As the appealing look of exposed brick has become more common, the technique of knowing how to drill into it without damaging it is an important skill.
Drilling into brick without cracking or damaging it does not require you to be a handyman. If you have the right drill, a masonry drill bit, and the skills, this task can be much more simple than you anticipate. However, it is still important to know some essential facts before you get started.
You shouldn’t have to pass on installing that hanging mirror or attaching your flower planter below your window just because the wall is brick. By following this step-by-step guide, you are guaranteed to have the knowledge you need to drill into a brick wall the right way and be able to attend to any obstacles you may face along the way.
1. Get a Drill, Drill Bit, Screw & Screwdriver
The most recommended drill for drilling into brick is a hammer drill like the TackLife Cordless Hammer Drill.
The high power and speed make drilling into a brick a much smoother process.
While you can use a regular drill, a hammer drill is best if you plan on making several larger holes, especially in a very strong brick.
In order to drill into the brick, you need to use a masonry drill bit.
This Bosch Drill Bit Set comes in various sizes and is specifically designed for brick, cement, or tile.
It is essential you use this type of drill bit due to the tip of the bit that allows you to drill through tough material.
As for a screw, you will need an anchor screw big enough to hold the weight of what you are hanging.
These screws need to be used as they have an extra set of sharp thread that helps it drill into anything solid.
It is also necessary that your screw is larger than the drill bit you use to avoid your screw from slipping right out. You will then also need a screwdriver for the installation.
2. Mark Your Desired Hole
Before you decide where you want your hole, it is best to check if there are any live wires or pipes behind the brick you are drilling into.
You should also never drill above or below an electrical socket.
If you are unsure of where any live wires or pipes are, you can purchase and use a pipe & live wire detector like the Nexberg Stud Finder, Moisture Detector, Wall Scanner and Metal Detector on Amazon.
As you choose where you want your hole, another consideration would be whether you drill directly into the brick or into the mortar, the paste in between.
While it is always better to drill into the brick as it typically holds more weight than mortar does a variety of factors that can influence this decision.
This includes the type and age of the brick and the size of the hole.
If you suspect your brick to be on the more fragile side or already cracking, drill into the mortar instead.
The mortar is also a better choice if the depth of your hole is going to be deep, as this can cause the brick to become stressed and crack.
Once you have found the best place, mark your holes with a pencil or a marker where you want to drill and make sure you can clearly see it.
3. Put on Your Protective Gear
When you are drilling into brick or mortar, a lot of dust is going to be flying out.
At this time, you can also prepare for any mess that is going to be made because of the dust.
If you want to limit the mess, you can tape a large bag to the wall to catch what falls and have a broom or vacuum handy.
4. Select Depth and Mark Your Drill
It is best to refer to the manual of the product you are installing to determine how deep the hole must be.
If they don’t clarify, you should drill the hole slightly deeper than the length of the screw.
If you do not have a drill with a depth-stop attachment, you can wrap several layers of masking tape around the drill bit to give you guidance on when to stop drilling.
5. Level the Drill With the Hole
You are now ready to start the real fun, drilling! Before you get started, however, follow all these steps carefully as cracking your brick is a real possibility.
Line up your drill perfectly horizontal and level and place the tip of the bit right up against your marker.
The next step will clarify what drill bit you should be using first.
6. Drill the Pilot Hole
The pilot hole is essential when you are drilling through brick and want to prevent it from cracking or breaking. This hole should be made with a smaller drill bit that will make the hole smaller than you need it to be.
Start with low speed and low pressure as you hold the drill with both hands and lightly begin to make the hole.
Once you feel the drill breakthrough to the brick, pick up the speed and use a steady pressure while moving the bit back and forth until it hits the desired depth.
If you find that your bit is not going directly straight back, pull it out and readjust.
If your drill only has one speed, it is best to drill in short bursts to avoid overheating the bit.
Note: If your drill bit does overheat, you may need to cool it down. By keeping a bucket of cold water next to you, you can dip the bit in when needed. Be cautious, however, that no water drips into the drill itself.
7. Drill Into the Hole Again
To keep your drill bit moving smoothly, you can use a can of compressed air like the Falcon Dust Off Compressed Air to easily remove any dust in the hole.
You will then use a larger drill bit that is still slightly smaller than the anchor you will be using.
Repeat the process with your drill perfectly level.
Continue to move your drill bit back and forth to keep any debris from clogging the hole.
If you find that your hole is already at a good size after the pilot hole, you can go ahead and take your anchor screw and a screwdriver and start putting the screw in as shown in this video:
8. Install the Appropriate Anchor
Now that you have a perfect hole and have not cracked your brick, you can screw in the appropriate anchor that has either come with your product or that you have decided can hold the weight of what you are hanging.
There you have it, the simplest way to drill into your brick without cracking it.
Before you go ahead and rule out hanging something on that brick wall you have, make sure to assess your brick and mortar and see if it is strong enough to drill into.
By using a good drill, a masonry drill bit, the proper anchor screw, and a steady level hand, you are sure to drill a hole into your brick easily without a single crack.
Remember to go over every step carefully and use all the appropriate tools as it is much harder to repair brick and will entail additional work you won’t want to do.
Cheers, tools owners!