I was talking with my Mother in Law this past weekend and she asked me, how did you hang your clock, was it hard? That’s when it hit me, with all these projects I am doing around my house I just say, insert a screw or drill into concrete. Most recently you can see in my How to Stain Concrete Floors post, the section on inserting the transition strips. I don’t really go into detail but there is definitely more to it than just using a regular drill and bit and going to town. Here is a detailed description on how to drill into masonry. Specifically we will discuss how to drill into stone or brick and concrete.
How to Drill into Masonry: Stone or Brick
Let’s start with how I hung my clock on my stone fireplace. I have a large stone fireplace that is almost 12 feel wide and goes all the way to the top of my vaulted ceiling. The mantle is a huge rustic beam that must have been salvaged, it was there already when we moved in. I know with all the hard edges of the fireplace and mantle I wanted something round above.
On the other side is a big round mirror, well I didn’t want to do the same thing on both sides of the fireplace so I decided to go for a clock. Not just any clock, I love the stone and didn’t want to cover it up so something that did not have a solid backing was the way to go. I found this one at Kirkland’s (which is on sale right now) and I simply love it! I also loved the price, about 1/3 the cost of some I was seeing on other websites.
To hang this clock I needed a screw inserted to fit the mounting bracket on. I did a google search on how to drill into masonry and all I got were YouTube videos…..helpful but mostly not very good. There were several different methods but I decided to go with the lead anchor. What I liked about the lead anchor is that it’s just like an anchor you would put into dry wall, except it’s into masonry. You also need a masonry bit and drill.
Basically the directions (which were on the package and you should definitely follow whatever is on the package) were to drill with the masonry bit (they said which exact size to use) into the mortar/stone or brick to a certain depth. Make sure you follow the directions on the lead anchor packaging on how far to drill. Then you tap the anchor in with a hammer then insert the screw far enough in so that you can hang your clock (or whatever else you may be hanging). Make sure you use the right size drill bit, my husband didn’t want to put such a big hole into the mortar so he used a smaller one then tried to tap it in. The lead anchor completely bent up, it was very surprising how easily it bent. I would definitely follow the instructions on the box for this.
How to Drill into Masonry: Concrete Floors
This one gave us a run for our money. You need to buy these wooden pegs specifically for this. On the package it will tell you what size drill bit to use. So the you tube directions basically said use a masonry drill bit, like the one we used for the stone fireplace, make a hole, drop in this wood plug then drill the screw through the transition strip into the plug. Easier said than done!!!!!
Problem 1, the drill bit kept skipping all over the floor. And the mark I made for where I needed to drill the holes got wiped away from the floor. So how we solved that was to use a regular drill bit and make a little divot into the concrete. Then used a smaller masonry bit to start the hole, the same one we used for the fireplace. Then finished it off with the required size drill bit. But a word of warning!!!!! Using a regular drill bit on concrete might break the drill bit. Do this at your own risk and please be careful! Wear safety goggles just in case it breaks and parts fly around. I was terrified but my husband said “it will be fine”. It was but I was very worried.
Even though we used this method Problem 2 happened….drilled into the wrong place. Because the skipping wiped away all the marks of where I needed things to go I measured again and marked. Even using the regular bit to get the hole started the holed did not always end up in the right spots, it would be slightly to one side or the other just enough to throw off the other marks. So I ended up having to start over several times. My advise would be to mark all the holes, drill in one then measure again! You may need to adjust the spots where you originally marked. Repeat this process after drilling each hole!
Problem 3, because I had to adjust the metal strip for the holes that had skipped the metal strip was not even and part of the transition strip did not cover the carpet. UGH!!! At this point my hubby was about to lose it! I went back and readjusted all the holes and re drilled some of them. At this point it went pretty smoothly since I had drilled so many, I was an expert at it by now. It’s all done and the carpet is secured…..just don’t look under the transition strip because you will see all the extra holes! 😂
Above you can see the spots I drilled in the wrong place and couldn’t get the wooden pegs out.
Lucky for me when you install the transition strip over the metal strip you can’t see any of my mistakes! LOL!! I guess that’s all that matters, that the final product looks good.
So I will break this down into a little easier steps for you:
- Mark the spots on the floor where you need to drill.
- Drill one hole at a time. If you drill bit skips around you can try my method but please do so at your own risk of breaking a non-masonry bit.
- After one hole is done check to make sure the other marks are still in the right place.
- Continue drilling holes and double checking remaining marks.
- Once you are done screw down the metal strip and insert the transition strip.
- At this point it’s time for a cocktail because you did it!!!! 🍹
All in all, drilling to masonry is completely achievable for a do it yourself-er. I definitely think drilling into brick/stone is easier than concrete but you can do it! If I can anyone can. And in the end, after all the issues we had, someday we will replace the carpet and they will measure and cut it to fit under the strip so it will all be okay in the end.
For the full basement floor overview you can see that post here and for the phase one end result (concrete staining) you can check out that post here. Please let me know in the comments if you have drilled into masonry and if you used another method. I know what I did is just one of many ways it can be done. Please share your experiences.