How do you drill into brick?

How do you drill into brick? - Fix It Cape Town

Brick is a durable building material that has been used for centuries. Whether you are a professional Contractor or a DIY enthusiast, there may come a time when you need to drill into brick to hang a picture, install a shelf, or create a hole for plumbing or electrical purposes. However, drilling into brick requires a different technique compared to drilling into wood or other materials. In this article, we will explore the process of drilling into brick, from selecting the right drill and drill bit to dealing with potential challenges.

Selecting the Right Drill

The first step in drilling into brick is selecting the right drill. Here are a few factors to consider when choosing a drill for this task:

  1. Corded vs. Cordless: Both corded and cordless drills can be used for drilling into brick, but corded drills generally provide more power and are better suited for heavy-duty applications. However, if you are working in an area without access to electricity, a cordless drill will be your best option.

  2. Power and Speed: Look for a drill with sufficient power and speed for drilling into brick. Higher voltage drills generally provide more power, while higher RPM (rotations per minute) allows for faster drilling.

  3. Hammer Action: Drilling into brick requires a hammering action to break through its dense structure. Make sure to choose a drill that has a hammer function or a dedicated hammer drill for this purpose.

Selecting the Right Drill Bit

The next important factor in drilling into brick is selecting the right drill bit. Using the wrong type of bit can result in difficulty in drilling, damaging the brick, or even causing injury. Here are a few types of drill bits commonly used for drilling into brick:

  1. Masonry Drill Bits: These bits are specifically designed for drilling into masonry materials such as brick, concrete, and stone. They have a carbide tip that helps to penetrate the hard surface of the brick. Make sure to choose a masonry drill bit in the size appropriate for your desired hole diameter.

  2. Diamond Drill Bits: Diamond drill bits are ideal for drilling into particularly hard or dense bricks. They feature a diamond-encrusted tip that can cut through tough materials with ease. These bits are more expensive than regular masonry bits but offer exceptional performance.

  3. Spade Bits: Spade bits are primarily used for drilling large diameter holes in wood, but they can also be used for drilling into soft bricks. However, they are not suitable for harder bricks or concrete.

Techniques for Drilling into Brick

Now that you have selected the right drill and drill bit, let’s explore some techniques that will help you create clean and precise holes in brick:

  1. Prepare the Brick: Before drilling, clean the surface of the brick to remove dust, dirt, or loose debris. You can use a brush or compressed air to ensure a clean work area.

  2. Mark the Hole: Use a pencil or marker to mark the exact spot where you want to drill. Double-check your measurements and ensure that the mark is level.

  3. Start Slowly: Place the drill bit on the marked spot and start drilling at a slow speed. Applying too much force or drilling too quickly can lead to overheating the bit or damaging the brick.

  4. Apply Steady Pressure: As you drill, apply steady pressure to the drill, allowing the bit to do the work. Avoid pushing too hard, as this can cause the bit to break or damage the brick.

  5. Use the Hammer Function: If your drill has a hammer function, engage it to create a pounding motion that helps to break through the brick. If using a dedicated hammer drill, this function will be automatic.

  6. Drill in Steps: For larger diameter holes, it is recommended to drill in stages. Start with a smaller bit and gradually increase the size until you reach your desired hole diameter. This approach prevents excessive strain on the drill and ensures a cleaner hole.

  7. Cooling the Bit: Drilling into brick generates heat, which can damage the drill bit. To prevent overheating, periodically pull the bit out of the hole and cool it down with water or a lubricating spray.

  8. Removing Dust: While drilling, brick dust may accumulate in the hole, making it harder to achieve clean, precise holes. Use a brush or compressed air to remove the dust, ensuring the bit can penetrate the brick effectively.

  9. Depth Control: To drill to a specific depth, mark the desired depth on the drill bit with a piece of tape or a marker. This will act as a visual guide and help prevent drilling too deep.

Potential Challenges and Solutions

Drilling into brick may present some challenges along the way. Here are a few common issues and their solutions:

  1. Cracking or Chipping: Sometimes, the brick may crack or chip during drilling. To minimize this risk, start with a smaller bit and gradually increase the size. Additionally, using a hammer drill with the correct speed and pressure can help prevent excessive damage.

  2. Getting Stuck: If the drill bit gets stuck in the brick, do not force it or pull on the drill. Instead, reverse the drill’s rotation and gently withdraw the bit, applying a bit of pressure. This will help release the bit from the brick.

  3. Uneven Holes: Uneven holes can occur if the drill wobbles or if the drilling pressure is not consistent. Ensure you hold the drill steady and apply an even amount of pressure throughout the drilling process.


Q: What safety precautions should I take when drilling into brick?

A: When drilling into brick, it is important to wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris. Additionally, using gloves and a dust mask is recommended to protect your hands and respiratory system from dust and debris.

Q: Can I use regular drill bits for drilling into brick?

A: Regular drill bits are not designed for drilling into brick and may not be able to penetrate the hard surface. It is best to use masonry drill bits or diamond drill bits specifically designed for the purpose.

Q: What size of drill bit should I use for drilling into brick?

A: The size of the drill bit depends on the diameter of the hole you wish to create. Choose a drill bit size that matches your desired hole diameter.


Drilling into brick requires the right tools, technique, and patience. By selecting the appropriate drill and drill bit, following the correct drilling techniques, and addressing potential challenges, you can create clean and precise holes in brick. Remember to prioritize safety by wearing appropriate protective gear and take your time to achieve the best results. Happy drilling!

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