I recently installed Airstone on my fireplace wall. It's a Lowe's product. I guess it would be considered a stone veneer. I am planning to install a mantel. The one I bought has a hanger board that gets mounted the wall, and then the mantel rests on top of it.

My issue is that I'm not sure what type of screws to use and how to drill the pilot holes. There is a Youtube video from Airstone saying it can be drilled (see below). I don't know if I need some type of masonry bit or if an ordinary bit is fine. Is there a good type of screw to use? I need something that will go through the Airstone and into the studs (wood and a stone veneer). The Airstone is 1", the hanger board is 1", and the drywall is 5/8".

Thank you in advance for any advice.

1 Answer 1


A regular high-speed steel bit will probably cut through the soft faux stone just fine, though it'll dull the bit fairly rapidly. If you have just a few holes to drill I'd go that route.

Otherwise, a masonry bit will also work until you reach the wood. At that point you'd switch to a high-speed steel bit and try not to bung it up on the way through the stone--maybe insert the bit fully before you start spinning it.

The holes in the stone should be the size of the screw thread diameter to prevent undue damage to the face of the stone. The pilot holes in the wood should be slightly smaller than the screw shank.

You want screws that are intended for structural use. Black oxide drywall screws are too brittle. Use gold construction screws or something specifically described as "structural" which are of suitable size and length. Unless your mantel is obscenely heavy, just about any screw #8 and up should do fine.

  • 1
    Thank you! How far into the stud should the screws go? I have 2.5" between the veneer, sheetrock, and hanger board. Sorry for the questions. I don't have a lot of DIY experience, but I'm learning.
    – Chris
    Nov 23, 2018 at 16:36
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    I have no idea what you're mounting, so that's hard to say. A good rule of thumb is 1-1/2 to 2" minimum for anything heavier than a photo frame.
    – isherwood
    Nov 23, 2018 at 16:47
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    Note that usually one only drills 1-1/4" into a 2x4 stud in order to prevent hitting any plumbing or wiring that may be running through the wall. </late to the party>
    – FreeMan
    Dec 1, 2021 at 15:25

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