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Attempting to drill into brick can be a daunting task as cracks can make for a time-consuming and costly affair. The great news is that cracks can be easily avoided by using the right equipment and correct technique.
To drill into brick without cracking it, you first need to assess the brick to ensure it’s strong enough to be drilled into. Always use a masonry drill bit when drilling into brick to avoid cracks. A hammer drill is best suited to drilling into brick, but a regular drill may be used with the correct technique.
I’ll now walk you through the eight simple steps to ensure that you successfully drill into brick without cracking it.
1. Gather your tools: drill, drill bit, screwdriver, and screws
When drilling into brick it is essential to have the right type of drill to do the job with and the best sort of drill to use for drilling into brick with is a type of drill called a hammer drill.
It is possible to use a regular type of drill, but if you’re drilling into very hard and tough brick or making a lot of large holes then it is much better to use a hammer drill. This is because the hammer drill has a lot more power and a higher speed which makes it a much easier process.
When drilling into brick you must always use a specialist masonry drill bit as the shape of the tip is designed to drill through solid materials such as brick.
It is also essential to choose screws that are going to be able to support what you are hanging or fastening. Anchor screws are the best type to use as their thread has been specially designed so that they screw into solid materials.
In order to create a snug fit, it is advisable to have a screw that is slightly bigger than your drill bit as it helps prevent the screws from slipping out of the holes. You also need an appropriate screwdriver that fits the screws.
2. Mark your holes clearly
When preparing to drill your holes you need to make sure that you are going to drill them in a safe place. Therefore, you must never drill near an electrical socket and it is essential that you check where any pipes or live wires are in the walls. If you are not certain where they are then you should get a wire detector to check with first.
When choosing where to drill you need to also decide whether you are going to drill into the brick itself drill into the mortar. It is better to drill straight into the brick as generally brick is able to support weight better than mortar, although it does depend on the size and depth of the hole and the age and type of brick.
If the brick is old or is cracking then it is a better idea to avoid the brick and drill into the mortar instead. The depth of the hole that you are drilling is also an important factor to consider when deciding whether to drill straight into the brick as a deep hole can result in the brick cracking, in which case it is again better to avoid the brick and drill into the mortar instead.
Once you have decided where to drill it is important to clearly mark the place that you want to drill.
3. Put your protective clothing
As drilling can be quite a messy business that causes a large amount of dust and bits of debris it is a good idea to protect yourself with the use of safety glasses, a dust mask, gloves, and earplugs.
You might also want to have a vacuum at the ready or place a bag underneath the area you are drilling to try and prevent the dust from going on the floor.
4. Choose hole depth
The next step is to check the user manual of the item that you are hanging to find out what depth the hole needs to be. If it doesn’t say or you don’t have a manual then the ideal depth is just slightly longer than the anchor screw.
If you have a drill that has a depth-stop attachment then it is particularly useful for this sort of job, but if you don’t have one then masking tape will be sufficient to do the job with. Just place some tape on the bit so that you know approximately when the hole is deep enough.
5. Line the drill up with the hole
The next step is to put the drill bit tip on your marker and try to line the drill up horizontally and as level as possible before attempting to drill. Follow the following steps to ensure that you successfully drill into the brick without cracking it.
6. Create the first 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.
Once you have begun to drill into the brick then you can increase the speed of the drill and apply more pressure to it, moving the drill backwards and forwards until you have reached the required depth of the hole. Sometimes the drill does not going in straight, if this happens then take it out and adjust it so that it is going in level again.
When drilling, particularly if you are using a drill that only has one speed setting, there is a chance that your drill bit can overheat. If this happens then it will need to be cooled down so it is advisable to have a bucket or bowl of cold water nearby so that you can put the drill bit in it and cool it down if you need to. If you do need to cool the drill bit down then be careful not the get any water on the drill itself.
7. Drill again
The next thing that you need to do is to see what size the hole is. If it is the right size for the anchor screws then it is time to start screwing them in. However, if the hole is too small then you need to start drilling the hole again, but this time using a bigger drill bit than the one you have just used, but is still smaller than the anchor screws that you are going to use.
Line your drill up again level with your hole and begin drilling again, remembering to move the drill bit backwards and forwards as it helps to stop the dust from clogging up in the hole. You can use compressed air to remove the dust if you want and that is available in cans.
8. Install the Anchor Screws
By now your hole should be the right size and without any cracked brick around it, which means that you can now start screwing in the anchor screws that you have chosen to use.