How To Drill Into Stucco (5 Step Guide)

Want to know how to drill into stucco effectively?

Great stuff, you have landed in the right place.

In this guide, I will show you:

  • Different types of stucco walls.
  • Equipment you will require.
  • The 5 easy steps to follow.
  • And so much more!
How to drill into stucco

Before we get into the details on how to drill into stucco, please have a read of the table below.

What You Need To Know About How To Drill Into Stucco

Stucco is an age old technique that has lasted for many centuries. Stucco is not only durable, it is weather and fire resistant. On top of that it is an extremely cheap method to provide an exterior finish to a wall.

However in order to fully grasp how exactly to go about drilling into a stucco wall there are a few thins you must grasp. 

Key to understand is  the internal architecture of the stucco wall.

Knowing this will ensure that your drilling exercise does not cause large cracks of the base coat. Causing chip-off around your drill hole area. 

What type of stucco wall are you drilling into?

The versatility of stucco allows one to place the coating across many different wall types. Before pulling out your corded or cordless drill the very first thing you need to understand is what type of wall is the stucco coating covering. There are two main categories. Category 1 and Category 2. 


CATEGORY 1 – Masonry walls

This wall type typically includes masonry or cement type walls.

Very interesting about masonry walls is that if you have a fairly flat wall that is clear then the stucco base can be applied directly to the masonry surface without the need for any of the additions as per category 2 type walls.

So from the perspective of someone looking to drill into a stucco wall that has a masonry foundation, this is fantastic as you will not come across an metal.

The only thing you will need to keep in consideration is the use of the correct drill bit.

Read More:>>> Find the best cordless drill under $50 to help you drill into Stucco

CATEGORY 2 – Wooden/composite framed walls

These typically include any wall type structure that is made of a wood or composite type material.

This includes gypsum walls, wooden boards, wainscoting and bead boards. 

The initial wall covering is typically first covered with 2 layers of D grade waterproofing material. This material is stapled to the wooden wall by either using a staple gun or a galvanized nails and a hammer.

On top of this layer the stucco netting is placed. This thin but malleable netting plays a critical role in ensuring that stucco base coating does not suffer shrinkage cracks as it dries up.

So when looking to drill into a category 2 type walls - always remember that you will encounter a thin sheet of  aluminum wire as you pierce through the surface.

Worth noting and this is something that even experienced DIYer’s can sometimes miss, typically there are control joints as well which form squares of around 40 inches by 40 inches.

These control joints play a critical role in providing solidity to the stucco coating. When drilling or in preparation of a drill exercise you might come across these joints as you create your incision in the wall.

If you wish to avoid them a good rule of thumb is to go from the top/bottom corner of your wall go 40 inches up/down and place a pencil mark. Then follow that up by 40 inches right/left followed by a pencil mark.

Do this for the entire wall and create a light grid as shown below, that can very easily be washed or cleaned off at a later stage.


Great, so just ensuring that you know what type of wall you are dealing with combined with understanding the inner workings behind the stucco wall puts you 80% there in terms of understanding how to drill into stucco.

Let's analyze the safety component before we get into the actual steps.

Safety when drilling though a masonry wall

This happens time and time again were you have experienced DIYer’s using power tools such as drills without the adequate personal protective equipment.

Please do not let this be you, whenever you are about to perform a drilling exercise make it a habit to have the below personal protective equipment before you even think of pulling the trigger and start drilling into your stucco wall.

Protective glasses 

What can often happens is as you are drilling if you move to quickly in either direction the stucco can chip out.

The high velocity of the drill bit as it goes through the hole can have small particulate matter travelling at fast speeds straight into your eyes.

This can cause some serious harm. So please ensure that you have protective glasses.

Read More:>>> Learn how to drill into a brick properly

Working gloves

This is important because you will be working close to rough and course surfaces using a power tool that is moving at high torque and speed.

A slippage could cause bodily injuries to your hands and fingers. The use of working gloves increase the surface area and provides a barrier of contact between your sensitive skin and the rough and coarse surfaces.

Ear protection

 A typical handheld drill produces between 90 to 95 dB. Scientifically it is well known in the power tool industry that noise above 70 dB over a prolonged period of time can cause hearing issues.

Please take care of yourself in this regard as well, especially if you are experienced. Most rookies follow safety protocols it is generally the experienced DIYer’s or weekend warriors who forgo such instruction.


Equipment You’ll Need To Know How To Drill Into Stucco Properly

You will not need many things in order to drill into stucco effectively. I have provided a list of the equipment required below.

  • Cordless or corded drill (hammer option is better)
  • Masonry drill bit
  • Pencil and ruler
  • PVC Tape

5 Steps Guide On How To Drill Into Stucco

Step 1 – Mark the drill holes with a pencil

The very first step is to mark out the different drill holes that you will be performing with a pencil. Make sure that the marks a clear and in the correct place.

Use your ruler to verify that the distance between the different pencil marks is what you would expect.

One hack to really reduce the risk of fracturing the stucco around the hole area is to place PVC tape around the area you are drilling and drill into the tape. This extra adhesive adds additional strength and finish to the hole.

Step 2 – Know what you are going to expect

By now you should know what type of wall you are drilling into. If you are drilling into a category 2 type wall, make sure that you mark out the areas were the weep screed and vertical and longitudinal control joints should be located before performing your drill.

This should not be much of an issue if you are drilling into a category 1 wall.

Step 3 – Fasten your masonry bit and create pilot holes

Take the masonry bit and fasten it to the chuck of your drill.

The reason we use a masonry bit is because the stucco hardens just like concrete and the masonry bit is designed to penetrate the particulate matter without causing cracks around the hole.

After the masonry bit has been successfully fastened as intended, take the drill bit and create small pilot holes at every location with a pencil mark before commencing with a full on complete drill.

This will help you avoid slippage when you when performing the initial penetration into the stucco material.

Step 4 – Perform the drill

Place your drill perpendicular to the wall, apply steady pressure whilst pulling the trigger and drilling through the stucco. Torque is most important here so place your drill on hammer mode if you have that functionality.

If you encounter alimunium nails or stucco netting do not be alarmed, continue applying a steady torque and speed until the hole is the depth that you require.

Step 5 – Pull out the drill whilst it is spinning

When you have successfully drilled through the whole length of the hole keep the drill turning whilst you remove the masonry drill bit from the hole.

This will ensure uniformity of your drill hole whilst avoiding surface cracking.

Read More:>>> Find a top of the range corded drill for stucco drilling

Final Thoughts On How To Drill Into Stucco

Drilling through stucco does not have to be complicated. All it requires is a little bit of patience followed by reasonable planning.

You will then be able to know what exactly you will need to look out. Also you will be fully equipped to understand the type of wall that you are going to be drilling into and the different types of material you could potentially encounter as you drill your hole.

I hope this guide was helpful – I had a lot of fun creating it.

Mogale Modisane, PrEng

Mogale Modisane, PrEng

Mogale is a professional engineer (PrEng). With experience working on large-scale Solar, Wind, and Hybrid Projects. He has been exposed to multiple tools throughout his career and has a keen interest in breaking down the often murky world of power tools, machines, and measurement equipment making them more accessible and understandable to everyone.

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Mogale Modisane, PrEng

Mogale Modisane, PrEng

Mogale is a professional engineer (PrEng). With experience working on large-scale Solar, Wind, and Hybrid Projects. He has been exposed to multiple tools throughout his career and has a keen interest in breaking down the often murky world of power tools, machines, and measurement equipment making them more accessible and understandable to everyone.

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