How do you drill into brick?

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

Are you planning a DIY project that involves drilling into brick? Whether you’re looking to hang shelves, install a TV mount, or create a brick accent wall, drilling into brick can seem like a daunting task. However, with the right techniques and tools, you can achieve clean and precise holes in brick without much hassle. 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

Before we delve into the drilling process, it’s essential to choose the right drill for the job. When it comes to drilling into brick, a hammer drill is the most appropriate choice. Unlike regular drills, hammer drills have a built-in hammering motion that helps penetrate hard materials like brick. Additionally, make sure the drill you select has a variable speed setting, allowing you to adjust the drilling speed according to your needs.

Choosing the Right Drill Bit

Equally important is selecting the right drill bit for brick drilling. Masonry drill bits are specifically designed for drilling into hard materials like brick, concrete, and stone. These drill bits have a carbide or diamond tip, which provides the necessary durability and strength to bore through tough surfaces. Ensure that you choose a masonry drill bit of the appropriate size for the holes you intend to create.

Preparation for Drilling

Proper preparation is crucial for achieving clean and precise holes when drilling into brick. Before you start, gather the following tools and materials:

  1. Safety goggles: Protect your eyes from dust and debris while drilling.
  2. Mask: Prevent inhaling brick dust particles by wearing a mask.
  3. Tape: Apply tape over the drilling spot to reduce brick chipping and prevent the drill bit from slipping.
  4. Pencil: Mark the exact locations where you want the holes.
  5. Spirit level: Use a level to ensure your holes are straight and even.

The Drilling Process

Now that you have your drill, drill bit, and other necessary preparations completed, it’s time to start drilling into the brick. Follow these steps for a clean and precise drilling experience:

  1. Mark the drilling spots: Use a pencil and a spirit level to mark the exact locations where you want to drill your holes. Double-check to ensure accuracy.
  2. Attach the masonry drill bit: Insert the selected masonry drill bit into the chuck of your hammer drill and tighten it securely.
  3. Set the drill to the desired speed: Adjust the drilling speed on your hammer drill to a moderate speed suitable for brick drilling.
  4. Apply gentle pressure: Position the drill bit on the marked spot and apply gentle pressure as you start drilling. Let the drill do the work– avoid forcing or applying excessive pressure.
  5. Drilling technique: Hold the drill perpendicular to the brick surface, keeping it steady and level, and start the drilling motion. The hammering action of the drill will help break through the brick gradually.
  6. Depth control: Drill to the desired depth, periodically withdrawing the drill to clear any accumulated debris.
  7. Clean the hole: Once the hole is drilled, use a brush to clean away any residual dust or debris from the hole.

Dealing with Potential Challenges

While drilling into brick can be a relatively straightforward process, you might encounter a few challenges along the way. Here are some common obstacles and how to address them:

Brick chipping

Brick chipping can occur if too much pressure is applied during drilling or if the drill bit slips off the marked spot. To prevent chipping, follow these tips:

  • Use masking tape over the drilling spot, which serves as a protective layer and reduces the chances of chipping.
  • Start drilling at a slow speed and gradually increase the speed as the drill bit begins to bite into the brick.
  • Hold the drill steady and maintain a perpendicular position to avoid any unnecessary sideways movement.

Dust and debris

Drilling into brick creates a significant amount of dust and debris. Here’s how you can minimize the mess:

  • Wear safety goggles and a mask to protect yourself from inhaling the dust particles while drilling.
  • Cover nearby furniture or items with a sheet or plastic to prevent dust accumulation.
  • Periodically clean the drilled holes with a brush to remove any excess dust or debris.

Bouncing or wandering drill bit

If the drill bit starts bouncing or wandering during the drilling process, try the following:

  • Ensure the drill is positioned correctly, with the bit perpendicular to the brick surface.
  • Apply steady and even pressure throughout the drilling process, without forcing the drill or allowing it to wander off course.
  • If necessary, start with a smaller pilot hole to provide more control and guidance for the drill bit.


  1. Can I use a regular drill for drilling into brick?
    No, regular drills are not designed for drilling into hard materials like brick. It is recommended to use a hammer drill specifically designed for masonry work.

  2. Which drill bit size should I use for drilling into brick?
    The drill bit size you choose will depend on the specific project requirements and the diameter of the holes you want to create. Ensure you select a masonry drill bit of the appropriate size.

  3. What is the purpose of the tape over the drilling spot?
    Applying tape over the drilling spot helps to reduce chipping and prevents the drill bit from slipping off the marked location.

  4. How can I prevent brick dust from getting into the air?
    Wear safety goggles and a mask to protect yourself from inhaling the dust particles. Additionally, periodically clean the holes and surrounding area with a brush to minimize dust accumulation.


Drilling into brick doesn’t have to be intimidating. By following the correct techniques and using the right tools, you can achieve clean and precise holes in brick for all your DIY projects. Remember to select a hammer drill with a variable speed setting, choose a suitable masonry drill bit, and take the necessary precautions for safety. With practice and patience, you’ll be able to master the art of drilling into brick and complete your projects with confidence.

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