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How to Install Anchor Bolts in a Brick Block Masonry Foundation

Updated February 21, 2017

Brick block masonry foundations have many advantages, including durability and reasonable construction costs. One disadvantage for the homeowner is that it's more difficult to hang cabinets, shelves, or other additions to these walls---it's necessary to use specialised anchors to get the job done. Following the correct procedures and using the right tools will mean the difference between a job well done and an installation that may be prone to failure.

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  1. Examine the size code on the side of your single expansion masonry wall anchor. This is measured in inches, and indicates the diameter of the hole that must be drilled in the wall. In the event that your wall anchors don't have the measurement on them, check the packaging, or measure across the outside diameter of the wall anchor.

  2. Attach a drill bit that matches the size determined in Step 1 to a hammer drill. It's important to make sure it's the right size. Too small and the anchor won't go into the wall---too big, and the anchor may not set firmly and could work loose.

  3. Measure the length of the wall anchor, and then mark your drill bit with a piece of tape to match the depth, or use a stop collar. This will ensure that you don't drill a hole that is too deep or too shallow. Some drills have a setting that will stop the drill automatically when you reach the correct depth. If this is the case, you won't have to worry about the tape marking.

  4. Drill a hole in the location you'll be placing the anchor. Be sure your drill is set to "hammer" mode when you drill the hole.

  5. Use a circular wire brush and vacuum to remove any debris from the hole. Rotate the brush in the hole, pull it out, and then suck out the debris with the vacuum. Alternatively, you can use compressed air to blow out the debris, but be sure to wear eye protection if you do.

  6. Slide the wall anchor, sans bolt, into the hole, and gently tap it into place with a hammer. Be sure to leave the bolt out---you'll want it for the next step.

  7. Place your bolt through the item you'll be attaching to the wall. Then screw the bolt into the anchor with your fingers. When it's finger tight, use your wrench to turn the bolt until it's securely into the wall and anchor. This will cause the expansion bolt to expand inside the drilled hole and hold the item you're attaching tightly to the wall.

  8. Tip

    Measure carefully when placing your wall anchors, particularly if you're placing several at the same level, as when placing brackets for a shelf. If you don't have a hammer drill, consider renting one at a local tool rental shop, rather than buying one outright for a single job.


    Wear eye, ear and hand protection when using the drill, or any power tools.

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Things You'll Need

  • Single expansion masonry wall fasteners (with bolts)
  • Hammer drill with bits
  • Drill bit stop collar
  • Ruler
  • Circular wire brush
  • Shop vacuum
  • Hammer
  • Wrench

About the Author

Nichole Liandi

Based in Virginia, Nichole Liandi has been a freelance writer since 2005. Her articles have appeared on various print and online publications. Liandi has traveled extensively in Europe and East Asia and incorporates her experiences into her articles. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from West Virginia University.

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