If you’re not able to successfully drill through brick, it’s likely down to poor technique or not making use of the correct equipment. Here is a list of reasons why you might have difficulty drilling into brick.
The reason that you are not able to drill into brick may be caused by a number of different issues such as using the wrong drill setting, using the wrong drill speed, applying the incorrect amount of pressure, using the wrong type of drill bit, or using the drill in its reverse setting. Incorrect technique may also prevent you from being able to drill into brick.
Below is a more detailed explanation so that you can identify what is causing the issue, along with a step-by-step guide on how to successfully drill into brick.
1. The drill is on the wrong setting
One of the most frustrating things that can happen when you’re using a drill, is that your drill won’t go through the brick. Sometimes this can happen if you have the drill on the wrong setting for the job you are doing.
Most drills have a few different settings on them that you can change by turning a dial or flicking a switch, and there are commonly three different settings.
The first is the drill setting which is used for drilling through wood, plastic, or other similar materials – nothing too hard or solid. The drive setting is generally used for driving screws in with, often into many different types of material.
Finally, there is the hammer setting, which is where the drill gets its name from. This setting is used for drilling into much harder materials and it’s called a hammer setting because it uses a backward and forward action, similar to that of someone using a hammer, to drive the drill into the brick wall or other solid material.
2. Drill is in reverse
Although this seems like a pretty obvious thing, it’s a mistake that is often made – even by professionals. Most drills have a reverse switch on them where the drill will rotate the opposite way to what it usually does. This is so that you can use the drill to remove screws or nuts instead of having to do it manually.
It can also be useful for removing the drill bit from a hard piece of wood – putting the drill in reverse will help you to remove it if it has got stuck.
So if your drill is set in the reverse (anti-clockwise) mode then the drill bit probably won’t go into the brick as most drill bits are designed to only drive in when they are rotating clockwise.
3. Wrong drill speed
One of the main problems you will encounter when trying to drill into brick is your drill bit overheating, and this usually occurs when you are using too much speed on the drill. Most hammer drills have a speed setting on them, which will be indicated by a dial with numbers or bars on it.
It’s always best to go slowly when drilling into brick so that your drill bit doesn’t overheat. Going slowly will also help you to drill holes that are straight.
4. Incorrect pressure
It can be easy to use too much or too little pressure when drilling, and too much pressure usually ends up with either your drill bit snapping or the motor in your drill burning out.
Too little pressure can cause the drill bit to move around instead of going exactly where you want it to, which can cause the surface you’re drilling into to end up chipped or damaged.
The easiest way for you to find the right amount of pressure when drilling is to start steadily with a small amount of pressure and gradually increase it until the drill bit begins to drive into the brick. Then, as the drill bit begins to drive into the brick, gently remove some of the pressure.
5. Incorrect drill bit
If you find that your drill isn’t going into the brick, then one of the most common reasons why is that you are probably using the wrong drill bit. In order to drill into brick, you must use a masonry drill bit.
If your drill bit is too small then there is a chance that it could snap, and if it’s too big then the drill will struggle to create enough power to rotate it and drive it into the brick.
Not only that, but the material that the drill bit is made from can make a difference too. Carbon or diamond-tipped drill bits are the best for drilling into brick as they will generally stay cooler than standard ones.
How to drill through brick
I’ll now walk you through the six steps to successfully drill through brick. Make sure to read through all the steps first before beginning.
1. Put on protective clothing
First of all, it’s important to make sure that you have all the appropriate safety gear on. There is always a risk of dust and debris getting into your eyes so goggles are a must, and as drills can be loud when going through brick then you should also use ear defenders. A dust mask will also prevent you from inhaling any of the dust that is produced while drilling.
Not only should you make sure that you are wearing safety gear, but if your drill is electric then you should ensure that the cord is not going to be a trip hazard, and if you are using a ladder then it should be properly stabilized so it’s safe to use.
2. Ensure that it’s safe to drill
You must always make sure that there are no pipes or electrical wires either on or in the wall where you are going to be drilling. It’s a good idea to use a wire tracer to find the wires if you need to, and a multi-scanner to find pipes.
It’s always better to take the time to check than to run the risk of drilling without knowing for certain if there are any wires or pipes there as not only could you seriously injure yourself if you were electrocuted, but you don’t want any water damage either.
3. Mark your hole
Next, you need to mark where you are going to be drilling each hole. This is important so that you always get your hole exactly where you’ve planned to put it, after all, there’s nothing worse than making a hole and then realizing it was nowhere near where it should have been! Not only that, but if you are mounting something onto the wall, then you should make sure your holes are level or it could end up hanging a bit crooked.
It’s a good idea to use a spirit level or a laser level to check that your holes are straight. Always double-check that your holes are going to be in the right place before you start to drill them as not only would extra holes look unsightly, but they can damage the wall and weaken the structure of the wall.
4. Make a pilot hole
It’s important to remember that care must be taken when drilling into brick to make sure that it does not crack. Therefore, to stop that from happening, you must make a pilot hole first. A pilot hole is a hole that is smaller than the eventual size that you want the hole to be and you should always use a smaller drill bit for this job.
When beginning to drill you must start by using the drill at a low speed and without much force or pressure on the drill. This will enable you to begin the hole gently and will allow you to keep control of what the drill is doing while making the start of the hole right on the mark that you have made.
5. Mark the drill bit
It is a good idea to mark your drill bit with a piece of tape to show how deep you need to go with it. If you are going to drill all the way through the wall then you should make sure that your drill bit is long enough to do so.
6. Start drilling
Make sure your drill is set to the correct settings and place your drill bit on the area you have marked for your hole. As the drill bit begins to turn, remember to apply gentle pressure first and gradually increase it until the drill bit begins to bite into the brick.
Also, always remember to keep taking the drill bit out of the hole so that dust and debris are continually removed from the hole and the drill bit doesn’t get stuck. It will also allow you to keep checking to see if the drill bit is overheating.
If your drill bit does get stuck then switch the drill over to the reverse setting and slowly pull the drill bit out of the hole, using the same amount of steady speed as for drilling. Usually, the drill bit will come out of the hole without any problems, but occasionally it might not.
If this happens then remove the drill bit from the drill and use a wrench to turn the drill bit anti-clockwise and remove it from the hole. Once you’ve got the drill bit out of the hole then use the drill in reverse again to remove the dust and debris from the hole before attempting to drill it again.
It can sometimes take a while to drill into brick so just remember to take it slowly and don’t try to rush. Check out my post for more information on how to drill into brick without causing damage.