Two DIY issues (disasters) putting up shelving, any advice welcome

Discussion in 'Builders' Talk' started by MichaelW, Sep 14, 2021.

  1. MichaelW

    MichaelW New Member

    Hi all,

    I'm drilling some holes in the wall to put up shelving. It seems to be plaster over hard brick.

    My first issue (photo 1) is a line of holes seem to be right on edge of a brick and the drill bit is wandering into the mortar. I'm drilling with pilot holes (5mm smallest SDS I have) and while trying to correct for the wander (angling it back towards the brick) the bit snapped and the end is wedged quite far in. I have tried dislodging with a smaller bit + hammer but no luck and I can't get any purchase with thin pillars.

    Any easy way around this besides pretend it never happened, plaster the hole in and move the bracket location to the side?

    Second issue (photo 2) is I've put a load of light tack masking tape (frog tape) all over the walls to mark my levels and holes, and it's taking some paint off as I peel back. I'm peeling 180 degrees (back, not out) and really slowly and it's still coming off.

    Any advice on the best way to fix this? Will a very thin plaster filler repair job + recoat look acceptable?


    Attached Files:

  2. terrymac

    terrymac Screwfix Select

    Very fine filler / and sanding after should give a good enough finish to then paint.
    Moving the brackets and filling the hole, leaving broken drill in place ,is probably easiest.
    How deep is the drill bit into the brick ?
    If you really want to remove it ,chipping away brick around it ,maybe ?
  3. DIYDave.

    DIYDave. Screwfix Select

    Don’t understand why you’ve got such a huge hole in the wall after drilling some holes for a shelf ? Even with the bit snapped off in wall

    If you can’t get the bit out with a pair of grips - screwing it out as you would do a screw, anti-clockwise, then either cut it off with a 4” angle grinder of Dremel type tool or multi tool with suitable blade

    Or just hammer it in a little so its beneath plaster, ready to fill over - depending on wall thickness and length of bit !

    Can you move the position of shelf so it’s not on mortar line or is the exact position critical ?

    As for masking tape - yes, I do the same when marking out a wall prior to hanging an item

    Trouble is, the stickiness of masking tape varies massively, as does the adhesion of paints to walls so you just never know

    When I need masking tape to really stick to a surface (even brick or a driveway) I use Eurocell tape, it’s excellent but, I wouldn’t use it in this situation for above reason

    Can buy ‘Low Tack’ tapes but I also have a roll or two from W (It’s got our name on it) and it’s so rubbish, it’s naturally low tack by nature

    One tip with masking tape is to tear off a length and stick it to your top whilst your measuring. Then peel off and stick to wall - removes some of the grip from the tape

    As to a repair - depends on the depth of paint on the walls and how many coats it’s had over the years

    If thin, and there’s not much of an edge where paint has peeled away, can then sand down the edges to ‘feather out’ and blend into wall. Mist coat bare plaster then ready for emulsion over the top

    If the paint edges are pronounced, then a combination of sanding and a wipe of filler over the areas, sand down, dust, mist, emulsion

    Needs to be a fine filler though so can blend in and sand back to zero thickness. Toupret interior is good and always recommended

    Use a wide ‘taping knife’ for these areas. Get a cheapie for around £8, it’s a handy tool for decorating

    Good luck
  4. Jord86

    Jord86 Screwfix Select

    Whittle a tapered spike out of a piece of softwood or buy a length of 1/2" dowel, apply glue and bang it into the hole, then cut off flush. Screw your shelves or brackets directly into the wood. With the paint, sand the edges lightly with 120-180 grit sandpaper and feather the edges into the existing paint.
  5. MichaelW

    MichaelW New Member

    Thanks all very much.

    Have ordered some filler and will try that + sanding. I think I will move the brackets. Hard to tell but I think a good 2" of drill bit is stuck in there.

    Thanks. Not sure myself why the hole is so big, partly because of my "correction" and perhaps also some plaster chipped off. Looks a right mess doesn't it.

    I like the idea of just sanding, the paint is very thin, I suspect they've forgone any primer and painted a top coat straight on to plaster. Will give that a go before trying a fine filler. Thanks for the tips, really helpful

    This sounds promising although I'm worried I'll hit the same mortar line on a few other holes yet to drill on the same vertical line, so to avoid further wandering I'm going to try shifting the bracket first. I've somewhat lost my confidence drilling into this stuff!

    Ta for the sanding tip too.
  6. Bob256

    Bob256 Member

    I sympathise. I always dread having to fix anything to our brick walls, especially if there isn't much leeway where the fixings go. A combination of thickish joints and bricks that break easily if you drill too close to an edge mean that it often seems to be about 50/50 as to whether I'll get a decent hole. There aren't a huge amount of tips online about how to deal with this either.
  7. MichaelW

    MichaelW New Member

    Thanks, I've found that too after some panic Googling. In my last place the bricks were softer and I could pilot hole with a cordless drill and a 2-3mm HSS bit to get a thin true line to widen bit by bit. But these bricks in this place are so hard I can't get anywhere without the SDS, and I can't seem to find any SDS bits thinner than 5/5.5mm! It feels like that's too wide for my kind of pilot hole..
  8. AnotherTopJob

    AnotherTopJob Screwfix Select

    You might be better off using a conventional hammer drill and masonry bit, as SDS drills tend to be quite aggressive.
  9. CGN

    CGN Screwfix Select

    A lot is down to how you hold the drill and control it. Unfortunately there are times when you hit something that causes the drill bit to take you on a merry dance.
  10. adgjl

    adgjl Member

    A solution is to start off slowly until you get the hole started -the thickness of the plaster is a good guide. You will still need ta make an indentation in the brick before you go for full power. With an SDS drill, the bit moves in and out quite a lot. This can be the difference between drilling the hole, and having the drill remove the bit from the wall completely.
  11. Mr Rusty

    Mr Rusty Screwfix Select

    Don't beat yourself up - it's all part of the learning curve. I guarantee that everyone who does any DIY has hit this problem (and broken drills off). There are many different sorts of fixings out there - plugs, expanding, resin etc. Often the trick is to know what is best for your wall - and a bit of advice - it is quite often NOT the screws and plugs the shelf came with. I usually throw provided fixings away - the plugs and screws are usually carp. You often have to use a much longer screw to get a good fixing. Don't be afraid to use 60-70mm screws, or even longer. Quite often it takes 20-25mm just to get through the plaster/board etc. into something solid.

    I repaired some loose curtain poles for my old mum last week. they were fixed with 40mm screws into 25mm thick plaster! I took them out, put some 8mm holes in and used 70 screws and brown plugs through into the brickwork. Those brackets aren't going anywhere now....
  12. stevie22

    stevie22 Screwfix Select

    Most SDS drills will act as drill only (ie hammer off): best start like that. If you have a variable speed dial that down: makes the drill much more controllable.

Share This Page