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Exposed Brick Walls and How to Hang Things on Them

Last modified: 2019-08-20 | Approximate reading time 2 mins

Even though a brick wall is quite decorative by itself, perhaps it’s not enough and you’re unsatisfied with its blank appearance. Well, just a piece of advice, it is more difficult to hang things (art, shelves, lamps, etc.) on brick, but don’t be discouraged because it’s not impossible!

Exposed interior brick walls

Exposed brick invokes a certain sense of industrial-meets-cozy that can really transform a room. They are popular and chic because of their strength and longevity, both of which contribute to the effortlessly rugged vibe that exposed brick gives to a space. The looks are appealing because it enhances a wall without the need for decorative additions. It is simply the look of a natural state.

Exposed interior brick wall shelf

How to hang on an exposed brick wall

The first major step is to consider the proper tools for hanging on a brick wall because a standard hammer and nails can cause the mortar to crumble as you try to force the nail in. In this case, masonry tools are perfect as they’re designed for such a purpose, like masonry drill bits which can easily penetrate the mortar.

Secondly, placement is everything. Considering the fact that you are planning to drill holes in a wall, it is recommended that you spend some time visualizing where you want your art or mirrors to hang because mistakes can be costly and unseemly, to be frank. 

Get a friend to hold the piece in place so you can see it from various angles to make sure it’s perfectly placed. This way you will be satisfied immediately as it’s very difficult to change after the fact and you’ll have to cover the holes you’ve made in the mortar.

The first thing to remember is that any holes should go in the mortar between each brick and not the brick itself because the mortar is more easily penetrable and holes in bricks can affect their structural integrity and introduce all sorts of problems. Poor quality mortar tends to chip and flake off so it’s important to keep that in mind when starting to drill into the mortar. When using anchors and screws, it’s important to make sure that they are made specifically for brick walls. 

If you wish to hang things that weigh less such as canvases or small mirrors, concrete sleeve anchors will do the trick. Otherwise heavier mounts like those for a TV require something like double expansion anchors which give significantly more support in the concrete for a heavier load. 

Now that the anchors have been inserted into your drilled holes, you can install a masonry-specific screw and you can proceed to hang whatever you like.

Exposed brick wall

Brick clips for exposed brick walls

But if drilling holes isn’t your thing or you don’t want holes in your beautiful brick wall, a less intrusive option would be brick clips. This simple device can be affixed to the brick wall, against an individual brick and clamps between the mortar to allow you to easily hang something on the attached hook, no holes necessary! Available in different sizes, these brick clips are a great, inexpensive solution and can be found at most home improvement stores.

So, hanging things on an exposed brick wall requires a little more work than simple drywall but the effort is worth the reward. Exposed brick walls give a timeless look that adds charm while bringing a cozy aspect that never really goes out of style. This is important for decorating because a timeless space is an enduring one which will always get compliments from guests.

Author: David Ben-Zaken

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