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Thread: Attaching wood to brick - Nix the Tapcons

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Constantine, MI

    Question Attaching wood to brick - Nix the Tapcons

    The time has come (long overdue) for me to begin the built-ins and new mantle for my ugly fireplace. The first order of business is to attach some strapping to the brick to which my cabinetry and over mantle will be fastened. What's the best way to do this?

    My first thoughts were to use Tapcon screws. I've never used them before, but I have heard many raves about them. Do they hold equaly well in brick as in concrete? That's the next question - where should the screws go? In the mortar line or directly into the brick? Does it matter?

    Here is the beast in all its "before" glory.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Rennie Heuer; 10-19-2010 at 12:14 AM.
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Santa Claus, In
    I always do a pinch nail. 1/4 hole into the good part of the brick and 2 16p nails in the same hole.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    RETIRED(!) in Austintown, Ohio
    I've used the Tapcons in brick, and they worked quite well.

    Used them to attach a big mantlepiece. A few months later, the homeowner caught her five year old standing on the mantle shelf, so I'd say the Tapcons held pretty well.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Rennie good luck on tapcons. I dislike the things immensely. I am old school given what i used back home. Fischer plugs and a screw. Them germans know how to make these things. Not the cheap China knock offs.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    London, Ontario
    I have a similar ugly fireplace in our Family Room.

    Several times I have considered ripping out the top half of the brickwork. But we've decided that just putting a big mirror above the mantle will cover up most of the ugliness and make the room brighter and appear larger.
    There's usually more than one way to do it... ........

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Victoria BC
    Hammerdrill a 3/16" hole thru the wood and into the brick, not the joint as it's too soft. Slide a piece of electrical wire,the white, black or red with the plastic still on it, the same length as the fastener you're going to use into the hole and put in your fastener. I usually use 3" course galvanized spike or 3" screws when attaching 2x4's to concrete or masonry. By leaving the insulating covering on the wire the nail or screw can bite in and really hold well and if you use a screw it can be removed easily. Positioning the fastener at different sides of the wire allows you to pull the wood side to side slightly.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    Tapcons work great and are perfect for this application.
    You could also use a plastic "hit" anchor or a 1/4" sleeve anchor.

    I've sold millions of tapcons to contractors. Never a problem.

    Always use the horizontal mortar joint. Never the vertical joint.
    Last edited by Bob Gibson; 10-16-2010 at 04:55 PM.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Just use a french cleat on the back of the mantel your
    gonna make

    for the part that attaches to the brick
    use the plastic inserts and screws
    been doing it this way every week for 20 years

    I make mantels for a living
    on your situation , I usually just do 7 by 7 shelf mantels
    7" in height, and 7" in width

    you can make the whole mantel from less than a half
    sheet of veneer

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Dennison, MN
    Regardless of fastener I'd still apply a liberal amount of PL400 to anything you're sticking on the brick.

    At the very least, some poor fool will curse the day you were born when its replaced.
    "Do, or do not. There is no try."

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Whittier, CA, USA
    I used to work as a mason's assistant and every mason I ever worked for said to drill anchors in the mortar joint, never in the brick or stone, and not at mortar joint intersection. Something about the compression of the bricks making the joint the best anchor location.

    Dan Gonzales
    Whittier, CA, USA
    Dona nobis pacem

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