How to Drill into Brick - The Right Technique

The ultimate guide on drilling into brick by using the right tools and technique.

Everyone likes to have wall hangings and photo frames up on their walls. But most people are intimidated by the thought of having to drill a hole in a brick wall to be able to hang the frames. Whether it be shelves, frames, or even cabinets, there will be a time when you will have to drill a hole into bricks.

In reality, if you are equipped with the right equipment and know the correct technique, drilling a hole in the wall should not be an issue at all. To make things easier for you, we are sharing a complete guide that will show the stepwise process as well as some tips and tricks on how to drill into brick easily.

Table of Content

Where to Drill: Brick vs. Mortar

Before diving into the technique that can help you drill into a brick wall, it is crucial to determine whether to drill into brick or mortar. There is no fixed answer to this question as the choice depends on several different factors.

The first thing that has to be considered is the weight of the hanging for which the hole is being drilled. It will be the wall that will have to bear the weight of the hanging. 

If you are planning on hanging something heavy, it is best to drill into brick. A brick is stronger than the mortar and thus will be better at supporting the weight. On the other hand, a hole in the mortar should do just as well for hangings that are not too heavy.

But if you want to drill a deeper hole, make sure that it is drilled into the mortar. Deep holes can cause cracks within the bricks and weaken their structure. Therefore, mortar holes are the best choice for deep holes.

Some people also consider the ease of concealing when drilling a wall in their homes. If a hole is prepared at the wrong place, and you need to cover it up, then brick holes will surely give you a tough time later on. Whereas concealing mortar-based holes requires a little mortar filling, the gap is filled entirely and barely noticeable.

To conclude, both brick holes, as well as mortar holes, have their pros and cons. Therefore, deciding which one to opt for, consider these factors, and then weigh the advantages and disadvantages. Only then will you be able to reach a conclusion and make the right choice.

Brick
  • It holds the material better 
  • Supports heavier object
  • A better option than mortar if the brick is not too old
  • Crisp, brittle or shatter bricks are probably not a good option to choose from 
  • Much harder to do patching if correction is required.
  • High risk of cleavage expansion or enlarged cracks in brick during installing
Mortar
  • It too holds material but not as strong as a brick
  • Generally good for small materials and wall hangings
  • Mortar’s age is also very important. Old mortar turns to powder form and provides less adhesiveness. 
  • Generally, new mortar has better power to hold objects.
  • Very easy to do patching if required to change the decision of transporting drill hole to a newer position. 
  • Generally, the very old mortar will turn in powder form and sometimes drilling may damage the neighbouring bricks.

Tools and Material

Before you go ahead and start drilling, it is best to gather all the tools and materials required. This way you will have access to everything you need and will not have to run around to get the things in the middle of the drilling.
  • Measuring Tape 
  • Hearing Protective Gear 
  • Gloves 
  • Masking Tape
  • Can of Compressed Air
  • Broom
  • Shop-Vac
  • Goggles
  • N95 Respirator Mask
  • Hammer Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Wall Anchor
  • Dustpan
  • Mop
  • Ladder

Step by Step Procedure to Drill into Brick

Now let’s go over the step-by-step procedure of drilling holes into bricks:

Step 1: Marking the Wall:

Once a hole has been drilled, especially in a brick, nothing can be done about it. Therefore, the first and the important step to drill into brick is that you mark the exact spots where you want the holes to be.

If you want to drill holes for hanging the paintings or frames, you will have to use a bubble leveler or a scale to keep the holes aligned with one another.

In case of a wall mounting or shelf, it is recommended that you hold it next to the wall, and mark the points where you need to make the holes. When marking the wall, mark the brick if you want to drill the holes into the brick or the mortar if you wish to be drilling into the mortar.

Step 2: Setting Up the Drill:

The next step is to set up the drill. Make sure that you go through the user manual and set up the drill properly. Using a hammer drill is highly recommended. But if you are not using a hammer drill, you can make use of masking tape to mark the drill to control the depth of the hole.

Step 3: Put on Protective Gear:

Do not compromise on safety when drilling a hole through a brick or mortar. Make use of goggles so that your eyes remain safe and no particles can get into your eyes. A drill can be extremely noisy therefore, you can use hearing protective gear to make sure that your ears remain comfortable while drilling into brick.

Moreover, it is important to note that the dust released during drilling contains particles of crystalline silica. Inhaling these particles can be a deadly health hazard. 

Therefore, make use of an N95 respirator so that you do not inhale these particles. Wearing gloves is also recommended as it will keep your hands clean and prevent bruising or the risk of injuries.

If you are using a ladder, make sure that it is placed on a leveled surface and is secure so that you do not fall off of it during the process.

Step 4: Positioning the Drill and Drilling the Hole:

After inserting the drill bit into the hammer drill and installing it correctly, position it perpendicular to the wall exactly on the spot that you marked to drill the hole. Turn the drill ON and start drilling at the lowest speed possible. 

You might experience a bit of a jerk when you first switch the drill ON therefore, hold the drill with both hands to ensure that it remains in place.

When aligning the drill against the wall, make sure that it is placed in an exact perpendicular position against the wall. Drilling into the brick at an angle will weaken the bricks and also weaken the hole. Next, drill into the wall to the required depth and stop the drill once the depth is reached.

If you want to drill a very deep hole, make sure that you stop the drill in between drilling. Otherwise, the drill can get overheated which will cause the motor of the drill to get damaged.

Step 5: Drill Using the Masonry Bit:

Now that the initial hole has been drilled, you can switch the hammer drill’s bit with the masonry bit and start the drilling into the hole again. This will help you reach the desired depth of the hole. Moreover, we also strongly recommend cordless hammer drills for this purpose.

Step 6: Clean the Hole:

After drilling the hole, now you should clean it to get rid of the dust particles. Use a can of compressed air to clean the hole. Leaving dust in the hole will weaken its holding power and will increase the risk of the anchor or the screw slipping out.

Step 7: Install the Wall Anchor:

You need wall anchors to be able to support the weight of the hanging. Once the hole is drilled, you can install the wall anchors or screws that will hold the wall hanging or the mount.

Once the wall anchor is installed, you can use it to set the wall hanging or mount in place. Now the hole is set in place, and you can hang the mount of hanging in place and adjust it to align it accordingly.

Step 8: Clean the Surface:

With this, the process of drilling a hole into brick is now completed. But you will notice that there will be a lot of dust and debris around the work surface. Now you can use the mop, broom, and dustpan to clean the work surface.

After cleaning the surface, remove and dispose of the safety gear. It is recommended that you take a shower immediately so that the small dust particles that may be on your body can be cleaned.

Frequently Asked Questions

Although a hammer drill is the best option for drilling a hole into brick, you can also use a power drill and a tungsten carbide drill to drill the holes. The process of drilling the holes will be almost the same. But you will have to keep some water nearby to cool the motor of the drill and gradually increase the bit size to enhance the size of the drill.

One of the main concerns that people have when drilling a hole into bricks is that they might crack the brick. If you want to drill a hole without cracking the brick, make sure that the drill is aligned perpendicular to the wall and you hold the drill straight. Moreover, gradually increase the size of the hole by interchanging the drill bits rather than trying to drill a hole with a larger circumference.

Yes. In fact, using a cordless drill to drill a hole into brick is a much better idea. The cordless drills are easier to use and the users do not have to deal with cords or finding a socket or install an extension near the work site. Cordless or corded drills have nothing to do with the hole drilled in the wall. You just need to ensure that the drill you choose is powerful enough to be able to pierce through the wall.

Yes, you can! Although, the regular drills are not as powerful as hammer drills. Therefore, using a hammer drill is the best option. But in case you do not have a hammer drill at hand, you can go ahead and use a regular drill to get the job done.

This depends greatly on the weight and dimension of the object that we plan to hang on. If the heavier objects are planned to be hanged, then probably you will need a bigger and stronger hole.

Conclusion

To conclude and summarize, the above article provides a descriptive explanation on how to drill into brick or mortar properly. The article includes a step-by-step guide for better safety and increased productivity.

So planning is very important when it comes to drilling. Good planning may take time but is still better than unfortunate corrections. So plan properly; place as well as tools.

Without proper tools, the task may not only become more difficult but can also be hazardous to one’s safety and protection. So always use proper tools. Follow the step-by-step guide for improved performance and safety. Finally, when you are done with drilling, clean all tools and the workplace.

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