In maintaining your home, there are many reasons you might need to know how to install a wall anchor in a masonry, or block wall. You might want to hang something, like a piece of artwork or a poster. There are certain tools you will need. They are not hard to find. Nor, are they hard to use.

How to Install Wall Anchors in Masonry

A battery powered drill will work on lightweight block or brick. If you have good masonry bit, you will have to lean into it pretty good but it’ll go in. The best choice is a ‘hammer drill.’  As the name would imply, a hammer drill ‘hammers’ as it turns and makes the job that much easier.


The masonry bit is good for block, brick or concrete. Of course, the hardness of concrete will wear the bit out faster than on block or brick but it will do the job.  In a residential setting, the masonry blocks are typically ‘lightweight’ blocks. They are ‘lightweight’ -not to make them easier to work with, but are lighter duty block. Accordingly the lightweights are easier to penetrate, as they are less dense.

A star drill is a holdover from the days when they didn’t have electric rotating tools to use. They come in different sizes and are sometimes useful when you just need one or two holes and your hammer drill is too far away to fetch it conveniently. That’s why I have it. About 30 years ago I was on a large job and didn’t feel like running across the jobsite to get a drill motor, bit and a set of electric extension cords. (This was long before battery powered tools were common). With the star drill I could bang a couple of 1/4″ holes in a block wall in about ten minutes. It would have taken that long or longer to fetch the other equipment. It saved a lot of shoe leather.

To use a star drill, just tap it lightly with a hammer and turn it with every -or every other tap. Protect your eyesight with your safety glasses when using a star drill. Masonry chips and dust do not mix well with your eyes. They feel like chunks of coal in there.

The most common lightweight wall anchors are 1/4″, made of plastic these days. Years ago they were made of some kind of fiber. You will sometimes here them referred to as rawls (no relation to Lou).  Rawl was a brand name of the fiber wall anchor. When I was an apprentice the older guys were still calling the plastic anchors ‘Rawls.’ You still hear it once in a while.

When we say they are 1/4″ we are referring to the size hole required to accommodate the anchor. The anchor itself will accommodate a #10 or #12 screw. A pan-head (what we call) sheet metal or, tapping screw is typically used.

The use of hammer drills or any loud percussive tool should be accompanied by the use of eye and hearing protection. The cumulative effects of not using ear plugs contributes to Tinnitus -the constant ringing in your ear(s). Ask me, I’ll tell you. We never had ear plugs available on the job 30 years ago. Being young and foolish, I probably wouldn’t have worn them anyway.

A properly installed 1/4″ wall anchor in masonry will hold quite a load. I can’t think of anything you might have around the house that would overload it.  Knowing how to install wall anchors in masonry, as you can see is not difficult if you have the right tools.  Now you can go make Swiss Cheese out of your walls. icon smile How to Install Wall Anchors in Masonry

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Filed under: How-to Home Repair

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