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Brick/Mortar Drilling Questions

Hi all -- After my raised bed project, I am working on a cable trellis set into our brick home. I am in the process of mocking up different designs. I tried attaching a photo of one possibility, with 20" squares set on the diagonal, that will include the cable "framing" the rectangle of diamonds, but the file is too large. There will be three trellises, one on the chimney wall, and one each on either side of the chimney.

For materials, I plan to use eye bolts, masonry stays, braided stainless steel cable and turnbuckles (all stainless steel other than the masonry stays). The trellis will be for four climbing roses. I want it to be functional and nice-looking, as it is on a very visible side of our home.

I am not experienced with using a hammer drill, although I have one. So I am considering hiring someone to help me drill the holes for the eyebolts.

I read a previous post about drilling into brick vs. mortar, and learned that the eye bolts should be screwed directly into the brick so they're more stable/strong. (https://advice.thisoldhouse.com/showthread.php?126044-Drill-into-brick-or-mortar)

A few questions, with probably more to come:

1) Any comments on my material list? Suggestions?

2) Sometimes the design falls in a good place (i.e., on a brick and not too close to a brick's edges). Other times, it is on the edge of a brick or in the mortar. What do I do in this case? Ideally, I want each square to be equal, the overall design to look even, etc. I don't want to damage the brick.

3) Should I hire someone to help me drill the holes or is this pretty easy to do for a newbie?

4) For the eye bolts -- I want these to "stick out" from the brick 2-3". And want to use a size that will be appropriate -- hopefully, not too big, but strong enough. Would you please guide me about brands/sizes/types that would be appropriate?

Thanks for sharing your advice,

A. Spruce
Re: Brick/Mortar Drilling Questions

Due to spammers, our ability to upload photos directly has been terminated. You have to use a photo host, such as photobucket, post your images there, then put a link here. If you right click the image, copy the image location, then click the image attachment icon here, click "from url", paste the link, deselect the next box, then continue with your post, the image will show in-line.

As for your questions:
1 - I would use expansion anchors that match the eyebolts, just be careful that you don't over tighten and break the brick. I doubt that turnbuckles are necessary because you can get the cable tight enough by hand for the roses to climb, they do not need to be under mechanical tension.

2 - Keep your fasteners in the brick. While what you're doing isn't "structural", you still do not want to weaken the mortar joints, as this is what keeps the water out of your house. I am quiet certain that you can tweak your layout just enough to stay on brick without compromising the looks of your design. You could use a cardboard cut out of the diamond size you wish to accomplish to lay out the drill points, adjusting the template location and size to get as close to your target marks as possible.

3 - Drilling brick is generally pretty easy and it doesn't necessarily require a hammer drill, though one would make the process a little faster. Make sure that you're drilling into actual full dimension brick and not facade brick, which is only about 1" thick. Facade brick won't hold up to what you're proposing.

4 - It is doubtful you'll need any thing heavier than 1/8" or 3/16" eye bolts, you're not holding up that much weight and it will be dispersed over many. You should be able to find sufficient lengths in these sizes.

Re: Brick/Mortar Drilling Questions

Modern bricks may be hollow, so if you hit one of the voids it will not be as strong. If you use the mortar joints and a masonry adhesive such as Hilti Epoxy anchor system, you will have a much easier time of it. The other upside is, mortar is easier to fix than a holey brick.

Re: Brick/Mortar Drilling Questions

Given the low stress involved, I'm with Casey- drill in the mortar joints but I'd use plastic shields rather than epoxy. For something needing more strength I'd drill the brick. Do yourself a favor and pre-paint the screw-eyes to match the brick as even the hot-dipped galvanized ones will rust over time. Touch-up the paint after installation then run the cable when the paint is dry. You shouldn't need much cable tension, so instead of a turnbuckle I'd use cable clamps (also pre-painted and touched-up). Where that connection is made, have a helper pull one side with vice-grips as you pull the other side similarly to tighten the cable. Then use your free hand to tighten the clamps and clip off the excess. In a few years you'll have the nicest wall in the neighborhood ;)


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