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The wife has asked me to put up some string lights (2 x 45' lengths weighing 9 lbs/strand) over our deck in the backyard and I'm looking for the best way to hook it up to the house as I don't have any wood on the house to screw into.

I have bought a 1/8" - 3/16" vinyl coated cable with a cable kit that includes the turnbuckles and clamps, however, I need to still purchase the eye hooks to install on the house. I guess those will depend on where I should install them.

Here is a picture of what is available to me on the back of my house: Location of eye hooks

Should I screw the eye hook into:

  1. The bottom of the fascia?
  2. The bottom of the soffits? or
  3. Into the mortar between the bricks?

Which would be the best option? I've looked through countless articles/videos online, however, they mostly always just skip over this part and don't explain the options.

If you have any links to the best eye hooks for whichever application as well, that would be a great bonus too.

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  • What material is #1? Is it a fiber board, or "real wood" ? – JPhi1618 Jun 10 at 16:11
  • Neither. It’s a thin piece of metal/hard plastic? – ACanadianCoder Jun 10 at 16:12
  • Oh, I see now. It's a vinyl siding type piece to go with #2. How heavy are the lights? Are we talking Christmas light weight, or a heavier "patio light" string with thick cord and full size light bulbs? – JPhi1618 Jun 10 at 16:18
  • Correct. They’re full sized patio string lights for decoration. The box for each 45’ section is 9lbs. I’m hooking up two boxes worth in like a v-type pattern from house to deck post – ACanadianCoder Jun 10 at 16:22
  • If you have gutters held up by brackets, you could use those as anchor points for hooks. It's whether or not there's enough of them for added support the weight of patio lights. – gwally Jun 10 at 17:21
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You have two options for hanging the lights as I see it.

Under #2, there will be some studs every 16" or 24", but the problem is finding them without drilling holes through #2. You may be able to find them by probing through one of the vent sections and then measuring over from the one you found to hopefully get to the next one. The idea would be to drill through #2 and get into a stud with a long, relatively thick screw eye. If you really want to avoid the brick, this is a good option.

#1 is a cladding over what is probably a fiberboard fascia or some other thin material that you probably wouldn't trust to hold the weight of the lights.

#3, the brick is the easy option because you can drill where ever you want without trying to find the right spot. Drilling into the mortar is the weakest part of the wall, however, and for something that will be pulling straight away from the wall, I'd really have to recommend drilling into the brick itself. You say the box of lights is 9lbs, but as they get pulled straight, that weight is multiplied so you have to use an anchor that can easily hold 60lbs or more (you have wind too!).

For setting the fastener in brick, a lag shield is a tried-and-true method, and if you choose one the same size as your mortar line, they can be pretty strong in between bricks as well.

Lag sheild

These should be available at any hardware store, and work a lot like the little plastic drywall anchors you can use inside. You put the lag shield into the wall and then use a screw eye made for wood to screw into it.

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  • Thank you very much for the thorough answer. Regarding #2, the studs you speak of wouldn't touch the soffits, correct? Like, they'd be hovering above them a bit? I tried poking around the soffit (pushing up as much as I could), but couldn't feel any studs directly above/touching them at all, so I'd assume there's a bit of a gap then? – ACanadianCoder Jun 10 at 17:14
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    @ACanadianCoder, if you search for images of "soffit framing", you'll see there are a few ways to do it. Many ways will have a board laying flat supporting the soffit material, but its also possible to have a nailer that runs parallel to the soffit against the house and at the edge so that there are no perpendicular boards at all. Either way you should be able to find some wood, but it may end up being a thin nailer near where #1 and #2 meet. A cheap boroscope poked through one of the vent sections could help a lot. – JPhi1618 Jun 10 at 19:03
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I'm guessing the light string is not very heavy, so consider stick-on hooks instead. There are some pretty decent ones that are designed for hanging pictures on walls, but with a little ingenuity (or shopping around) you should be able to adapt them to your purpose. I'd stick them to the underside of the gutter because that's where I would want the lights to be.

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    Important to look for the right ones - as some (the removable ones for instance) stick-on hooks do not grip well when there is moisture in the air - which is possibly more of an issue outside than inside. – Mr R Jun 10 at 19:23

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