How To Mount A Camera On Rough Block?

I went to a customer site yesterday and the entire side of the building where they need coverage is this fancy decorative block. Its textured, with peaks and valleys and not a single smooth surface. It's a higher end development, so it has to look good, and unfortunately I don't have the ability to mount to any other surface. I plan on using dome cameras, not ruling out the use of wall brackets. The other problem I have is that I have to run my wire on the exterior, as this is a condo association and they have finished walls and ceilings on the oppoiste side, with no chance of getting wire through. I have never had to mount to this type of surface before, so if any one has any suggestions or experience with this decorative block I would greatly appreciate it.

Block Wall

The answer: You must fabricate a flat surface to mount from. See if this drawing makes sense or not:

(This is a top view, looking down on the wall.)

Anchor a mounting plate to the wall so it 'floats' above the block face by the smallest amount. 4 deep lag bolts anchor the plate to the wall. These bolts need to be deep, probably by 3/4ths the thickness of block or more. The gap behind the plate should be backfilled by watertight silicone or some sealant that will not absorb water. For the same reason, a metal plate is better than wood.

The plate is what you hang the camera from, not the wall.

Does that help?

Yes that does, thanks for the info.

Glue it with Loctite or other glue. They have made huge progress in the past with Glues.

An option is to drill in the line between the blocks...

I strongly advise against either of these options.

Gluing a camera to a wall, or even gluing a plate to a wall makes future service or replacement difficult or impossible. Even with advanced construction adhesives, bond failure is always a risk, especially on where the thickness of the bonding material may be 1/4" or more (on the irregular surface).

Servicing a camera should never involve a prybar! :)

Also, the option to drill into grout/mortar lines between the blocks runs a huge risk of mortar breakout or washout over time. Mortar is dense, but brittle, and simply does not have the tensile strength needed to resist bolts pulling away or ice damage over time.

Always drill the block, not the mortar.

Good discription brian.

If you use 1/2" Round rubber gaskets behind the anchors,add a little GE silicon 2 to the backs, when compressed, it will all to stand off at the proper distance to make a tight backing.

Take a look at This Adhesive Accessories Opti-Mesh Adhesive-Anchoring Screen Tubes by Simpson Strong ties.

John thanks for the edit.

That material is called split face block. It is very similar to regular cement blocks, except it has a rough outer surface where the original 16 inch block was split into two 8 inch blocks.

As for where to drill out for your fastners, we generally try our best to never use the mortar joint. The block or brick will generally hold much better than mortar will. Depending on your block or brick, age, hardness, etc will vary.

What we like to use is a double expanding masonry anchor like this one:

Masonry Anchor

Given that you must also run the wiring on the exterior of the building, what are you planning to use? 1/2 , 3/4 conduit, grey electrical plastic conduit, plastic, or armored seal tite? All of these must terminate into something. For our own installation on this material, we had the luxury of penetrating the mortar to run the cabling indoors.

These blocks are typically flat on the end, and have only two holes. The walls of the block are 1-1/2" inch think, so going 2" to either side will drill into the hole opening. This will allow you to use a long toggle bolt to secure an electical box to the surface.

We mounted a standard pelco 1-1/2 npt compact wall mount with two toggles in the hole above a horizontal mortar joint, and two toggles below. The cable goes through the joint into the building. Of course we sealed the entry holes well. We did chip off a few high spots allowing the mount to be near flat, and having toggles into the block, makes for a solid mount.

We were planning on doing conduit onto a shallow box, then mounting the camera to it. We dont have the luxery of going inside, despite the fact that it would make life 10X easier, the customer said no. So thanks for the info all it really helped us out.