Real brick walls are beautiful.

Mounting Light Switches on Brick Walls

by Jerry Walch

Real brick walls, not the faux brick veneer walls found in newer homes, add beauty and a touch of real class to any home. Installing new electrical wiring in rooms with real brick walls requires running the wiring on the surface of the walls. In most cases, you will want to use a wire mold conduit system with matching boxes, because it is the most decorative system. Mounting boxes on a brick wall is not difficult, but it does require patience so you do not damage the wall.

1. Tools

As with any electrical project, begin by turning off the circuit breaker on the service panel supplying power to the circuit you will be connecting into. Mounting switches on a brick wall requires drilling into the brick to install a plastic wall anchor using a masonry drill bit. The size masonry bit required depends on the size plastic anchors being used. As a rule, the proper masonry bit comes with the anchor kit that you buy. These bits can be used in a standard 3/8-inch electric drill, but a hammer drill -- a drill that combines a reciprocating hammer action with the drilling action -- makes drilling into brick quicker and easier.

2. Locating the Switches

Switches should be located so that the top of the switch box is no more than 47 ¼ inches above the finished floor line, a requirement of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Place the back plate for the box against the wall and mark two holes diagonally opposite one another with a felt tip marker. Make sure the plate is positioned in such a manner that you will be drilling into the brick and not into the mortar between bricks.

3. Installing Plastic Anchors

You have one chance at getting this right, so double check the position of the holes to be drilled before drilling. With a steady hand, position the drill so it is perpendicular to the wall. Do not allow the drill to wobble as you drill the hole, because you need a tight fit for the anchor to hold properly. Drill the holes to the depth recommended on the anchor kit's chart and then gently tap the plastic anchors into place using a hammer.

4. Mounting the Box

Place the mounting plate over the anchors and secure it in place with two screws that came with the anchor kit. As you drive the screws into the plastic anchors, the anchors expand and grip the sides of the holes tightly, securing the back plate to the wall. Mount the front of the switch box to the backing plate using the two #6-32 machine screws that came with the box. Once you have installed a switch in the box, cover with the switch plate that came with the box.

About the Author

Based in Colorado Springs, Colo., Jerry Walch has been writing articles for the DIY market since 1974. His work has appeared in “Family Handyman” magazine, “Popular Science,” "Popular Mechanics," “Handy” and other publications. Walch spent 40 years working in the electrical trades and holds an Associate of Applied Science in applied electrical engineering technology from Alvin Junior College.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images