How To Drill Into Brick Without Cracking It

Although bricks are pretty robust building material, drilling into them is not as difficult as you might think. Drilling into masonry without cracking does not require the expertise of a professional handyman. With the right drill and drill bit, it just takes a few minutes to make a hole.

Using a few straightforward methods, that will be discussed in this article, you can complete the task easily, with the precision of a drilling veteran.


The Process of Drilling Into Brick

1. Tools

At RUKO Shop UK, we aren’t quite of the belief that every bad workman blames his tools. Because when it comes to drilling like a pro, having the wrong tools will mean you end up with cracks, rough edges or potentially even no hole.

For drilling into brick, you will need the following tools and safety equipment:

  • Masonry drill bit
  • Hammer drill
  • Goggles
  • Pencil 

2. Inspect and Mark the Drill Area

Before drilling, it is best to check to see whether there are any live wires or pipes hidden behind the brick. Drilling above or below an electrical socket should also be avoided whenever possible. If you are unsure of the location of any live wires or pipelines, a pipe and live wire detector can be used to locate them. Once you've determined the suitable site, mark your holes with a pencil or a marker in the locations you wish to drill, making sure they are visible.

3. Select Depth and Mark Your Drill

To prevent cracking, it's essential to drill your holes to the correct depth. Some drills have a depth stop attachment you can set to stop the drill once you get to a certain depth. Masking tape can be used as a depth stop if you don't have a drill with a depth-stop attachment.  

To indicate the correct depth, place the wall plug next to the drill bit and wrap a piece of tape around the bit. Make sure the length of the taped area is at least 5 mm longer than the plug. This will prevent the wall plug from diving too far into the hole, allowing your screw to grip the inside of the hole more effectively.

4. Choose the Right Drill Size

If you want to screw something to a brick wall, you'll need to use a wall plug, also known as a Rawl plug. To do this, you'll need to select the suitable drill bit for the wall plug size you're using. To drive the wall plug into the tightest possible alignment, the screw should be long enough to go through and split open the wallplug.

These are the suggested hole sizes for each of the most common types of wall plugs. Ensure to check the box before drilling a hole because some manufacturers have varying dimensions for their wall plugs.


Wall Plugs (Rawl Plugs)

Recommended Hole Size

Recommended Screw Size


5 mm

3 and 4


6 mm

6 and 8 (up to 10)


7 mm

6 to 12 (up to 14)


10 mm

14 to 18

  • Drill A Pilot Hole

  • When drilling into brick, you may want to use a pilot hole to keep the material from cracking or breaking during the drilling process. Create a small guide in the brick with a hammer and nail punch. 

    Pilot holes are drilled with a smaller drill bit, resulting in holes that are smaller in diameter than the actual hole. Hold the drill in both hands when starting the hole with low speed and low pressure. Then, increase the drill's speed a little and apply steady pressure until you reach your target depth.

  • Drill The Primary Hole

  • After drilling the pilot hole, you'll use a larger drill bit that is slightly smaller in diameter than the anchor you're going to use. This ensures a snug fit when installing the screw. Then, allow the drill and drill bit to do their thing as you slowly drill the brick. 

    Do not overwork the drill bit, as this will cause it to overheat and wear out prematurely. Instead, slowly increase the speed of the drill and move the drill straight back and forth to rid the hole of any remaining debris. This is to prevent the flutes of the drill bit from clogging up.  

    Even after you've reached your desired depth, keep the drill going for a few seconds and move it back and forth to remove any remaining dust and debris from the hole.

  • Insert the Correct Wall Plug into the wall.

  • Now that you have a perfectly round hole and have not fractured your brick, you may install wall plugs into the opening. After pushing the wall plug in with your fingers, use a hammer to finish the job, and push it in further. Once the wall plug's head is flat with the wall, the job is finished.

    Ensure that the wall plugs you use can sustain the entire weight of the item you wish to put on the wall. They should fit securely on the wall and don't feel too loose. Remove any large brick dust chips from the floor with a broom and dustpan, or use a vacuum to collect the remainder of the dust.

  • Insert The Screw

  • Gently twist the head of the screw between your fingers until the tip of the screw enters the first few millimetres of a wall plug that has been inserted. Make sure the screw is almost the same size as the minimum screw size hole listed on the wall plug strip or slightly larger. An oversize screw might exert too much pressure on the brick wall and crack it. 

    Frequently asked questions for drilling into brick 

    Can I Drill Into Brick With a Regular Drill?

    A regular drill can still drill holes in bricks without the hammer motion. However, it is slower and requires the use of masonry drill bits. Masonry bits feature an arrow-like form and larger tips than the remainder of the bit and are designed to cut through solid materials like bricks. 

    The hard-cutting tips of masonry bits are made of more rigid material than standard bits, giving them the power to break up the brickwork. If you don't have one already, pick up a carbide-tipped masonry bit at your local hardware store. Tungsten carbide is the only substance that is tough enough to withstand being ground away through brick, concrete and other hard materials.


    Should I drill Into The Brick or The Mortar?

    Usually, you would drill directly into a brick because it is stronger than mortar and can support greater weight. However, if you feel your brick is frail or worn out, it is preferable to drill into the mortar. Additionally, the mortar is a preferable alternative if your hole is deep, as this can cause the brick to become strained and crack.


    What type of Drill is Best For Brick?

    Hammer drills are the only tool you need to drill holes in brick and masonry. This is especially true when drilling larger holes on bricks or mortar. When working with brick, a hammer drill can be extremely useful. In addition to its regular drilling action, it also uses hammer-like movements to drill holes on the brick.

    In most cases, a hammer drill with a hammer action is required when using masonry bits; however, a standard drill can also be used. In some instances, it is possible that the hammering action on the brick can shatter and split it if the material is especially brittle. Therefore you must examine the material before drilling. If you have an SDS or SDS Plus masonry hammer drill, you'll require masonry drill bits that are specifically designed for SDS chucks.

    What Do You Wear When You Drill Into Brick or Mortar?

    When drilling into brick, you must wear protective clothing due to the volume of dust and debris generated. In addition, a face mask and goggles will be required to protect your eyes from the dust in the air. Depending on the project's scope, you may also need gloves and an overall.

    Inspect your brick and mortar to check if it's sturdy enough to drill into before you hang anything on your brick wall. As long as you have the right tools and know-how to use them, you should be able to drill into your brick without any problems. If you're looking for the best selection of drill bits for your  project, check out our page.


    What Are the Most Common Brick Types?

    Burnt clay bricks are the most widely used in modern construction. These bricks are utilized in various applications, including columns, walls, and foundations. Plastering or rendering the bricks with mortar improves the bricks' strength, water resistance, and insulating properties when building walls.

    Sun-dried clay bricks are another popular option made up of soil, water, and straw,  and may also contain manure, clay, sand, or a combination. These materials are used to strengthen the bricks and prevent them from cracking. They're a low-cost, do-it-yourself solution for making temporary shelters. However, they are the most fragile and short-lived of all the brick types.

    Concrete bricks are also a popular choice, and they are often made on-site in a variety of sizes and shapes since they are made by pouring concrete into moulds.

    Fire bricks are frequently used to line chimneys, construct brick grills, and construct fire pits. These types of brick have excellent resistance to heat and fire. Firebricks are capable of withstanding temperatures above 3,000 degrees. They are not only resistant to flames, as they can also withstand low temperatures, and fast temperature fluctuations between hot and cold.

    How We Can Help You

    Hopefully this guide offers you a better understanding of drilling into brick without the risk of damage. To help you get started, take a look at our high-quality products which will help you complete your next construction project quickly and easily!

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    • Absolutely disagree. A good tradesman will only use hammer drills in hard masonry like concrete and some extra hard bricks. A normal brick wall requires a percussion drill to avoid damage to walls especially when used in fine work such as drilling for 1/4 inch wall plugs and the like. Think like a pro.

      Bob on

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