How to Nail Into Masonry

A nail in a brick wall.
What You'll Need
Masonry nails in assorted sizes
Masonry drill bits in assorted sizes
Protective eye goggles
Metal or plastic hanging anchors
Picture hangers

Masonry materials such as bricks and stone are all commonly used to build structures in and around our homes. This is for several reasons: these materials are durable, they create a pleasing aesthetic, they’re low maintenance, and they can stand up to the test of time. However, brick and stone can pose some challenges when it comes to things like hanging decorative objects or completing other household and DIY projects that require nailing into the wall. Here's a full tutorial to help you learn how to nail into masonry successfully and with ease, whether you have a stone or brick wall.

Brick Surface

Step 1 - Mark the Spot

Using a pencil, mark the spot where you’d like to nail. You should choose an area between bricks where the joints are located, since nailing directly into a brick could cause cracks or the material to shatter.

Step 2 - Drill a Hole

Next, select a masonry drill bit slightly smaller than the diameter of the nail shaft you’re using. Where you’ve marked the appropriate spot, drill a hole into the joint with the selected bit. Be sure to wear protective goggles during this step for your safety.

Step 3 - Install the Nail

Now it’s time to add the masonry nail into the hole. Place it in the desired spot and hammer it into place, taking care to keep the nail straight. It should penetrate the joint about one and a quarter of an inch.

Step 4 - Test Your Work

Once the nail has been hammered in, pull down on it to ensure that it’s been installed firmly into the joint.

If you’re wondering what to do with the nail hole should you end up eventually removing the nail, simply fill the area with masonry repair filler and the spot will look good as new!


A nail in a stone wall.

Nailing into stone can seem like a challenge, but it’s actually easy to do. Perhaps you want to add nails to your beautiful stone hearth for your Christmas stockings, or maybe you’re simply looking to hang some pictures. Whatever the case may be, just follow the steps below and this project will be done in no time.

Step 1 - Drill a Hole

Just as we discussed above, you’ll need to use particular tools for this project. Using your drill, enlist the help of those trusty masonry bits for this task. Drill your hole to fit the size of the hardware you’ll be installing. Typically, pictures require a hole somewhere in the range of 3/16 to 5/16 of an inch in diameter. Drill your hole in the mortar joints that exist between the stones as opposed to directly on the stone.

Step 2 - Install Hardware

Next, push your metal or plastic anchor into the created hole. This hardware should fit securely and shouldn’t be able to twist or turn once it’s inserted. Heavier decorations require metal hardware, while items that are lighter will be held well with plastic. When in doubt, opt for the metal hardware!

Now, it’s time to add in a screw as well as a picture hook attached into the anchor. The screw should be one size smaller than the anchor and it should be left protruding out slightly from the stone wall to allow for hanging.

Step 3 - Hang Your Item

Now that the hole is ready and the hardware has been installed, gently hang your pictures or decoration as desired and give yourself a chance to admire your own handiwork!

While it may have originally seemed like a tall task to embed nails into the masonry of your home, it’s an easy process that is not much more complex than hanging nails into other surfaces. Masonry work is always beautiful, but make it even more special by installing your favorite home decor!