How to Drill a Hole in a Wall

Walls are made of different materials, some from sheetrock, brick, stone, plasterboard, concrete, block, or quarry tiles. And which means that the type of drill bit to be used to drill a hole in the wall will vary. So, for sheetrock and plasterboard, a drywall bit will do the job. For the other tough materials such as brick, stone, block, concrete, or quarry tiles, you will have to use a masonry bit.

Drilling a hole in a wall is one of the simplest things that you will ever do, but it can be costly if you don’t observe the fundamentals. Once you identify the spot that you want to hang your portrait or your hanging shelf, you must first ensure that the selected area is safe to drill. As part of house construction, most of the electrical and water piping goes behind the walls.

You will, therefore, not drill above or below an electrical socket or receptacle, a stud finder or a live wire detector can be quite handy for this process. Also, if you plan to drill in the high moisture areas, you will have to be conscious of the piping going on behind the walls, which then means that you cannot drill through walls that are shared with the bathroom or the kitchen. Watch out for the radiators because they are also an indication that there is electric cabling behind the walls.

Also, you will want to drill into a solid wall, so that whatever you hang on them can remain intact for the longest time possible. You will thus check the wall for spaces, tap on the wall and listen if it sounds hollow move to another location, and tap again if you don’t hear a hollow sound, you can proceed with drilling.

How to properly drill a hole in a wall

  1. Ensure to get the right drill bit for the type of wall that you want to drill through.
  2. Improvise a depth gauge, to guide you on the depth that you will drill into the wall.
  3. To mark the drilling depth, get a masking tape and mark on the drill bit the depth that you wish to achieve, better yet, you could use your rawl plug to determine the depth. Place it side by side with the drill bit and then place the masking tape a few inches lower leaving some decent space between the wall plug and the masking tape.
  4. Install your drill bit in your drill
  5. Adjust your drill setting and ensure that it is on the hammer action to enable you to get through the wall fast and easy.
  6. Put on protection for your eyes, if you have sensitive ears, you can also cover your ears and if you are working on a huge project then you need protection for your nose.
  7. Get your pencil and mark the safe sport that you want to drill, and with your hammer and countersink make an impression on the wall, which you will use as a guide for your drill.
  8. Get your drill and ensure that it is perpendicular to the wall then begin drilling. As you drill, start with a low speed and slowly increase the bit’s speed. Also, apply steady pressure but don’t let it seem like you are forcing the drill into the wall.
  9. Once you achieve the desired depth, you might want to remove the drill bit from the hole, don’t stop the drill just yet, and instead pull it out slowly as it is spinning.
  10. The next step is to put in an anchor, normally used to support the screw that will hold the paint.
  11. Once the anchor is in place, insert into the anchor a hook or screw using your drill, ensure to leave about ½ an inch hanging on the outside, which you will use to hang your paint.

How to drill a hole in a wall with a power drill

If you want to make a hole that will go from inside your house, all the way to the outside, you will have to start drilling from the outside wall going through to the inside. For this process, you will need big drill bits of different sizes, because you must achieve precision. And this means that you will need a pilot hole which you will gradually expand with the other differently sized drill bits.

  1. Given that this project is big, all the safety precautions must be observed, you will, therefore, need goggles to protect your eyes, nose and noise protection, and some snug-fitting gloves.
  2. Ensure that your drill is connected to a power outlet that matches its strength.
  3. The first step is to set your drill on the normal drill function, this is for marking the point that you want to drill. At this point, your drill will be operating at high speed.
  4. When the impression has been made, you will have to switch to the hammer function and go all the way through. Remember, however, to measure the wall with your door frame so that you know when to alternate the speeds once you reach the inside wall.
  5. The reason for alternating the speeds is so that you can achieve a smooth finish on the inside. If you push to the other end with a high-speed hammer drill function, you will probably blow your wall on the other end.
  6. Remember we said, you will need different size drill bits, so if you were initially using the 10mil drill bit to drill a hole through the wall, you will now need a 16mil drill bit. Most importantly is that you will not be using the hammer function but the normal drill bit function.
  7. The next drill bit to use will probably be an 18mil; you will go with the increments until you achieve the desired hole size that will fit the gas piping or whatever it is that you want to do.


Drilling a hole in a wall is simple only if the basics are observed, which include identifying the pipings, for both water and electricity. You also want to make sure that your project is done on a solid wall, so knock on the wall to ensure that you don’t drill into a hollow wall but one that is well filled for stability.


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Arthur Allen has been using all sorts of power tools for the last 27 years, gaining a lot of experience on how they work, how to determine what makes a power good, and becoming an expert on the subject through many years of real world trial and error. Not only is Arthur and expert in tools, but various building jobs as well.