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drilling into brick, anchoring a chin up bar

for quite some time now, i've wanted to install a chin up bar in my backyard. i've settled on a bar and the spot but wanted to make sure it was my best option before moving forward.


the building is older but the brick wall is solid; there's no stress fractures and it's painted, so there's minimal surface wear too.

i think it would make a perfect spot, and if anchored properly, not cause a bit of concern.

i have a friend who wants me to think twice about it, though.


i don't know the diameter of the screw holes on the chin up bar, but generally, what type of anchor am i going to use? will a normal drill (and a proper bit) do the trick?  or do i have to rent a hammer drill? 


any tips, advice, etc would be greatly apppreciated.

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Posted 2011-01-16T00:15:08+0000  by waltzngmatlda waltzngmatlda

Hey waltzngmatlda.


Chin up bar huh! Wow, I don't think I could do 1 chin up properly. I can swim, bike and run like nobody's business, but no chinups. I think I would listen to your friend on this one, because a chinup bar would put extreme pressure on the wall and over a short period of time it would wallow out the screw holes and possibly put stress fractures on the wall. A brick wall is not designed for structural support as much as it is for looks. It is a facing with a wood wall behind it used for structural support, unless it is cinder block. Even then cinder block is very strong with load bearing down on it but not so much with load pulling out on it.


What I would do is to get (2) 4x4x10s and sink them 2 or 2.5 foot into the ground (depending on your height) and concreting them in, making sure they were level and even and about 5 foot apart. Next I would get a 1.5 inch piece of rigid conduit, take it to the plumbing dept and have them cut it down to 6 foot on the pipe threader machine. Go back to electrical dept and get a 1.5 inch rigid 2 hole strap to hold the bar to the top of the 4x4s so it wont roll off. Putting the bar in top of the 4x4s will put the least resistance on the 4x4s and should last forever.


I know that you already have a chinup bar and my way has some added expense, but it is actually cheaper than having to fix the brick down the road. Thanks for your question and let us know how things go.

Posted 2011-01-16T14:19:49+0000  by Ingar_HD_ATL

hey!  thanks for the suggestion.


this sounds like a great idea.


there's snow all over the ground, so i have some time to decide on that, but i wanted to make sure i was clear from before.


the brick wall isn't some free standing object.  it's part of the building, really solid. does this change your opinion?  do you think i'd be alright installing something there, with the proper anchors?  or you still think the free standing option is the best choice?


thanks for your help!

Posted 2011-01-19T01:54:29+0000  by waltzngmatlda

Hello Waltz, I've got the answer to your question... no muss, no fuss. You need to go to the plumbing and hardware departments at your local Home Depot, and pick up the following:

-two floor flanges,one inch

-one piece of pipe threaded on both ends, also one inch

-six 1/4 inch drop in anchors 

-a hammer drill, if you don't have one, and a 3/8 inch masonry bit

Get someone to cut the pipe to your measurements and re-thread the cut end. The flanges screw onto the pipe, and voila, one chin up bar.

The measurements need to take into account that you lose some length as you screw the flanges on the pipe, but minus 3/4 inch off the length should do the trick.

Place the bar where you want it,mark and drill your holes.

 I didn't tell you what length hex bolts to get, because you'll need to measure the thickness off the flange and the length of the anchor to get the correct length of the bolt, but it will be 1/4 x the length you come up with (I just don't know those measurements off the top of my head).

You may have to trial fit the pipe to come up with the correct length but it will be time well spent... you'll want the fit to be snug.

Any associate in the hardware and plumbing dept's. can help you if these terms are unfamiliar to you.

This is a very straight forward job, and will take you about an hour.

In addition to working at Home Depot, I'm a blacksmith, and I've anchored many things to brick walls, and this isn't the first time I've been asked this question.

Now two very important things..... the first is to look at the package for the anchors, it will tell you how deep to drill the holes, a little deeper is OK. but not too much or you'll have a hard time with the bolt. Second, you'll want to position the holes in the flanges over the "meat" of the brick as much as possible to get the maximum anchoring capacity, you'll see what I mean when you position the bar.

I hope this helps so let me know how it goes... oh, by the way, your looking huge, man!

Ray the Hammer

Posted 2011-01-19T18:39:02+0000  by TheHammer

Waltz, Ray again, I missed something in the previous posts that is important, if you are placing this between columns, then my way will definitely work, but it won't be any good at all if you are mounting this out from a wall... the anchors will pull out.

Let me know which it is, and we can come up with a solution. The Green Giants solution is a very workable answer if this is not going in between columns.

Sorry about the confusion, but I was reading and typing at the same time, and not wearing my glasses.

Man, getting old is rough.

Posted 2011-01-19T18:53:23+0000  by TheHammer

wow, look at all this help.  thanks guys.


yes, it's directly into a wall- not in between two columns. 


there are two colums i could do this with, but they're roughly 8 feet apart and one is concrete aproximately 10 inches thick, not brick. 


green giant solution is perfect except for one thing- i'd like to be able to get to the bar throughout the year, and if i build a free standing one in the backyard, that's just not going ot happen in the winter. i live in nyc, so having a backyard at all is a rare thing.


the only other possiblity i see is building a hang down bar from the concrete balcony above me. just to give you a picture-


i walk out to the backyard from the back door in my room, theres the brick wall (part of my room) to the left, and then above me is the concerete balcony supported by the house (brick) on three sides and a conrete pillar on the fourth.


                   ________|   column

                   |               |

brick           |                |

wall             |               





i think the drilling directly into the balcony floor overhang would be a safe spot if the wall isnt a good solution. 


thanks for your help guys!

Posted 2011-01-20T00:24:30+0000  by waltzngmatlda

O.K. Waltz, Ray the Hammer back in cyberspace. Let me start by saying that hanging a chin-up bar from the ceiling will not work because concrete/masonry anchors are made for "sheer" weight, not "pull" weight, so they will come out very soon, and you'll be dumped on your rear end in short order.

Now, putting one between the columns is still your best option, even though it is about eight feet, but one inch schedule 40 pipe will probably bend over an eight foot span, causing the anchors to pull out due to deflection of the pipe. Bigger pipe (1 1/2 or 2 1/2 inch)  won't deflect as much, or at all, but you will have problems with you grip due to the diameter.

A combination of 1 1/2 inch pipe over the span, and some pipe hangers from the concrete above, should solve your problem. Proceed as I told you for the between the column response, and ask a plumbing associate to show you some pipe hangers, not pipe strap, and the appropriate hardware to anchor these ( two evenly spaced should do the trick ); a few more wedge anchors will be needed. I know that I said not to anchor from the ceiling, but the combination of the two will offset the inherent flaws in each method.

If you could post a photo of the space I would be able to see if there are any potential problems with my ideas, but I'm confident it will work. The same anchors will work in both brick and masonry.

One more thing, the bar only has to be high enough for your feet to be off the ground, so keep that in mind when doing the installation.

Ray the Hammer

Posted 2011-01-21T13:50:22+0000  by TheHammer

oh jeez!  i didnt even notice the option to include pictures or i would have done it first thing. im sorry guys!


this is from the back door, looking out into the backyard.




this is the brick wall thats been causing all the comotion.


and this is the overhang i was referring to.  i dont want to hang something pulling straight down from directly overhead, but from the place most forefront in the picture, basically in between my ceiling and their balcony floor.  does that make sense?




Posted 2011-01-21T15:06:23+0000  by waltzngmatlda

Waltz, now that I've seen the pics, I'll give you other options. My answer for between the wall and column is still a good one. Anchoring to the front will work using the flanges, two short nipples, four 90 degree elbows to turn down, and then in, for the cross piece, but if you swing while you are doing the pull-ups, you'll quickly work the anchors loose.

As I mentioned earlier, I'm a blacksmith, so here goes the another option.

Find a machine shop, and have them weld a three bars of you choice into the shape of you pull-up bar, them have them weld a right angle to the top so it would go over the edge of the patio above, and have that welded to two plates of steel that have been drilled to accept the aforementioned anchors.

Any place that does welding will know what I'm talking about if you show them my answer here, and the pictures you have posted. If you came into my shop with this, and I didn't need to purchase any extra materials, I'd probably charge you about 50 bucks, and I'd be done in about an hour.

I hope this doesn't muddy the waters too much, so post away with more questions if you have them, and I'll try to help with specifics... I'll be here until 3:00 today.

Ray the Hammer

Posted 2011-01-21T16:02:04+0000  by TheHammer

aw, all these options are great.


your welding solution:


these plates that are welded to the right angle...are the plates supposed to be anchored to the floor above?  is anything else getting screwed into any other part of the concerete?



Posted 2011-01-21T16:43:01+0000  by waltzngmatlda

Alright, Watlz, I'm back from lunch so let's resume the task at hand.

Yes the plates would be anchored to the top of the porch, so with the welded design, it would actually hang over the edge even if it wasn't anchored... from the side, it would l look like an "L". Anchoring it will just give it the stability it needs so it won't "walk" off over the edge.

You might want some type of drilled tabs added to the front so you could anchor to the face of the deck... the less that it wiggles or moves, the better the anchors will work, and they won't come out. You'll have vertical and lateral points of attachment.

If you would like to post some kind of sketch of what you think it looks like, I'll take a look at it and give you some feedback. I'm not the best at the actual "computer" part of this... I was brought here for my hands on skills, so you are probably a lot faster at that part of it than me.

Like I said, I'm here til 3:00, so ask away.

Ray the Hammer

Posted 2011-01-21T17:59:26+0000  by TheHammer
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