Here we'll address the fastening of our cable trellis systems into old (up to circa 1870) brick walls. Traditionally, 'brick' refered to rectangular blocks of fired or sun-dried clay, but now it pertains to any rectangular unit layed in mortar for construction purposes. Low quality bricks are usually plastered and therefore don’t belong in this 'exposed masonry' category, whereas clinkers are significantly harder and come from more recent times, though the terms 'brick' and 'clinker' are now almost always used interchangeably.

Characteristics of the 'old red brick'

There are roughly five commonly used types of brick, each ranked by their load bearing strength and weather resistance. Bricks that are fired at lower temperatures are far more porous and suck up water like a sponge! Over time this leads to accelerated deterioration through expansions and contractions caused by seasonal weather changes. You then need an external plaster to stop them from completely crumbling (see photo).


Depending on the raw material - clay or loam - and the 'baking' temperature, 'bricks' stand between simple bricks and very hard clinkers in terms of their strength and weather resistance. Bricks are not fired so hot, are porous and vulnerable, can absorb water like a sponge and then burst in frost. Again, that is why they need exterior plaster; otherwise they disintegrate when exposed to the weather (see photo). Weathering also occurs in historical brick masonry-- sometimes these are then levelled out by a coat of paint.

Problem zones in brickwork

Old bricks must be plastered over before installing cable trellises, but they should first be checked for damage to ensure their structural integrity. Antique and plastered brick walls are dealt with in their own category-- historic / old masonry. Click the link for more details. Lintels, when drilling, should be avoided where possible. The natural strength and weight of climbers is strong and, if fastened into old mortar joints, can dislodge the grout and weaken its hold. If this happens, the surrounding grout may have to be reinforced with composite mortar. Please see our instructions under drilling.

Suitable wall mounts, rawlplugs, and drills

Taking into account the above-mentioned issues, all 5 of our 

construction styles

-- with their standard fittings (mounts) -- are suitable for brick walls. We recommend hammer drill 

HB 44444

; for large and heavy duty kits- 

HB 16210

. You can also use an percussion drill or