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camille23 10-30-2012 10:02 PM

Problems drilling into plaster/brick wall
We live in an apartment in a 4 story brick tenement in Brooklyn. The whole street was built in the 1890s.

Anyway, we're trying to hang a floating shelf on a wall between us and the next apartment. Our first attempts to hang pictures when we moved in led us to believe we've got brick behind plaster.

We're trying to drill 8 holes for the shelf (2 rows of holes, 4 is an example of the mounting hardware - not my wall).

We got a tapcon 3/16" x 3 1/2 masonry bit and tapcon 3/16 x 1 1/4" concrete anchors. Drilling went ok, but then the screws never seemed to catch into brick, so we thought we didn't go deep enough. We bought longer anchors (2 1/4" was the next size available...maybe too long?) and set to drilling deeper holes. We marked the length of the screw with tape on the drill so we wouldn't go too deep.

This time we were able to drill 5 holes with no problem, and pink made us think those were in brick. But then 3 of the holes we'd get 1 1/2 inch or so deep and the drill just wouldn't go any further. There was no pink dust either. The weird part is that there was no pattern I could observe. On one pair of holes, the top hole wouldn't go, but the bottom would, but then a foot over, it was the reverse.

Any ideas what might be back there that we're hitting with the holes? Is it metal or something? Seems too irregular for pipes?

Many thanks for your help, and let me know if you need more info.

camille23 11-10-2012 05:04 PM

Anyone have any ideas? Do I need to post to a different section of the forum?

oh'mike 11-10-2012 05:21 PM

Are you using a hammer drill? That should have drilled through without stopping even if you hit steel.

camille23 11-18-2012 06:03 PM


Originally Posted by oh'mike (Post 1049087)
Are you using a hammer drill? That should have drilled through without stopping even if you hit steel.

Hi Mike, thanks for the reply. No hammer drill, just a 12v, but I thought that would be fine for brick.

As far as metal, shouldn't I be concerned about what the metal might be before trying to drill through it? Like, maybe it's pipes or something?


Techy 11-19-2012 07:33 PM

3/16" is the drill size for a 1/4" tapcon, iirc a 3/16" tapcon's drill size is 5/32"

Can be confusing at times.

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