How to Drill Into Brick Without Cracking it

Working through brick is not exactly easy, so to get you going, first, you will need a hammer drill, as it easily bores holes with the hammer-like movements. The drill bit to be used is the masonry drill bit but you must ensure that the size of the masonry bit matches that of your hammer drill. As you drill, you have to remain stable, because if you wiggle then your hole will be bigger than it is supposed to be.

Drilling into brick attracts a lot of dust and debris thus the operator must adorn the safety outfits. A nose mask will be needed, goggles to protect the eyes from dust. You will also need gloves and an overall with regard to how large the project is. The tools needed are a masonry drill bit, a hammer drill, and a pencil. Depending on where you will be drilling, you might have to make an impression that will guide the drill and at the same time prevent it from wandering.

The Procedure of Drilling Into Brick without Cracking It

Mark the drill depth using masking tape, but if your hammer drill has incorporated the depth stop attachment then all you need to do is adjust it to the depth that is to be achieved before you start drilling.

Drill the pilot hole

Drilling into brick will give you either a good finish or a cracked finish with an enlarged hole. So, to avoid the above, there are a few measures that you will have to incorporate into the procedure. For example, once you begin drilling, you have to remain steady and the drill must not be held at an angle, as this might compromise the stability of the anchor and the entire project once finished.

A pilot hole is usually a smaller hole drilled with a smaller drill bit, and which enables the operator to progressively achieve the required hole size without necessarily cracking the brick. So, what happens is that the operator will start drilling at a low speed and once the drill successfully penetrates the brick, you can pick up the speed but be sure to move the drill back and forth to allow air to flow in thus prevent heat build-up and to remove the debris accumulating with the flutes.

Use a bigger drill

The successive use of differently sized drill bits helps the operator to gradually get to the hole size that they desire while retaining a neat and circular hole. So, the progressive drill bits that will be used to drill into the brick wall will require that you go higher in drill bit size until you achieve the hole that you desire.

The debris build-up is unavoidable, so to keep a smooth workflow you could use compressed air to remove dust and debris in the hole.

Insert the anchor

Once you achieve the right size hole, you can proceed to insert the anchor and then your screw. Rawl plugs are usually used to enhance stability but if you managed to attain the required precise hole then you will not need to use a rawl plug, just attach whatever it is that you want directly to the drilled holes.

Talking about rawl plugs, you must realize that they come in different sizes, and you can tell by observing the colors. Rawl plugs come in four different colors, red, yellow, blue, and brown. For the 7mm hole, you will use a brown rawl plug, the same goes for the 4-6mm screws; for a 6mm hole, you will use a 3.5mm-5mm screw and for a 5mm rawl plug, a 3.4mm-5mm screw should suffice. The blue rawl plug is not any different from the brown rawl plug in terms of hole size, so for the blue rawl, you can use a 10g-14g screw.

Actionable Tips to observe before drilling a hole into brick

  1. Always check the walls for piping and avoid drilling above or below electrical sockets, to be sure, you could use the pipe and a live wire detector.
  2. As you drill, remove the accumulating debris as much as you possibly can, and while at it, keep the drill rotating and move it back and forth, or use the compressed air.
  3. Drills with a one-speed setting could damage the drill through overheating, you must, therefore, drill in short bursts to reduce heat accumulation, better yet, you can place a can of water close-by and dip the drill bit in the water from time to time. Taking care so that the water doesn’t penetrate the drill.
  4. Most importantly always check the load capacity of your rawl plugs, and if the information doesn’t come easy, just use the strongest rawl plug.
  5. Always drill perpendicularly to the wall, so that the brick is not put under stress when you hang heavy items on it. Also, for stability and durability don’t drill at an angle.
  6. Be sure to use the automatic center punch, we cannot emphasize enough how important it is to use this device. For one it helps prevent the drill from wandering all over, and the impression that it creates makes it easy to insert the drill bit and start drilling.
  7. Always use pilot holes when drilling into brick. Working with pilot holes is a whole different dimension and quite involving. Most operators are, therefore, lazy to start with pilot holes when drilling into brick and which is a recipe for disaster. Pilot holes happen to be the surest way of avoiding cracks when drilling on brick.


To drill into brick without cracking it can only take one route and that is by starting with the pilot holes. Other important things that you want to observe are the type of drills that you use, and the drill bits. The position that you hold your drill will also determine the overall finish, in that you might not end up with a cracked wall but if you hold your drill at an angle then the hole will be bigger than what you estimate. If you must use the rawl plugs, ensure to get the right one that can take on the load.


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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.