Fastening Rails To Brick Columns

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Old 10-29-2010, 01:19 PM   #1
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Fastening Rails To Brick Columns

What is your favorite method of fastening fixtures to brick over CMU columns?

I have to fasten a couple of rail sections to some brick over block columns.
(That's called a brick veneer right?)

I'll use something around 3/8" diameter going through 7/16" holes in weld tabs at each end of the panel, plus a foot in the middle of the span with a 3"x 3"x 3/16" base plate with (4) 7/16" holes.

I have been doing rails forever but don't (thankfully) have to fasten them to brick a lot. I've used wedges, drive ins and tap-cons for most with decent results.

But decent isn't good enough for me. I've been thinking of going with epoxy on a job I have on my layout table right now. I really like to provide imbeded brackets for the masons to install as they build the columns, but it's too late in this case.

Another question, when using tap-cons or wedge anchors should I try to land them on a brick or on a joint?

It seems that 1/2 the people I've asked say in the joint, and the other half says in the brick.

I've found neither is all that great and you run into (a) not much mortar in the joint to hold onto, or (b) the brick are hollow and brittle providing little "bite" before they strip the holes or crack the brick.

If this is kind of noob crap, sorry, I'm an a-hole welder , not an a-hole mason.
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Old 10-29-2010, 01:26 PM   #2
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Re: Fastening Rails To Brick Columns

You just need a masonary welder


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Old 10-29-2010, 01:32 PM   #3
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Re: Fastening Rails To Brick Columns

Nothing's perfect, but I favor wedge-type anchors in the mortar.

My reasoning is that the mortar (if done properly) is softer than the bricks, and easier to drill--as well as having less potential cracking/chipping. In the mortar joint, the wedge still has a brick on either side to compress against. Probably the biggest mistake people make is to use only one point of attachment rather than 3 or 4 to minimize the chances of side to side or up/down motion leveraging the fastener loose.
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Old 10-29-2010, 02:11 PM   #4
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Re: Fastening Rails To Brick Columns

Depends on the type of brick, condition of mortar etc. Go in the bed joints if you can. This article may help.
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Old 10-29-2010, 08:46 PM   #5
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Re: Fastening Rails To Brick Columns

I'd like to see the bracket you need to attach...I for one like to drill and use threaded rod with an epoxy. That way the layout, whether it lands on brick or joint, will have a fairly bulletproof hold.
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Old 01-10-2011, 11:56 PM   #6
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Re: Fastening Rails To Brick Columns

First post. Sorry; no intro yet.

First, I agree that it depends upon the type of brick or stone and the strength of the mortar.

Second, there may be esthetic choices; some things need to not look like they were attached w/ hardware from home depot.

Third, think about the result of rust, lets say on a limestone surface; lead, epoxy or none rusting hardware may be appropriate of some structures.

Think about using lags; quite often they work OK but generally they are about the lowest tensile strength you can find. I don't know how many I've broken off in concrete; generally speaking......they're cr@p.

If you think you are good enough to weld a rail and have whatever mounting clip at the perfect spot so as to line up perfectly with a mortar joint you are damned good and maybe a little OCD.

Many people build the rail, hold it at code height drill and anchor; you aren't going to drop or raise a rail 1/2 inch so as to hit a mortar joint IMHO.
Sooooo choose your fasteners carefully. You make money and look like a pro if the rails are even, plumb, parallel, etc. Your fastener system needs to allow for this. If they don't look good, come loose, cause rust stains you look bad. If your fastener breaks bricks or stone in addition to coming loose you look even worse and you've created more work for yourself.

For this reason in many cases a more expensive fastening system or fastener is better.

PS........about fasteners..... just as a carpenter prefers to put a nail in shear, not tension, the design of your mounts can add a lot of strength and rigidity to to a mounting; it isn't all about the fastener. Also don't forget that the size or length is important. IF fasteners are breaking you are being sent a message; heed it.

I prefer a type of anchor made of a harder steel, a good coating, that can be tightened without breaking. Often it is good that you can drill through and fasten in one operation. With a lag there is alignment, removal of the rail, insertion of the lag; reinstalling the rail. A more modern fastener will turn this into an easier mounting job. Don't be cheap.

Sometimes you tighten and you find that things don't tighten enough. Carrying some malleable wire, lead sheeting, copper strips to reinsert and tighten up the clearances, secure the rail and get you out of there faster. Where needed anchor cement is useful. I've not used epoxy but I think it is probably the correct choice in some situations.

Other than that, I've been reading for a while and as someone who works a variety of trades I'd like to say that I've found this to be an informative, interesting, and useful site; THANKS!!!

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Old 01-11-2011, 12:00 AM   #7
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Re: Fastening Rails To Brick Columns

You don't have a wire feed for this?
Some kind of a BIG Welder (Brick Inert Gas)?
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Old 01-11-2011, 12:19 AM   #8
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Re: Fastening Rails To Brick Columns

Regarding welding the rails on; fine in some situations, but sparks can go places and cause fires.

I find that the splatter can damage some of the adjoining surfaces; either on the surface next to the weld or where the splatter hits the ground. You can easily end up with rust stains from splatter, pitted surfaces, burnt paint, smoke...... is that all necessary? Glass in the area is also quite susceptible to pitting.

If you use weld inserts in addition to possibly damaging the surface it can cause expansion issues which can break mortar joints.

I also see a potential for rust stains near welds.

Never say never, but I'd guess there may be quicker and equally strong methods that are less likely to damage the adjoining areas.



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