How to Install Shelf Brackets into a Brick Wall

What You'll Need
Variable speed electric drill
Mason bit
Shelf brackets
Shelf boards
Rotary saw
Measuring tape

Often, when installing shelf brackets, you may find that the only wall available for you to mount your brackets on is a hard brick wall. Mounting shelves on a brick wall may seem difficult at first, but if with the right instructions, materials, and tools, it may not be as intimidating as you first thought.

Step 1 – Planning Your Shelf Installation

First do your planning. Consider the items you'll want on your shelf. For heavier items plan to install more brackets for each shelf. The same holds true for height. If you foresee keeping tall books on your shelves, you'll need to know how far apart in height your shelves should be. Place a horizontal pencil line where you'll want to install each shelf. Use a 4-foot level to make an even and straight line that will mark where the shelf will be. If you plan to install multiple shelves you'll likely want equal space between shelves. Typically, you'll want a shelf bracket mounted every 24 inches. Mark these places. You'll be drilling holes there.

Step 2 – Drilling Anchor Holes

Before drilling your anchor holes, you'll need to know what type and size anchors you'll be using. With this knowledge, you'll know the bit size you'll need. You'll know how deep to make the anchor hole. If the holes are too big in diameter, your anchors will not likely fit, and you'll have to make another trip to the store to buy new ones. If your hole is too shallow, the anchor may not fit in all the way. Once you know what size bit to use and how deep to drill the hole, measure up on the bit from its tip to the depth you want your hole. Wrap a piece of tape tightly onto your bit at this place. Insert the bit in your drill and begin drilling your hole. You'll find that using a slower speed on your drill will make your hole more effectively and give you better control. When your bit is deep enough into the brick that the tape touches the brick surface, stop drilling.

Step 3 - Choosing and Installing Your Anchors and Brackets

To support lighter weights on your shelves, use masonry nails. Just pound them into place with a hammer. Use anchors with a sleeve to support heavier objects. Insert the sleeve into the hole you've drilled, then screw in the sleeve screw. For a more solid support, use the metal vertical brackets that are adjustable. Attach the brackets to the wall by driving screws through the brackets and into the anchors. Be sure the screw holes on each bracket are lined up with the other bracket screw holes.

Step 4 – Choosing and Mounting Your Shelves

You can purchase pre-cut, pre-finished shelves at your local home improvement store or hardware store. Or, if you have a bench saw and jointer, you can cut, plane, and finish your own shelves at a reduced cost. Choose or cut your shelves to fit the brackets the shelves will be resting on, then put these shelves in place on the brackets.