How to Drill into Brick Without Cracking It

Cracking is the problem that most people meet when drilling holes into a brick using their best cordless hammer drill.  It really seems impossible to achieve it 100%, but there are ways on how to drill into brick without cracking it.

Mounting decors, appliances or fixtures often require drilling into your brick wall.  Drilling is also needed when you install pipes, vents, or cables, which need larger holes to provide better support.

Wall plugs as well as anchors come in several types, and each type depends on the weight of the objects that you’ll be mounting on the brick wall. 

But don’t worry if you don’t have enough knowledge about these things because there is normally a guide written on the packaging to help you decide what is right.

In drilling holes into a brick wall, there are things that you should do and you can’t do, which will be discussed below.  These tips are applicable whether you’re using a hammer drill, a masonry drill or just a regular drill.

So, if you are interested in drilling a large hole or a deep hole into your brick wall without cracking it, you had better read on.  

Ways to Drill into a Brick Wall Without Cracking It

Here are the tools needed in drilling a hole.  But remember, the following tools are dependent on the size of the hole and likewise on your purpose for drilling a hole.

  • Protective glasses.  You don’t need to invest on pricey glasses.  If your glasses can protect your eyes, that will already do.
  • Pencil or pen to mark the spot to be drilled.  Some make use of masking tape in showing the spot.  
  • Power drill
  • Hammer
  • Drill bits
  • Wall plugs and anchors.  These are needed if you use screws on your brick wall.
  • Screwdriver bits and screws

STEP #1: Inspect the spot behind your brick wall before drilling into it

Before you drill into your brick wall, make sure that there are no electrical cables, pipes or any other things that you could hit while drilling.  

STEP #2: Pick an appropriate drill bit

A masonry drill bit, which is usually used in drilling into bricks, is not similar to a drill used in woods and metals.  Each of these drill bits have distinct purposes.  This means that you cannot use a metal or wood drill bit if you’ll be drilling a hole into a brick.  

A masonry bit is ideal for drilling a brick, mortar/cement, concrete block/thermalite, tiles, or any concrete surfaces.  It has a round shank that can fit either in a keyless or keyed chuck of a drill.  

Personally, I am impressed with the Carbide Dewalt masonry drill bit.  The Makita SDS masonry bit is also a good choice if you own an SDS hammer drill. 

When you are using a masonry drill bit, you would normally be utilizing the hammer function, but it is not required.  Drilling a brittle block or brick using the hammer feature is not a good idea because it will just ruin or crush it, which will make it impossible to establish a strong hold.

In case a wall plug does not fit perfectly in the drill hole even after numerous tries, the hammer function of the drill is to blame.  What you can do is to forget about the hammer action first, use a smaller-sized drill, and then drill at a slower pace. 

STEP #3: Get an appropriate power drill

Below are several power drill types that you can use to drill holes into a brick wall:

Cordless drill

If you will just drill small holes into a brick wall, which is about 25mm, a cordless power drill is already enough.  The hammer action will not be always necessary, especially if you have reliable and high quality drill bits.   

Mains Power Drill

It is a battery-operated hammer drill that is intended to drill large holes.  

Rotary Hammer Power Drill

The Rotary drill is a powerful drill used particularly in creating much larger holes.

So technically, the power drill that is best to use depends mainly on the drill hole size that you’re planning to create and also on the weight of the object that you are going to mount.  The bigger the drill hole, the more powerful the power drill should be.  

STEP #4:  Choose an appropriate size of drill bit 

If you want the wall plug to become well-secured inside the drilled hole, you need to use a right-sized drill bit.  

Before permanently drilling a hole into a brick, you first have to create a pilot hole since they are extremely compact and hard.  The process is far different from drilling a hole into a wood because a pilot hole is not necessary.  

In almost all cases, a wall plug is needed when screwing something to a brick wall.  In order for a wall plug to fit into the drill hole, you must choose a slightly bigger drill bit.  Here is a guide to help you in choosing the perfect drill bit:

Yellow: Use a 3.44mm to 5mm screw in a 5mm-sized drill hole

Red: Use a 3.55mm to 5mm screw in a 6mm-sized drill hole

Blue: Use a 10g to 14g screw in a 7mm-sized drill hole

Brown: Use a 4mm to 6mm screw in a 7mm-sized drill hole

STEP #5: Drill a hole into the brick wall

Once you’ve determined the spots where you’re going to drill holes as well as identified the most appropriate power drill and drill bit, you will now need to learn how to drill into brick without cracking it.  

If you’ll be drilling into a smooth surface, it’s recommended that you use a nail punch and a hammer to predetermine the spot to be drilled on, or you could also drill a small hole first before creating the main hole.  

In addition, if you’ll be working on a soft surface, using the slowest speed motion would already be enough, and there’s no need to use the hammer action, only the rotary. 

On the other hand, if you’re drilling on a hard or compact surface, you’ll need to increase the speed and utilize the hammer action.  

But as far as drilling a brick wall is concerned and when using a hammer or masonry drill, consider maintaining the clutch at a low mode so it can effectively penetrate and stop the drill. 

If you think there is a need to increase the speed, then go ahead.  However, you need to take the necessary precautions in case the drill bit gets jammed.  

Steps in Drilling a Hole into a Brick Wall

  1. Start drilling the brick without exerting too much force.  Allow the power drill and the drill bit to do their job.  
  2. Once you’ve started to drill a hole and the drill bit can’t hardly escape anymore, increase the speed a bit and move the bit to and fro to allow the debris and dust to come out of the drill hole  
  3. When you’ve reached the required depth, let the drill bit spin again back and forth into the drill hole to help clear the debris or dust completely and so the wall plug could also be mounted perfectly.  
  4. You may now insert the wall plug into the drill hole, then repeat this step in all of the drill holes.  
  5. Position the object that you want to mount on the brick wall.
  6. Start inserting the screws using a screwdriver, then tighten.

STEP #6: Drilling larger holes into a brick wall

If you plan on mounting bigger and heavier objects onto your brick wall, you’ll need a hard-wearing wall anchor.  For instance, if you want to set up a large TV, you might want to use the Fischer Fixing or something like it.  It is available in several sizes that can cater to your different needs – and mind you, it is very durable.  

For this kind of mounting drilling task, the SDS hammer drill and the SDS drill bits would be great companions.  They are efficient in creating larger holes and in providing a strong support.    Again, you will need to create a pilot hole first before drilling the main hole. 

STEP #7: Creating drill holes into brick walls that will hold vents and pipes

When you’ll be installing vents or pipes, you’ll likewise need larger holes using a core drill and a core bit.  The core drill is quite the same as the hole-saw that is used in drilling timber.  Both of their drill bits have diamond tips that are capable of cutting round the edges of the holes instead of drilling through them.  

This type of drill is mostly used by electricians and plumbers as it is more reliable in drilling holes for cables and pipes to pass through. 

Steps in Drilling a Hole Using a Core Drill

  1. Create a pilot hole so it will be easier for you to drill the main hole later on.  
  2. Start from the power drill’s lowest speed.  Remember, the drill bit should already be spinning before it gets in contact with the brick wall.  
  3. Continue boring a hole and make sure that the drill bit assumes a straight position all throughout the process.  To prevent the bit from straying away from the regular path of the hole, use the side handle grip and you should set the clutch at low mode.  

Frequently Asked Questions 

How many drills can you find in a drill?

Most power drills are equipped with 2 gears, but there are also those that have 3 gears, which usually work smoother.  Drill gears offer versatility as you could work on different settings.  Setting #1 is the lowest speed with high torque, which is ideal for driving screws.  Setting #2, on the other hand, is medium speed with medium torque that is commonly used when driving as well as drilling.

What drill bit is ideal for drilling a brick wall?

The most effective drill bit in drilling holes into a brick wall is the masonry bit.  It is excellent in drilling through stones, too.  

Is hammer drill needed in drilling bricks?

It is necessary to make use of a power drill with a hammer function if you will drill holes into concrete, stone or brick.  If you perform the task without the help of the hammer action, you will most likely end up with a damaged power drill, or you will not be able to accomplish your project.