How to Nail Into Block Concrete Mortar


During remodeling and construction, it is often necessary to nail building materials to the mortar of concrete blocks. The most common methods of nailing to mortar are accomplished with a hammer drill or a powder-actuated nailer. It is less common today to nail by hand without these power tools, but it can be done. When there is sufficient mortar, you won't have a problem attaching materials, but if the mortar is not very thick or lacks density, the anchors may not hold.

Things You'll Need

  • Hammer drill
  • 3/16-inch masonry bit
  • 1/4-inch masonry nail
  • Insert a 3/16-inch masonry bit into the drill or the specified size for your nail.

  • Drill through the material and the mortar at the same time. Drill partially into the mortar and pull the bit in and out out to clear the hole, or the drill bit will bind. You may have to do this several times. Drill the hole 1/4 inch deeper than the nail itself.

  • Hammer in a round 1/4-inch concrete nail specially designed for block and concrete. It is important that the nail penetrates the mortar at least 1 inch.

Tips & Warnings

  • Another way to nail into mortar is to use a powder-actuated nailer. This nailer drives the pin with a charge similar to a 22-caliber bullet. This method is not as strong as a concrete nail, but works well for many applications.

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  • Photo Credit drill image by Goran Bogicevic from
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