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Though it's not a difficult process, specific materials are required to safely hang items on a brick wall. Brick is a very strong building material, but it's also very porous, and improper handling can cause it to easily crack, crumble, or break.
Picture hangers for concrete and brick are the best option for hanging most artwork. Also called brick hooks or brick clips, these specialized picture hangers typically come in sizes able to support up to 30 pounds (13.6 kg), 50 pounds (22.7 kg), and 100 pounds (45.4 kg). The hangers are easy to use and readily available at most home improvement superstores as well as smaller hardware stores.
A brick and concrete picture hanger consists of a small piece of gold-, silver-, or bronze-colored metal, with a hook-shaped bottom and a hole that penetrates the top. Also included with the hanger set is a brass-plated, unbendable nail that has an extremely sharp tip. Installation is quite easy: after positioning the hanger on the brick wall, simply insert the brass-plated nail into the hole on the hanger and gently tap it with a hammer. It's best to place the nail directly into the brick rather than into the surrounding mortar, as the mortar will probably be too fragile to support the weight of the item being hung.
Concrete screws are another option to hang items on a brick wall, and depending on size, they can bear different weight loads. These screws are very hard so that they can be drilled into brick and concrete without damaging them. They are also specially threaded in order to dig into the surface of the brick wall and to grip securely once installed. An electric drill, with a low-speed setting and equipped with a carbide masonry bit, is necessary to install a concrete screw into a brick wall. A hole that is slightly smaller than the diameter of the screw is carefully drilled at a downward, 45° angle into the brick. Replacing the masonry bit with a standard screwdriver bit, the concrete screw should then be slowly drilled into the hole until it is tightened securely.
You can also use lead anchors. As with the concrete screws, an electric drill with a low speed setting and a carbide masonry bit are required. With the masonry bit, a hole just large enough to hold the anchor should be drilled at a 45° downward angle into the brick. The anchor should then be gently tapped into the hole with a hammer. The final step is to insert the screw that comes packaged with the anchor. The sides of the anchor will expand and flare out inside the hole as the screw is inserted. Either a hand screwdriver or the electric drill on slow speed and fitted with a standard screwdriver bit can be used to install the screw into the anchor.
When installing hooks, screws, and anchors into brick, it's important to remember to work slowly and carefully, and to use the proper materials and tools. It's not difficult to hang items on a brick wall, but rushing or using the wrong tools or materials to attach the hardware can cause damage to the brick that can be quite costly to repair.