Brick walls can be a marvelous feature, adding some much-needed texture to our homes. But when it comes to hanging paintings or installing shelves, bricks tend to be a bit touchy. Ultimately, the best way to avoid a headache is to learn how to hang things on brick walls without drilling.
To achieve that, you can either make sure you’re driving your nails through the mortar between the bricks or simply use adhesive. But what kind of adhesive products would stick to uneven, rough surfaces? You’re about to find out.
Why Should You Avoid Drilling Through Brick Walls?
Even though most people like the idea of having exposed bricks indoors, most of us still associate the material with outdoor walls. After all, fired brick structures have been known to last for hundreds of years.
Over the centuries, humans have experimented with various clay recipes, as well as different drying techniques. Similarly, it’s taken a long time to get to the block-shaped bricks with the kind of internal cavities we now use. Even now, there are many different types of bricks, including specialized ones that are resistant to chemicals or heat.
All this to say, the bricks we now use are extremely durable. They tend to behave like stone — so they don’t show too much wear. At most, they might spall a bit. But ultimately, the mortar between the blocks is much more likely to crack.
Moreover, because mortar is softer than dried clay, it would be easier to drill or hammer nails between the bricks. Of course, that’s not to say that a drill couldn’t break through the bricks. Most construction materials are still pliable enough to drill through — but just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should.
Drilling through bricks would significantly compromise the integrity of your wall. Because of that, it’s best to drill through new brick walls, before the clay becomes too weathered. But even then, matching the color of the brick when you go in to patch the drill site would be more difficult than reapplying mortar.
But as we have established, drilling between bricks isn’t your only option here. With that in mind, let’s talk about some alternative solutions.
Alternatives to Drilling Through Brick
If you have an interior brick wall, keeping it intact is probably one of your main priorities. In addition to just looking amazing, a brick wall can also make your home look more attractive to potential buyers. Still, not being able to drill through the bricks for fear of watching them disintegrate before your eyes is pretty annoying. Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives on the market.
The first one involves drilling through the mortar between the bricks. If you opt for that option, you’ll want to have some extra mortar on hand to patch up any cracks that might form as a result. And there are other downsides to trying to hang things from a screw in this case.
For one, you might regret the placement of the holes. Even if you measure everything perfectly, you might change your mind when you see whatever you wanted to hang up on the wall. And if you don’t, there’s still a chance that you’ll want to switch up the decor at a later date. Do you think your future self would appreciate having to patch up the screw holes?
With that in mind, it might be best to go through some damage-free options like brick clips. These metal fasteners have a wide side that hooks onto the top edge of the brick and a springy clip at the bottom. The back of the clip is flat, so it’ll be flush against the brick, and there are usually two hooks in the front. You can use brick clips to hang pretty much anything — as long as it weighs under 25 pounds.
On the other hand, you could also try various adhesive products. All you have to do is find ones that will stick to brick surfaces.
What Sticks to Brick Walls?
As you may know, not many things will stick to rough surfaces. Overall, if you’re looking to use adhesive hooks or double-sided tape on your brick wall, you might want to paint it first. And even then, try to stick to heavy-duty adhesive products.
For example, the Gorilla heavy-duty double-sided mounting tape should be able to hold about 60 pounds of weight. Moreover, the material is also waterproof and should bind well to both brick and stone walls, among other things. Still, you might not want to put the maximum weight on the tape.
Of course, if that kind of double-sided tape won’t do, try Velcro’s version. Simply put a length of Velcro on the wall with the corresponding tape going across the item you want to hang — like a framed photo. In fact, if you’re working on making a picture gallery on your brick wall, that kind of setup would allow you to rotate the frames as you see fit.
On the other hand, if you really just need a simple towel holder, an outdoor Command hook should do the trick. Notably, though, that product has the lowest weight capacity, allowing you to hang objects that weigh under 3 pounds. Even a strip of Velcro should be able to hold up to 15 pounds — so keep that in mind when choosing an adhesive product.
If nothing else, you can always use a liquid construction adhesive that can sink into all the nooks and crannies on your brick wall.
How to Hang Things on Brick Walls Without Drilling
Most of the products we’ve listed come with fairly straightforward instructions. Still, just in case you need a little help, we’re going to go through how you can use brick clips and adhesive-based products to hang things on brick walls.
Install Some Brick Clips
Installing brick clips is as easy as putting the springy bottom of the clip against the bottom side of a brick and pulling it up until the spiky edge of the clip hooks onto the top of the brick. As you’ll see in the video, the process is simple enough.
However, you might have to reshape the edge of the brick before slipping the hook on. The spiky edge of the clip won’t be able to grip the top of the brick if it’s sloped. But don’t worry, you can use a flathead screwdriver to shave some of the brick off and prepare it for the clip.
Just like that, you’ll be able to hang about 25 to 30 pounds of weight on your wall. You’ll just have to pay attention to the size of the clips when you get them. After all, they need to match the thickness of the bricks on your wall.
Luckily, you’ll find plenty of different sizes to choose from online. The one linked above should fit bricks that are between 2-⅛ and 2-½ inches thick. That should cover most standard brick sizes. If yours are abnormally thick, you can get clips that only hook onto the top edge of the brick.
If you want to avoid online shopping, you should be able to find these kinds of clips at your local home decor store. You’ll probably find them in the seasonal section of the store. After all, most people use them to hang Christmas decorations.
Clean the Area and Apply Adhesive
Even though some adhesive products — particularly liquid ones — should work well enough on brick walls, you may have to prepare the surface before you go slapping double-sided tape on it.
Namely, the dust and clay particles on the bricks can make adhesion difficult. To prevent that, you might want to start by cleaning the surface with soap and water. Of course, the process would go even more smoothly if you decided to paint the bricks first. Either way, you should wait for the wall to dry before going in with the adhesive.
With most of the self-adhesive products we’ve mentioned, the application should be simple enough. Just peel the protective plastic off the adhesive side and stick it wherever you want to hang your items. As long as you keep the weight capacity of the products in mind, you shouldn’t experience any difficulties.
Decorate Your Brick Wall
Obviously, most of the options we’ve talked about here won’t be able to hold up a shelf. If you wanted to do that, you might have to give in and drive a few screws through the mortar. But ultimately, there are plenty of ways to use clips and adhesive products to decorate your brick wall.
On the one hand, hooks are useful for hanging garlands or string lights. Alternatively, you can use adhesive tape to hang colorful tapestries or framed artwork!