Hanging Cabinets on a Brick Wall

Tips on installing to brick, including advice on trouble-free Tapcon installation and a method involving epoxy and threaded rod. August 28, 2010

I've got a large wall of uppers and lowers to hang on exposed brick. What's your favorite method?

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor M:
I spent some time last year as a PM on a new school with approximately 400K in cabinets, and all were hung over block walls with Tapcons. Works great and not difficult to do. You do need a good hammer drill, or it will drive you crazy. Good bits as well.

From contributor D:
Two words: French cleat.

From contributor S:
Whenever I attach to brick, I use a French cleat type strip with one at the top and one at the bottom of the run of cabinets. With brick you have two major issues to address: uneven surface, and occasional screws stripping. A cleat will span most minor undulations in the face of the brick, and with a continuous area for screw placement, you can easily relocate stripped screws into the next brick if one strips out. Tapcons in the mortar will tend to break the mortar, so I locate my fasteners in the center or the brick.

From contributor T:
I would go with some type of anchor in a brick wall, or concrete. If it was a concrete block (hollow) I would use Zip toggles. No Tapcons - they can strip or snap off, and don't try and remove and reinstall. That's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

From contributor M:
The secret to success with Tapcons is to drill the holes at least half an inch deeper than screw depth, or even more if using really long screws. Stripping and snapping is usually caused by the chips from the self tapping action of the screws not having a place to escape. If the holes are drilled deep enough, there is plenty of space for the chips to go and the screw goes in cleanly. Over a thousand cabinets were hung on the school I presided over, and I've observed this method on numerous other schools and commercial buildings, all without significant problems. The time involved in drilling and placing anchors is astronomical when multiplied by the number of cabinets. If one has a really good hammer drill and quality bits, it is simple to get quality holes drilled quickly, and the installation goes smoothly.

From the original questioner:
The brick is in a late 1800's row house type building. Most likely has holes in it. The existing cabinets have not been removed yet, but I think they are on a French cleat. I'm looking into the Camar hanging rail system - anybody tried it?

From contributor T:
Completely agree with the quality of equipment and bits, along with proper procedure, of over drilling for the Tapcons. Just never had success myself. How long will it take to knock in a plastic anchor? Or better yet, how long does it take to cut off a broken head, re-drill, insert and break off another head? Use the French cleat, mark, drill, anchor, shim, and mount. Removable, adjustable and strong.

From contributor G:
Tapcons are dinosaurs if you ask me. I now use Spax multi-material screws available at some fastener shops and through Mcfeelys. You can remove and reuse as well. Use for wood, metal, block, concrete. And most of all, made in the US or Germany.

From contributor Y:
We attached many uppers to old brick in an office. We attached a French cleat to the wall. We epoxied 5" lengths of 3/8 X 16 all-thread into the sound portion of the bricks. The next day we used nylon nuts to attach the French cleats. Very strong and reliable.