How to Attach a Shelf to a Brick Wall

Written by jason law
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How to Attach a Shelf to a Brick Wall
Attaching shelves to brick is simple if done properly. (BRICK WALL image by brelsbil from

A shelf can be attached to virtually any wall surface with the proper tools. Concrete screws and wall anchors are two of the best options for securing shelf brackets on a brick wall. If done properly, shelves hung on a brick wall will be safe and sturdy, holding much more weight than if they had been hung on drywall.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Level
  • Chalk
  • Hammer drill or electric drill
  • Cement screws or anchors and corresponding screws
  • Carbide drill bit
  • Phillips-head bit (or bit corresponding to the head of the screws)
  • Hammer

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  1. 1

    Determine where the shelf will be installed. Use a level to ensure the shelf is straight, and mark the location of each bracket mounting hole on the wall with chalk. If any hole falls on the mortar between the bricks, adjust the shelf location to ensure each hole will land on solid brick.

    How to Attach a Shelf to a Brick Wall
    Concrete screws will fasten securely to a brick wall if installed properly. (screw image by Dariusz Urbanczyk from
  2. 2

    Drill pilot holes for each of the concrete screws or anchors. Using a hammer drill, drill a hole into each of the markings for the mounting holes on the wall. This also can be done with an electric drill by applying steady force to the back of the drill. Use a carbide bit slightly smaller than the concrete screws or the same size as the anchors. Each hole should be drilled to the length of the screws or anchors. This is accomplished by marking the length on the drill bit with chalk.

  3. 3

    Insert the anchors into the wall (or go to step 4 if using concrete screws). Gently tap an anchor into each hole in the brick with a hammer. The anchors should be flush with the wall.

    How to Attach a Shelf to a Brick Wall
    Wall anchors provide added support and allow for more weight. (wall plugs in a plastic tray image by John Hartley from
  4. 4

    Attach the shelf to the wall by inserting the screws through the mounting holes in the brackets into the pilot holes or the anchors in the wall. Use a drill with a Phillips-head bit, or a bit corresponding to the head of the screws. Begin with the uppermost holes in each bracket. Leave each screw about 1/2 inch out of the wall. Once all the screws have been inserted in this way, use the level to ensure the shelf is straight while tightening all the screws in the same order they were inserted.

Tips and warnings

  • To ensure the proper weight for the wall anchors, determine the maximum amount of weight the shelf will need to support. Divide the weight by the number of anchors to be used. For example, a shelf to hold 45.4 Kilogram that will be held in place by four screws will need anchors capable of supporting 11.3 Kilogram each. The weight limit of anchors will be listed on the package.
  • When purchasing wall anchors, look for a package that includes screws, ensuring the correct size screw for the anchor.
  • The size of the wall anchor, which determines the size of the drill bit, should be noted on the package.
  • Do not attempt to drill into brick that is crumbling or the mortar between the bricks.

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