How to Drill Into Brick – A Quick Guide for Homeowners

How to drill into brick wall- Have you ever thought about it? If you live in a brick house, you probably already know how tricky it is to hang paintings and other decors on your wall. It’s perfectly natural to fear that once you drilled into the brick, your house will fall apart. Hanging a clock or picture on a brick fireplace poses the same problem. Installing screws into the mortar in between the bricks may lead it to crumble.

However, you need not dwell on the dilemma of how to drill into brick for long as there’s a perfectly safe and effective way to do it. What you need are proper equipment and the right guide to assist you in doing it. To help you out, here’s a quick and detailed guide that you can easily follow so you can decorate your place in no time.


1. What You will Need To Drill Into Brick

Before you start, you first need to make sure that you have the appropriate tools and equipment.

Hammer drill

hammer drill - tools for drill into brick

Hammer Drill

Hammer drills are perfect in making holes in cinder block, concrete, and brick. It hammers to break the aggregate or the coarse material in which the brick is made of and drills to remove any debris.

There are many types of hammer drills, but let’s focus on the rotary hammer drill and the standard hammer drill. Both are excellent in doing any drilling masonry. However, the former ismore powerful, and it has a hammer-only mode which you can use if you want to remove hard aggregate.

If you want to make a hole or several holes that are bigger than ½ inch, then use a rotary hammer drill. However, if you only want to make holes of about ½ inch, a standard hammer drill will do just fine.

Drill bits or Masonry bits

Tools for Drill into Brick

Masonry Bits

Drill bits that you use to drill through bricks are called masonry bits. The tip of the masonry bit is usually larger in diameter compared to its shaft. This allows it to fit right in when the shaft reaches the hole.

For this job, you are looking for sharp bits, preferably one with durium or carbide tip as these are specifically intended to be used with hammer drills. They make penetration in hard surfaces faster and better. If you don’t know how to distinguish it from the others, you can ask for assistance in the hardware store from which you’ll be buying it.

Since drill bits come in different sizes, you need to pay careful attention to it. Make sure that they are compatible with your hammer drill.

Bucket of water

Drilling through the mortar can be stressful to your hammer drill. It will cause your masonry bits to become hot. This is where the bucket of water becomes helpful. Keep it close with you as you may need to cool the bit every once in awhile during the drilling process.

If you want to hang a picture or other fittings in your brick wall, you would also need these items:

Masonry Screw

Tools for Drill into Brick

Masonry Screw

The masonry screw will be used to fasten your fittings to your brick wall. Its size will highly depend on the hole you are trying to make and the length of your masonry bit. The length of bit should be able to drill about ½ inch deeper than the masonry screw. To help you in buying them, here’s a guide:


Tools for Drill into Brick


A screwdriver is used for tuning the screws. It does not matter if you buy a manual or powered one as long as it’s compatible with your screws.

Wall anchor

Tools for Drill into Brick

Expansion Anchor

You use a wall anchor to support any heavy wall hanging or accessory you want to hang on your brick wall. For this project, you need to buy expansion anchors as they are designed to open once they are properly anchored to the wall. Thus, they provide a stronger hold.

2. How to drill Into Brick - Step-by-step

Step 1. Plan your project

Your task will only be successful if you know what you have planned it well. Know the size of the hole you need. Measure the length and width of the bits and other tools, and make sure that they are right for the job.

Step 2. Cover furniture around the area

When drilling, there’s always the risk of dispersing dust around the room. Thus, it is highly recommended that you cover your furniture before you start. You can do so by using a drop cloth or a plastic sheet.

Step 3. Mark the wall

Where do you want to drill the hole? Mark that specific place and see if there are any plumbing, electrical wires, or other structures behind the spot.

Step 4. Try the cement mortar

Attempt to drill through the mortar first. It is easier to drill through it than through the brick. Also, if successful, you will no longer risk shattering the brick. However, if the mortar is too small for your planned hole, you would have no choice but to make the hole through the brick.

Step 5. Attach masonry bit to the hammer drill

Once you know where you are drilling, prepare your hammer drill. Attach the masonry bit to it and start drilling.

Step 6. Drill a hole

If you are drilling a big hole, start by making a small pilot hole. If you are drilling a small or medium-sized hole, you can drill through the mortar or brick directly. Make sure that you are able to drill deep enough to accommodate your wall anchor, but not too deep to damage any pipes or wires behind the brick.

If the bit is getting hot, pour water on it. You can also dip it into your bucket of water. Just be careful not to wet the hammer drill itself. In case the bit is stuck in your wall, carefully reverse it to pull it out.

Step 7. Place the wall anchor

Carefully place the wall anchor into the hole. Then, screw the hook into the anchor. Now, you can hang your painting or other hanging fixture onto your brick wall.

3. Safety Tips

When drilling a hole into brick, you need to be careful with your safety. Here are things you need to do in order to avoid any injuries.

  • Avoid electrical cables and water pipes. You do not want to risk electrocution or flooding your room. Investigate the marked area carefully.
  • Wear protective gear. Shield your eyes from bits of debris, dust, and other brick-mortar particles by wearing goggles. Protect your lungs from the dust and make sure you wear a dust mask. Don’t forget your hand gloves, too.
  • Remove any accessories you have. These will not only hinder you to do your job efficiently, but they can also cause unnecessary accidents.
  • Clear the floor. Make sure that there are no cords or tools which could trip you over.
  • Read the instruction manual. To operate you hammer drill safely, you have to ensure that you read its manual. Remember that each hammer drill can be operated differently.

4. Conclusion

Drilling through a brick wall does not necessarily need experience, but it requires preparation. If you want to do it properly, you need to follow appropriate steps. I hope this quick guide has helped you in doing it successfully.

If you are confused on a step or if you have further questions, feel free to write them down in the comments section.

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