
        it
        sdrawkcab

  23. 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!

  24. 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!

  25. 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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