Mounting a Mantel to a Brick Fireplace

Suggestions for drill bits and fasteners for attaching wood to brick. July 28, 2012

I am making a fireplace surround and will be mounting it to a brick wall. What is the best bit for drilling into brick for anchors?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor A:
Masonry. Go one size smaller than they recommend for the anchor. Bricks turn to dust quick.

From contributor R:
I've tried masonry bits before, but they didn't seem to work very well. Thought there might be something better.

From contributor M:
I was only in this situation one time several years ago. I had to screw cabinets to a brick wall on a back porch. I burned up three masonry bits before I realized that I could drill holes in the mortar joints and put the screws into that. Not saying that's the way to do it properly, but it worked and they have never called back with any problems. Hope I never have to do it again.

From contributor L:
Are you using a hammer drill? We use a Bosch 11224 and it drills into brick and concrete about as fast as you drill into wood with a typical drill. That's assuming you are drilling small anchor holes and not plumbing holes.

From contributor E:
Don't use anchors. Drill your hole with a masonry bit and attach your mounting boards with tapcon screws. Don't try to drill into the mortar as it will sometimes crumble or crack and not hold the fastener.

From contributor A:
We hang stuff on bricks all the time in South AU. The house I live in is called double brick construction. Two brick walls separated by an air gap. Never try to anchor into a mortar joint.

From contributor S:
Hammer drill with masonry bit and Tapcons. No anchors. Use the proper drill bit diameter for the Tapcon screws you're using. I drill into concrete and concrete blocks all the time, and have no problems. Bricks are like butter compared to concrete. Really, you don't even need the hammer drill with brick, but it will go quicker.

From contributor R:
The easiest thing to do when mounting into brick, stone, etc. is locate where you want to mount the item (mantle, cabinet, etc.), use a 7/16 masonry bit to pre-drill a hole, insert a piece of 1/2" dowel rod into the hole, and then use regular wood screws. The dowel will be tight but it will go in with some gentle love taps. Once you run the wood screw into the dowel, it will compress even tighter to the brick, and then it is set for life.