A contractor’s secrets to hanging holiday decor

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Whether you're looking for a spot to put up your holiday wreath for a week or need something more permanent, hanging decor on the exterior or interior of your home can be tricky sometimes. Where you're hanging it makes all the difference. Here are a few of my favorite ways to hang things on sheetrock, wood and brick -- without hurting your walls.

How to Drill Into Brick or Concrete

Brick can be a difficult material to hang things on. Its durability means you can't use the standard methods that you'd use around the rest of your house. You'll need screws made for masonry and know where to drill and how to repair the holes after the holidays.

For anchoring something on a brick or concrete surface, I like to use Tapcon screws. You can also buy a Tapcon masonry drill bit to match.

Make sure you drill into a mortar joint -- one of the white lines in between the brick. Do not drill directly into the brick! Not only would that be difficult, but you would risk cracking the brick.

A masonry drill bit is designed for brick and concrete and is identifiable by a triangular-shaped tip.

Screw a Tapcon screw into the mortar. If you are drilling into concrete, I recommend using a power drill.

If you want to remove the screw after the holidays, buy a tube of mortar repair and squirt a little into the hole. You can also use 100 percent silicone, which comes in caulking tubes and squeezable tubes.

Sometimes the mortar can become loose after it's been drilled. You can apply a little adhesive into the hole if you feel like you need a little more holding power. I am using Liquid Nails in a caulking gun here; Liquid Nails also comes in a squeezable tube.

Note: Installing adhesive will make it very difficult to remove the Tapcon screw later on. Consider this a more permanent installation.

If you use adhesive, you can also substitute a common nail for the Tapcon screw. Drill the hole, put in the adhesive and hammer the nail into the hole when the adhesive is dry.

I leave a nail like this up for a wreath we hang every year. The nail and the adhesive are pretty subtle, but if you're worried about it you could pull it out and cover everything up with mortar. This will be a lot of work, though, because using adhesive makes it more permanent.

How to Add a Hook to Sheetrock

I love Ook hooks for hanging things in Sheetrock. These modern versions of picture hangers can hold a tremendous amount of weight. Each package is rated by how much weight it can hold. The hangers in this pack can hold up to 50 pounds; larger versions can hold up to 100 pounds.

Here's an Ook hook installed in Sheetrock. Simply install the two nails that come in the package, and you're all set. There's no need to find a stud -- that's what makes these so versatile and easy to use.

I love EZ anchors for more permanent Sheetrock hanging solutions, and I always substitute these for any anchors that might come with what I'm hanging. These can hold a lot of weight (again, each package is rated; see the circled number in the top right corner of the package) and are very easy to install.

Note: These anchors can be easily removed but will leave a hole about the size of a dime in your wall, so use them for more permanent decorations.

EZ anchors require no drilling. Just hold the anchor where you want it and tap it with a hammer until you reach the screw portion.

Next screw it into the wall with a screwdriver until it is flush with the wall.

Note: Do not overtighten. If you keep turning the screw, it will break the Sheetrock around it, and the screw will just spin in place, creating a hole that's larger than the diameter of the screw.

Next insert the screw that comes in the package.

Screw it in to the required depth.

Tapping Into Wood

Don't underestimate the value of a simple trim nail. Nails are easy to install, can hold a lot of weight and are easy to remove.

After removing the nail, you can easily fill the nail hole with colored putty. There is a matching putty for every stain Minwax sells, and a few colored putties to match painted surfaces.


Houzz is the leading online platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish -- online or from a mobile device. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals around the world. Clark Harris is a contributor to Houzz.

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