Do you want to learn how to drill into brick, masonry or cement?
Super! You are in the right place.
In this ToolsGaloreHQ.com guide, you will learn:
- Why a hammer drill is better for brick drilling
- The best drill bit to use
- Top 4 anchor options and sleeves
- And so much more!
Before we show you how to drill hole through a brick. Read the table below.
What you need to know about how to drill into brick?
Drilling into a brick is not that difficult, and with some knowledge and the right tools, you will be creating holes in your masonry in no time at all.
As simple as it is, there are a couple of key considerations that you should be aware of to make this process as efficient as possible
You must use a masonry bit
Drill bits are designed for specific applications, when drilling into brick (masonry), it is important that you use a masonry drill bit.
This drill bit is easily identifiable by it’s wide hammer looking head and broad helix's . These drill bits are usually made from tungsten carbide or metal.
You also get them with rounded shanks which are typically used in cordless drills.
The better option however would be to use a masonry bit with sds slots that fit very easily into a hammer drill. These are great because they are very easily interchangeable and do not slip when drilling.
Type of brick
There are various types of bricks and these will influence how you go about drilling into them, due to their texture, molecular make up and finish.
Burnt clay brick
This brick, also typically referred to as a red brick is the most commonly used brick for a variety of different applications. Due to its clay structure, the brick has a comparatively smooth finish making it easy to drill through.
If you are using your cordless drill, then this brick can work great as you would not need to much torque and power as the other brick options.
However, I would always recommend a hammer drill for brick drilling either way
Also referred to as cement bricks, come in various shapes and sizes. These a bit more coarse on the surface as opposed to burnt clay bricks.
They are very well renounced for blocking heat and reducing the noise in the environment.
However from what I have seen, most people do not prefer to use them for their houses as the grey colour is bland looking.
This bricks are notorious for their load bearing capacity. They work very well with heavy duty applications.
They are made from a combination of lime, sand and fly ash.
All of the bricks above are suitable to be drilled into. However an overview and an understanding can definitely help you when determining the type of drill, drill bit and anchor to use.
Do you drill into mortar or brick surface?
When drilling into a brick wall, I would always recommend that you drill into the actual brick face surface and not the mortar (cement).
The reason for this is very simple.
The brick is much more stable in terms of load bearing capacity than the mortar.
Also the mortar is less materially dense. This means that as it was being plastered , it oxidized. This then created many air bubbles. Almost like the aero chocolate but on a much smaller and molecular level.
This results in a lot less structural strength. The last reason is that the mortar can sometimes fail and you will need to re-mortar the wall.
Bricks hardly ever fail.
This is important especially if you are going to be mounting heavy duty applications, you want the most secure anchor you can possibly find.
Hammer drill vs standard cordless drill (Which is better for drilling into brick)
A standard cordless drill can work just as well as a hammer drill. The issue with the corded drill is that it often requires a lot more force (from the drilling through pushing action).
It is not very comfortable. I know some people will say that you can set the cordless drill to hammer mode.
However, it still is not as powerful as a hammer drill which is specifically designed for this purpose.
A hammer drill however is a lot tougher and more adept to high torque low speed applications, such as drilling through masonry surfaces like brick, than its cordless counter-part.
Instead of a hammer drill you can also you the more powerful corded drill.
Read More:>>>Top Corded drills on the market
Various types of mounting anchors for masonry drilling
When drilling into bricks, it is important that we look at the various mounting anchor options at our disposal and their unique purposes.
Generally speaking there are two categories of mounting anchors, namely:
- Heavy duty; and
- Light duty
Within the heavy duty mounting anchors you have the below options:
Dynabolt sleeve anchor – This anchor is made from high quality zinc plated carbon steel.
Tested and approved in accordance with ASTM E 488 criteria. The dynabolt sleeve anchor is great for heavy duty applications above 30 kg/60 pounds.
Furthermore its robust design and split expansion sleeve, make it an extremely steady mounting option.
Anchor screw – This anchor is the other typical option when it comes to heavy duty anchors.
They are typically made up of zinc plated carbon steel, making it abrasive, rust and fire resistant.
Because of the screw on nature, it is reusable. Making this the more widely used option in the heavy duty category as opposed to the dynabolt sleeve anchor.
It is CE approved and can typically carry load of above 30 kg/60 pounds.
What I like about this sleeve as well is that it comes with various head shapes. Most commonly the countersunk , hex head, internal and the external threaded head design.
Making it easily usable with a wide array of tools such as your adjustable torque wrench (for the hex head), and a power drill in screw configuration for the countersunk head.
Light duty mounting anchors options are shown below:
Standard plug that fits with multiple screws – This mounting plastic plug is very common and standard, it works very well with small diameter heavy duty screws.
Plug and screw combination – This is designed to have a grip and threads that is why the screw and the plug come together. This is great because it provided added grip from pulling forces.
Read More:>>> Split point drill bits explained
Equipment You’ll need to know how to drill into brick
- Power Drill.
- Cordless Drill (Optional for cordless screwdriving), or else use standard screwdriver tool.
- Level (if you are drilling two points to hang up something)
- Masonry drill bit
- Wall anchor of choice
Step process on how to drill into brick ( 4 Steps explained)
As I had mentioned above, either of the methods below will work. Whether you are using your standard cordless drill or a more heavy duty high torque hammer drill.
Step 1: Selecting the drill bit
Take your masonry drill bit and insert it inside the chuck of your drill. If you have a standard wall drill/cordless drill then make sure your have a rounded drill chuck.
If you are using a hammer drill you will need a drill bit that is slotted.
Step 2: Planning your drill depth and width.
In this step when drilling into brick you want to select a drill bit that has the diameter and length of the anchor you will be using.
Typically for heavy duty drills, masonry bits come in 3 common sizes, namely:
- 5mm (These correspond to Yellow wall plugs)
- 6mm (These correspond to red wall plugs)
- 7mm (These correspond to brown wall plugs)
Next, set the length of the drill you want. There are two ways to do this.
- You can use a guide length. These generally can be bought at any hardware store and tie mounted onto your drill; or
- You can use duct tape around the side of your drill just greater than the length of screw.
Step 3: Drill into brick
Once all has been setup, this is the easiest step – drilling into the masonry (brick).
Before you do this please make sure that you are wearing protective eyecare, and safety gloves.
Read More:>>> Learn how to drill a square hole in wood
Step 4: Place your mounting anchor of choice
Depending on your application, take your mounting anchor and place it into the brick.
Use your cordless drill in screwdriver mode to run the screw into the hole.
It is that simple and easy.
Bonus Step: How to remove anchors from drill hole in brick
There often comes a time when you want to remove the anchors from your previous drill hole.
I have created this bonus section just for you so that you can see how to remove your selected anchor.
Dynabolt sleeve anchor
I will start with the most difficult anchor to remove first. The dynabolt sleeve anchor basically acts as a permanent fixture.
So once you have drilled it into the brick it is stuck there forever.
There is no way to remove it. The only alternative that you will have available is to grind off the head of the bolt, sand and repaint the area.
For this reason the dynabolt sleeve anchor has lost popularity especially for high load applications.
Flat out the best anchor for heavy duty applications is the reusable anchor screw. It is tough, sturdy and can carry load well above 30 kg.
But in terms of removing it from brick, it is extremely easy you just apply counterforce and it will come out of the hole. Simple.
Sleeve and nail
All sleeve and nail applications are quite easy to unscrew.
You will just need a screwdriver or screw drill and a bit of force and the nail will usually pop out quite easily.
Final Thoughts on how to drill into brick
Drilling into a brick is not that difficult, I hope this guide has provided you with more of an appreciation for what often looks like a simple task.
Irrespective of whether you are a DIYer or a weekend warrior, investing in the right tools to drill into brick could be one of the best investments you can make when doing work around the home, or in your workshop.