Should You Put Screws in Brick or Mortar?

When it comes to deciding whether to put screws in brick or mortar, several factors need to be considered. If the brick is showing signs of old age, such as spalling and flaws, drilling into the mortar might be a better option. Additionally, matching the color of your brick when filling holes can be a challenging task. On the other hand, mortar is generally easier to drill through as it’s a softer substance compared to brick. Moreover, repairing or patching mortar is also easier than fixing brick. Therefore, understanding the condition of your brickwork and weighing the pros and cons of drilling into either material will help determine the best approach for your specific situation.

Is It Bad to Screw Into Brick?

Additionally, drilling into mortar provides a more secure and stable anchor point compared to drilling into brick. Mortar is typically softer and less likely to crack or crumble under the pressure of a screw. This reduces the chances of your screw coming loose or your decorative item falling off.

Furthermore, bricks can be quite dense and require special drill bits or masonry screws to penetrate effectively. Without the proper tools or techniques, drilling directly into brick can be time-consuming and frustrating.

If you drill into the wrong location or decide to move or replace your decorative item, repairing the mortar is relatively simple. On the other hand, fixing damaged or drilled-out bricks can be a more complex and costly task.

This approach minimizes the risk of damaging the brick, provides a more secure anchor point, preserves the aesthetics of the brickwork, and allows for easier repairs or modifications down the line. Take the time to locate the mortar lines correctly before drilling, and use appropriate tools and techniques to ensure a successful and long-lasting installation.

Pros and Cons of Drilling Into Brick for Decorative Items

  • Pros:
  • Provides a convenient way to hang decorative items
  • Allows for customization of living spaces
  • Adds visual interest and personal touches to brick walls
  • Can be easily updated or changed as desired
  • Cons:
  • May weaken the structural integrity of the brick
  • Could lead to cracks or damage in the brick over time
  • Requires drilling and potentially damaging the brick surface
  • Can be challenging to repair or cover up if decorative items are removed

When it comes to screwing into brick, you’ll only require two essential items: screw anchors for concrete (such as Walldog, Tapcon, concrete screw, or screw anchors) and a masonry drill bit. These tools are the fundamental necessities for securely fastening objects onto brick surfaces. Now, let’s explore the process of screwing into brick in further detail.

Can I Screw Straight Into Brick?

To properly screw into brick, you first need to choose the right type of screw anchor for concrete. There are different options available, including Walldog, Tapcon, concrete screw, or simply screw anchors specifically designed for masonry surfaces. These screws are specifically engineered to withstand the tough and porous nature of brick, ensuring a secure hold.

Equally important is having a masonry drill bit, as using a regular drill bit may prove ineffective or even damage both the brick and the bit. A masonry drill bit is designed to create clean and precise holes in the hard material of the brick. It’s advisable to choose a drill bit size that matches the diameter of your screw anchor for optimal performance.

When you’ve the proper materials, the next step is to mark the desired location on the brick where you want your screw to be placed. Using a pencil or marker, ensure you’ve an accurate mark for drilling. Then, attach the masonry drill bit to your power drill and use a low speed setting to gradually drill into the marked spot on the brick.

As you drill, apply firm and steady pressure to prevent the drill bit from slipping and causing any damage. Aim for a depth that matches the length of your chosen screw anchor. Once the hole is drilled, you can remove any debris or dust using a brush or compressed air.

Finally, it’s time to insert the screw anchor into the drilled hole. By using a screwdriver or drill with the appropriate screwdriver bit, gently drive the screw anchor into the hole until it’s flush with the surface of the brick. Make sure the screw anchor is securely in place, and then you can proceed to screw in your desired item or fixture into the anchor.

Tips for Removing Screws From Brick Without Damaging the Surface

  • Start by selecting the right size of screwdriver for the screw head.
  • Apply a penetrating oil to the screw to help loosen it.
  • Gently tap the screwdriver into the screw head to create a better grip.
  • Slowly and steadily turn the screw counterclockwise to remove it.
  • If the screw is stuck, try applying heat to the surrounding area with a hairdryer.
  • Consider using a screw extractor tool to remove stripped screws.
  • Be patient and avoid using excessive force, as this can cause further damage to the brick surface.

Tapcon screws can be effectively used in mortar joints between brick and block, in addition to concrete, brick, and block surfaces. The holding values are determined by the hardness of the base material, requiring less embedment in firmer materials. For Tapcon® concrete screws, the recommended minimum embedment is 1 inch, while the maximum is 1-3/4 inches.

Can Tapcon Screws Be Used in Mortar?

Tapcon screws can indeed be used in mortar as long as it meets the required specifications. It’s important to note that Tapcons are primarily designed for use in concrete, brick, and block, but mortar joints between bricks and blocks can also be suitable installation points. The holding values of Tapcon screws can vary depending on the base material, with harder materials requiring less embedment for sufficient strength.

The minimum embedment depth for a Tapcon concrete screw is 1 inch, which ensures a secure and reliable installation. However, it’s crucial to not exceed the maximum embedment depth of 1-3/4 inches, as this could compromise the integrity and effectiveness of the screw. Striking a balance between embedment depth and the hardness of the base material is essential for a successful installation.

When using Tapcons in mortar, it’s recommended to pre-drill holes using a hammer drill with the appropriate size and type of masonry bit. This ensures proper placement and alignment of the screw and minimizes the chances of damaging the mortar. Care should be taken to avoid excessive torque, as it may cause the mortar to crack or break.

These screws excel in concrete, brick, and block installations, and their versatility extends to mortar applications as well.

Proper Technique for Pre-Drilling Holes in Mortar for Tapcon Screw Installation.

  • Ensure you’ve the necessary tools: hammer drill, masonry drill bit, safety goggles, ear protection
  • Mark the location where the Tapcon screw will be inserted using a pencil or marker
  • Put on your safety goggles and ear protection
  • Choose an appropriate-sized masonry drill bit for the Tapcon screw
  • Insert the masonry drill bit into the hammer drill and securely tighten it
  • Hold the drill perpendicular to the mortar surface and apply steady pressure
  • Slowly drill into the mortar, avoiding any excessive force or speeding up the drilling process
  • Once the desired depth is reached, gradually remove the drill bit from the hole
  • Clean any debris from the hole using a small brush or compressed air
  • Insert the Tapcon screw into the hole and use a screwdriver or drill to tighten it securely
  • Repeat the process for the remaining holes
  • Ensure all Tapcon screws are properly installed and tightened before proceeding


Ultimately, it’s crucial to carefully assess the condition of the brick and consider the practicality and aesthetics before deciding whether to drill into brick or mortar.

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