How to Drill Into Brick

How fast you drill through a brick depends on the type of equipment that you are using. If you want to make large holes, a hammer drill will work best because of the rapid hammer-like blows. But if you are going to use the regular drill then you will need a high-quality masonry bit, whose effectiveness greatly relies on the tools turning speed.

The regular drill can also be used to drill into a brick but it requires a strategy, for the perfect finish. For example, you will have to remove the drill from the hole frequently because of heat build-up that could potentially damage the bit. Also as you drill, you must ensure that the drill doesn’t wiggle inside the hole, as you will end up with a larger hole than what you anticipated.

How to drill into brick

Any drilling project requires the operator to first observe the safety measures, which include finding the right protective gear, such as the work gloves, and hearing protection. If you are working on a big project, you will have to find protection for your nose and feet as well. Ensure that there are no explosives nearby, kids and people who are not involved in the project should not be in the vicinity, as they might cause distractions. The work area should also be cleared of clutter to avoid unprecedented accidents.

The tools needed for the project are a wall anchor, a hammer drill, canned compressed air masking tape, and masonry drill bits.

1. Measure the holes

Using a tape measure and a pencil, you will measure and mark the points that you want to drill holes on the brick. Once you have identified the perfect location, hold your painting over the marks to ensure that your painting or shelve will be in the right location, concerning the orientation of your room and also to complement the existing décor.

2. Set up the stop guide

Hammer drills normally incorporate the stop guides, so the second step is to set up the stop guide on your drill. The regular drill doesn’t have a stop guide, thus you will have to use masking tape to mark the depth or stopping point on the drill bit. Meaning that when you start drilling with your regular drill, you will stop at the point where the masking tape starts.

3. Protect yourself

Drilling into brick exposes you to crystalline silica, which is normally present in brick dust and that is why you must wear the N95 respirator. Drilling into brick also produces loud and sharp noises that could harm your ears, thus you need to wear a hearing protector. For your eyes, you will need goggles and for the safety of your hands, you will need fitting and not loose gloves.

4. Insert the drill bit

The next step is to insert your masonry drill bit into the hammer drill, use your index finger to press forward on the switch under your drill, to loosen the jaws, and then insert your masonry drill bit and press reverse to fasten. Some drills might require you to again turn the clutch, others such as the power drill might require you to use the provided key to fasten and loosen the jaws.

5. Position the drill

Before drilling, you must ensure that the drill is firmly secured on your hands, both your hands will hold the drill. The right hand will be positioned on the pistol and the left hand on the handle. And once you start drilling do not use force, just apply steady pressure as you drill into the brick.

The drill should be perfectly leveled and perpendicular to the wall, this will ensure that the final product is strong enough for what you want it to hold. Important to note is that drilling at an angle will compromise the holding power.

6. Use a large masonry drill bit

Remove the initial drill bit and insert the large one, and just like the initial drilling procedure, you will ensure that the drill is perpendicular to the wall, then proceed to drill in the initial pilot hole to the desired depth. If you don’t have various drill bit sizes, you can use a concrete anchor instead of a large drill bit. The screw is characteristic of extra-large sets of threads that go around it and which enable it to drill securely into anything tough or solid.

Ideally, the pilot drill bit must be smaller than the concrete anchor screw so that as you screw it in, it will exhibit the resistance that will ensure a firm grip. The same goes for the drill bit sizes, if you are using different bits, the pilot bit has to be smaller than the second bit.

7. Clean out the drilled hole

Leaving dust in the hole that you just drilled will compromise the integrity of the anchors, and your structure will not hold up firmly. So, to be sure that all the dust has been ejected from the drilled hole, you will use compressed air before setting up the screws.

8. Finish the installation process

The drilled hole in the brick is now ready for installation. You will first install the wall anchors that will support either your shelf, planter, or TV cabinet and then put the respective equipment, such as a shelf or a TV.

9. Clean up

Once you are done with the installation process it is time to clean up the dust that you drilled out of the brick, as we had already established that it is toxic. Clean with a wet cloth or a vacuum cleaner and then get rid of the work overall and shower.


Drilling into brick is not an easy task, so if you have the option of first drilling into mortar then brick the better. However, if you don’t have that option, you can always use the hammer drill and one that is power operated or a regular drill but one that has variable torque to provide the drill with enough power to go through the brick. Drilling into brick requires the operator to retain stability, because any movement that will make the drill wiggle, will translate to a larger hole.

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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.